Movies Anywhere Hosts Movie Nights for Military Families

Movies Anywhere hosted a series of virtual movie nights for military families using its newly launched Screen Pass that allows users to give others access to their digital movie collections. Throughout September, Movies Anywhere collaborated with Operation Homefront and Blue Star Families, organizations that work with both active military and veterans, to create special digital movie night events for these soldiers and their families. During each event, participating families used Movies Anywhere to send Screen Passes of The Karate Kid to one another, and then used Movies Anywhere’s new co-viewing feature to Watch Together, even while thousands of miles apart. Ralph Macchio, star of the beloved film, recorded a special message for the families, thanking them for everything they’ve done in service to America. To cap off the event, Movies Anywhere supplied limited-edition movie kits, complete with snacks, blankets and other goodies to make for a cozy movie night. Movies Anywhere also teamed up with Soldiers’ Angels to deliver a memorable movie night for veterans at the Atlanta VA hospital.

Doc ‘Miniature Wargaming: The Movie’ Due on Digital and VOD Dec. 1 From Virgil

The documentary Miniature Wargaming: The Movie will come out via digital sellthrough and VOD Dec. 1 from Virgil Films.

The film dives into the heart of the miniature wargaming industry and reveals the impact it has on people’s lives. The film follows four individuals as they unveil how wargaming affects their lives in different ways: Andy Bryant, a British war veteran who turns to wargaming as an escape; Chris Nicholls, owner of a small business fighting to secure his family’s future; and two young gamers, Matt and Adam, who travel across Europe in a bid to fulfill their dream of competing in an international tournament. Finally, uncover the true story behind this incredible hobby with best-selling author Henry Hyde who reveals how this hobby came to pass.

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The documentary includes never-before-seen footage with Sir Peter Jackson (director of the “Lord of The Rings” series) and interviews with Rick Priestley (creator of miniature games Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000), sculptors Alan and Michael Perry, and Warlord Games co-founders Paul Sawyer and John Stallard.

Miniature Wargaming: The Movie from Virgil Films on Vimeo.

 

‘Victoria,’ Uma Thurman-Narrated ‘Age of Nature’ Among Titles Due on Digital and DVD From PBS in November

PBS Distribution is releasing six new programs on DVD and digitally this November, including all three seasons of the “Masterpiece” period drama “Victoria” and the documentary series The Age of Nature narrated by Uma Thurman.

Nov. 3 comes a boxed set of all three seasons of the drama “Victoria,” starring Jenna Coleman as Queen Victoria. The account of the life of one of history’s greatest monarchs begins as Victoria takes her first faltering steps from capricious, hormonal teenager to respected monarch, while navigating palace intrigue and constitutional crises alongside an epic romance with her cousin Prince Albert (Tom Hughes). As Victoria’s reign continues, she must face the very modern challenge of balancing life as a mother and wife with her work as ruler of the most powerful nation on Earth. As the lavish saga unfolds against the backdrop of pivotal moments in history, the Queen and Prince Albert must meet each public challenge while confronting profound personal change.

Due Nov. 24 is Frontline: Policing the Police 2020. Writer and historian Jelani Cobb examines allegations of police abuse and the challenge of fixing a broken relationship within a community. Policing the Police 2020 is a provocative journey inside one police force that’s been ordered to reform by the Department of Justice: the Newark Police Department in New Jersey, which was found to have a pattern of civil rights abuses against the city’s black residents. Viewers will take a nuanced glimpse into how topics surrounding the national discussion about race and policing are playing out every day on the streets of Newark, in community members’ homes, and in the city’s police precincts. Cobb gives viewers a raw and complex look at the challenge of changing how cops operate in a place like Newark, a poor city plagued by violent crime, where the victims and the perpetrators are usually black, and the police force itself is largely black and Latino. The documentary examines the difficulties of fixing a broken relationship with the community after decades of mutual mistrust, and includes candid interviews with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who is now trying to shake up the department from the inside.

The Age of Nature comes out Nov. 3. Narrated by Uma Thurman, this three-part documentary series brings together inspirational contributors, rare archive material, and stunning imagery from all around the world, to give viewers a deeper understanding of nature and our place within it. The series explores humanity’s relationship with nature and wildlife, as scientists and conservationists from all over the world examine ways we can restore our planet. It also explores how an increased awareness of the natural world could lead to a new chapter in the story of both humanity and the planet. With stunning photography, the series focuses on the resiliency of Earth’s ecosystems through stories of success, as scientists, citizens, and governments act to fix past mistakes and restore the environment. Filmed on seven continents, The Age of Nature presents creative ideas from around the globe for dealing with such pressing issues as climate change, animal extinction and environmental degradation. Each episode highlights some of the latest scientific research that helps us understand the workings of the planet and explores effective strategies for restoring the environment, re-wilding landscapes, and maintaining a balance between species.

