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Digital Drivers 2017: Independents


Chris McGurk, CEO
McGurk is responsible for transitioning Cinedigm into a multiplatform distributor of non-theatrical movies. Recent platform launches include Docurama, available on iOS, Roku, Xbox and Samsung; CONtv; faith-based Dove Channel; and e-Sports-based The WHAM Network. He also helped forge an OTT partnership with TV4 Entertainment and launch of the Bright edutainment OTT channel.

Bill Sondheim, President, Cinedigm Entertainment Group
Sondheim became president of CEG when Cinedigm acquired Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment in 2013. Sondheim’s executive experience running several independent studios allowed him to establish strategic relationships at the senior levels of Netflix and Amazon as they initially launched OTT services. In addition, his 20-plus years working closely with Christian content producers was the driving factor in developing Dove Channel, Cinedigm’s fast growing faith-and-family SVOD offering.

Erick Opeka, EVP, Digital Networks
Opeka directly oversees the company’s OTT staff, focusing on user experience, infrastructure design and operational execution. Opeka was a pioneer of independent content aggregation, which played a formative role in establishing his platform expertise and relationships that are crucial to Cinedigm’s OTT channel implementation.

Yolanda Macías, EVP, Acquisitions, Forecast, Planning and Digital Sales
Macías is responsible for sourcing, evaluating, negotiating and acquiring content from independent producers and studios for all distribution platforms, including digital.

Faye Walker, SVP, Marketing

Walker is one of the industry’s leading experts at launching new networks and entertainment platforms. For the last year and a half, she has focused on the digital space, successfully launching two direct-to-consumer OTT channels: CONtv and
Dove Channel.


Sofia Chang, EVP, Worldwide Digital Distribution and Home Entertainment
In addition to overseeing the global home entertainment business, Chang is responsible for HBO’s digital distribution on platforms such as Apple, Amazon, Google, Sony Vue and more. Since joining HBO in 2000, Chang has held numerous executive positions including marketing, consumer products licensing and program planning. She is on the board of the Time Warner Foundation, serves as CFO on the board of DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, and is a member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Professional Women’s Alliance.

Brandt Haynes, SVP, Product Management and Partner Marketing, Worldwide Digital Distribution and Home Entertainment
Haynes is responsible for developing distribution and marketing strategies to maximize revenue and profitability for HBO’s home entertainment business worldwide and for HBO’s digital subscription business domestically. He joined HBO in 2007.

Brandan Lucas, SVP, Account Management, Worldwide Digital Distribution and Home Entertainment
Lucas oversees partner relationships for HBO’s digital subscription and home entertainment businesses by developing specific programs that drive revenue and engagement. HBO’s partners include Amazon, Apple, Google, Walmart and more. Lucas has more than 15 years of industry experience in digital and physical sales. He joined HBO in 2014.

Patrick Kilkelly, VP, Worldwide Digital Distribution and Home Entertainment
In addition to overseeing production and operations for HBO’s physical and digital transactional product, DVD, Blu-ray, electronic sellthrough and TVOD, Kilkelly, who joined HBO in 2005, was recently tasked with heading up partner integration efforts supporting subscription-based digital products. He is an active member on the DEG’s Technology & Supply Chain Operations Committee and leads HBO efforts to shape and adopt industry-wide digital supply chain standards.

The Orchard

Paul Davidson, EVP, Film and TV
During his tenure, Davidson has overseen the acquisition and release of hundreds of films, including 2016 releases Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Christine and Neruda. He oversaw the launch of The Orchard’s unique transparency platform, providing filmmakers and producers an unprecedented level of data and transparency around the lifespan of their films. Davidson has developed and supported relationships with key filmmaking talent, expanding further into international markets and monetizing content on additional platforms and verticals throughout the content’s lifecycle


Andrea Downing, Co-President
Downing co-leads global distribution of content across formats and distribution channels, identifying new opportunities to evolve and grow the business. She aims to maximize the availability of content to consumers, driving innovation around platforms, products, windowing and pricing.
However, she also aims to maximize the value of content while embracing the dynamic media landscape.

John Suydam, VP, Digital Distribution
Suydam, who joined PBS in 2005, has been a key driver of a successful digital business for the company. He leads PBS Distribution’s content licensing efforts across online, mobile and OTT platforms. Suydam negotiates all distribution deals with the leading transactional and subscription services, including Netflix, Amazon, Apple and Google, among others.

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