The drama The Trouble With Maggie Cole is due Nov. 10. In the drama, idle gossip escalates out of control and starts to affect people’s lives. Set in a picturesque fishing village, the series centers on Maggie Cole, the self-appointed oracle of the close-knit community of Thurlbury. When a radio journalist interviews Cole (Dawn French, “The Vicar of Dibley”) for a small piece about local life in their tiny coastal community, she gives him far more detail and embellishment about the locals and their personal lives than he was looking for. As the interview is played in full, all the guarded secrets, indiscretions, and gossip are broadcast for the whole county to hear, changing life in Thurlbury forever. In the days and weeks following the show’s broadcast, Maggie’s overzealous chit-chat gets her into serious hot water, as the fallout from her very public gossip-fest disrupts the lives of her fellow residents. Packed full of comedy, intrigue and suspense, The Trouble with Maggie Cole is a warmly humorous yet distinctly cautionary tale about the perils of passing on unfounded gossip.

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Lucy Worsley’s Royal Palace Secrets comes out Nov. 17. In this new installment from historian and Chief Curator of England’s Historic Royal Palaces, Worsley invites viewers into three iconic London palaces: the Tower of London, Hampton Court and Kensington Palace. Viewers learn about the Tower of London’s terrifying past, Hampton Court’s magnificent display of Tudor power and Kensington Palace’s role in the making of a modern royal family. Wide-angle shots of beautiful ballrooms, secret passages and Baroque gardens provide context for Worsley’s captivating tales of royals and their private lives.

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The four-part series Hacking Your Mind is due Nov. 24. It takes you inside the world of hackers ­­— from presidential campaigns and social media companies, to corporate marketers and governments — revealing how they influence your behavior without your even being aware of it. The series is hosted by Jacob Ward, who brings viewers on a journey of discoveries and laughter from the farthest corners of the globe to the inside of your mind. Ward is known for his appearances on “The Today Show,” is the longtime editor of “Popular Science,” and NBC’s science correspondent. Hacking Your Mind features best-selling authors, including Michael Lewis (Moneyball, The Big Short), and Nobel Prize winners, including Daniel Kahneman (Thinking, Fast and Slow) and Richard Thaler, creator of behavioral economics. Throughout the program, discover how we evolved to make many of our decisions not based on what we “think,” but based on our feelings, intuition, and habits. This enables us to make decisions almost instantly, as though we’re operating on autopilot. Most of the time these autopilot processes serve us well, but they can also lead us to make predictable mistakes. Ward reveals how these common mistakes make us vulnerable to bias and misinformation.

OTT.X Trade Group Expands Board of Directors With Two New Members

The OTT.X trade group Oct. 30 announced the appointment of two additional board directors.

They are TwentyOne14 Media, represented by Quincy Newell, founder and CEO, and VIX Inc., represented by Richard Hull, head of streaming platforms and chief strategy officer. The board of directors of OTT.X, which represents the streaming sector of the home entertainment industry, now has 16 members, including board chair Cameron Douglas of Fandango, vice chair Suyin Lim of Sony Interactive Entertainment, and Pedro Gutierrez Jr. of Microsoft.

These appointments are effective immediately. Directors will serve until the annual OTT.X organizational board meeting in mid-2024.

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“These new companies on the OTT.X board of directors will add to its effectiveness,” said Mark Fisher, OTT.X president and CEO. “Each director brings an important perspective, and their wealth of experience will benefit the membership as OTT.X continues to be the forum for the OTT industry.”

TwentyOne14 Media is a content distribution, production and strategic advisory company for the media and entertainment industries.

VIX Inc. is a Miami-based streaming service that considers itself a hub for Spanish-language movies, TV shows and other filmed content aimed at Latinos.

‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Limited Edition Blu-ray Due Nov. 24 From Paramount

Sonic the Hedgehog is being re-released as a limited-edition Blu-ray combo pack (with digital and DVD) Nov. 24 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

The family film based on the video game character follows the incredibly speedy Sonic the Hedgehog (voiced by Ben Schwartz), aka The Blue Blur, who embraces his new home on Earth. That is, until he accidentally knocks out the power grid and sparks the attention of evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey). It’s super-villain vs. super-sonic in an all-out race across the globe to stop Robotnik from using his unique power for world domination. Sonic teams up with The Donut Lord, aka Sheriff Tom Wachowski (James Marsden), to save the day.

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Bonus features include four mini-posters; commentary by director Jeff Fowler and Schwartz; “Around the World in 80 Seconds,” Sonic’s next adventure; deleted scenes; bloopers; the “Speed Me Up” music video; “For the Love of Sonic,” in which Carrey and the cast discuss what Sonic the Hedgehog means to them; “Building Robotnik with Jim Carrey”; “The Blue Blur: Origins of Sonic”; and “Sonic On Set,” a set visit with Schwartz.

Charter Sees More Gain in Spectrum Video Subs

In the ongoing drain of pay-TV subscribers in the linear TV market, Charter Communications has been an anomaly. The company’s Spectrum pay-TV brand has gained or retained subscribers, even as consumers migrate to over-the-top video.

That didn’t change in the third quarter (ended Sept. 30). Charter said it added 67,000 Spectrum TV subscribers in the quarter to finish the period with 16.23 million subs. The service had 16.24 million subs in the previous-year period.

CEO Tim Rutledge was enthusiastic about the company growth in broadband distribution — a growing lifeline for the pay-TV industry. The company ended the quarter with 26.8 million high-sped Internet subs — up 9% from 24.6 million a year ago.

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“We’ve added two million customer relationships in the past year and remain focused on executing a proven operating and investment strategy that works for customers, employees and the communities we serve,” Rutledge said in a statement.

CFO: Amazon Upping AVOD Focus, Growth in Foreign Prime Video Use

Lost in the glow of another colossal fiscal quarter for Amazon was an e-commerce launch in Sweden and increased focus on ad-supported VOD distribution going into 2021.

Speaking on the Oct. 28 fiscal call, CFO Brian Olsavsky said the number of Prime members who stream Prime Video outside the U.S. grew by more than 80% year-over-year in the third quarter, and international customers more than doubled the hours of content they watched on Prime video compared to last year. Prime Video expanded globally in 2016 to more than 2o0 countries.

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While Prime Video, like Netflix, remains ad-free, Amazon isn’t turning its back on ad-supported content and incremental revenue opportunities. The company owns and operates ad-supported IMDb TV, and is working with third-party apps on Fire TV for advertising opportunities.

“We’re seeing some good momentum with that,” Olsavsky said. “I think good momentum and a lot of good learning on some of those initiatives there. I won’t say too much about what we’ll look like next year, but that gives you kind of sense of priorities where we’re spending our time and focused on.”

Sony Eyeing AT&T’s Crunchyroll Anime SVOD Service in $957 Million Deal

Sony Corp. is reportedly finalizing a $957 million acquisition of AT&T’s Crunchyroll anime subscription streaming VOD service and IP content. AT&T is looking to sell non-core assets since it acquired Time Warner, including Warner Bros., HBO and Turner, accumulating more than $180 billion in debt in the process.

The deal’s status was first reported by Nikkei Asian Review, which cited sources familiar with the situation. AT&T, which gained Crunchyroll in its 2018 acquisition of Otter Media from The Chernin Group, had been asking $1.5 billion for the anime platform.

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Sony, which acquired Funimation and its one million subs in 2017, is looking to solidify control of the anime market. The Crunchyroll deal would bring in-house streaming, 1,000 anime titles, and an existing subscriber base of 70 million free ad-supported viewers and three million paid users globally.

WWE Network SVOD Service Adds First Subs in Six Quarters

WWE Network’s steady decline in subscription streaming VOD subscribers came to a halt in the third quarter (ended Sept. 30). The professional wrestling service’s average paid subs topped 1.6 million, an increase of 6%, marking the first quarterly increase since the first quarter of 2019.

The streaming service helped the WWE brand’s media segment sustain revenue as live event sales crumbled 97% to just $700,000 from cancellations due to the coronavirus pandemic. By comparison, the third quarter of 2019 had 67 events in North America and seven events in international markets, generating more than $22 million in revenue.

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Media revenue topped $201 million, an increase of 38%, or $54.9 million, primarily driven by the growth of domestic core content rights fees for the WWE’s flagship programs “Raw” and “SmackDown,” and to a lesser extent, the growth in WWE Network subscription revenue as well as increased sales of advertising and sponsorship across platforms.

Distribution includes videos viewed on third-party (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitch, etc.) and WWE platforms (WWE.com and WWE App, including the ad-supported free version of WWE Network).

“Our third-quarter financial performance was strong and reflected our ongoing creativity in a challenging environment,” CEO Vince McMahon said in a statement. “We continue to adapt our business … focusing on increasing [virtual] audience interaction and engagement to support the value of our content globally.”

Indeed, total revenue topped $221 million, up nearly 19% from $186 million in the previous-year period. Net income topped $48.2 million, from $5.8 million a year ago, as operating expenses dropped almost 20% to $108 million, from $133.8 million.

40 Under 40 in Home Entertainment, Class of 2020

Welcome to Media Play News’ third annual 40 Under 40 — our yearly list of young up-and-comers in home entertainment.

The coronavirus pandemic, on top of the launch of such high-profile streaming services as Disney+ and HBO Max, truly has made the at-home sector the lifeblood of Hollywood. Transactional video sales and rentals are up, streaming has become even more prevalent than before, and DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group has even begun compiling a weekly “Watched at Home” chart to track the most-popular movies, TV shows and other filmed content being viewed at home. And with theaters closed for five or more months, premium video-on-demand (PVOD) has finally transitioned from a studio dream into a practical, and necessary, reality.

As home entertainment continues to evolve, new leaders are emerging to chart its course. Once again, our 40 Under 40 executives are rich in both talent and promise. Some are already influential decision makers; others are rising stars whose full potential has yet to be realized.

Our honorees are listed alphabetically — this year by first name.

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Alexandra Schutz, 37

Director, Project Management, PBS Distribution

Alexandra Schutz

Schutz is a media leader focused on process, project and lifecycle management improvement. Promoted to her current position in January 2020, she has overhauled PBS Distribution’s software development lifecycle process, created and improved numerous templates, and educated employees on these important updates. She also leads large-scale technical implementations. In her prior role as senior project manager, Schutz revamped the company e-commerce website. Prior to joining PBS Distribution in 2017, Schutz spent nearly a decade at e-learning company K-12. She started her career at ASET in 2005.

Aliona LeSchack, 35

Director, Product Planning, Digital Distribution, Sony Pictures Television Global Distribution & Networks

Aliona LeSchack

LeSchack leads product, lifecycle and promotional planning for new-release and catalog films across U.S. transactional digital distribution platforms. She started at Sony Pictures in 2016, managing transactional efforts on the Apple, Google, Microsoft and PlayStation accounts. LeSchack was promoted to her current role in January 2020 and immediately brought her strategic, analytical and creative skills to successfully navigate digital catalog strategy under this year’s unprecedented market conditions. LeSchack began her career at one of the largest media buying agencies in Moscow, Russia. She holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.

Amir Al-Shreideh, 38

Senior Director of Engineering, Vudu

Amir Al-Shreideh

Al-Shreideh leads engineering development at Vudu, a leading video-on-demand streaming service that offers more than 150,000 titles to rent or buy. He joined the company — once owned by Walmart, and now part of Fandango — in March 2008 and oversees the engineering team responsible for the Vudu platform services, with apps on smart TVs, OTT streaming players, Android and iOS devices, game consoles, and Blu-ray Disc players. Al-Shreideh has worked on many projects including personalization and recommendation at scale, dynamic and platform-driven client layout and merchandise, in-house search service, and the launch of the “Movies on Us” AVOD service.

Bill Wee, 39

SVP, Original Animation, HBO Max

Bill Wee

Wee oversees all original animated programming for the WarnerMedia streamer, including adult animation, kids and family, and anime. His distinct slate includes the all-new “Looney Tunes Cartoons”; J.G. Quintel’s millennial comedy, “Close Enough”; and the upcoming reimagining of “The Boondocks” from creator Aaron McGruder. Other upcoming projects include Eddie Huang’s Los Angeles-set “Chinos”; the comedy “10-Year-Old-Tom” from Steve Dildarian and Nick Weidenfeld; and “Santa Inc.” from Sarah Silverman and Seth Rogan. Prior to joining HBO Max in October 2019, Wee was VP of original programming at TBS and, before that, a producer DreamWorks TV and Happy Madison.

Brandon Pierce, 39

VP, Creative Director, Hulu

Brandon Pierce

Pierce joined Hulu a year ago as VP and creative director of the brand’s new creative advertising studio, Greenhouse, to bring to life compelling stories around Hulu’s brand and content. With a creative vision and fearlessness to push ideas to fruition, he oversaw the launch of Hulu’s 2019 holiday campaign, “Home Is Where the Hulu Is,” and drove the efforts for Hulu’s original series “Your Attention Please” — a visual and personal journey into the next generation of brilliant black talent in the arts, science and tech. Pierce came to Hulu from New York ad agency Droga5, where he was group creative director for nearly two years.

Brian Day, 35

SVP, Global Strategy & Licensing, Lionsgate

Brian Day

A repeat 40 Under 40 honoree, Day oversees Lionsgate’s transactional licensing deals worldwide, including those for the studio’s first-ever premium video-on-demand (PVOD) releases, including I Still Believe, The Secret: Dare to Dream and Antebellum. In addition to overseeing Lionsgate’s non-theatrical and clip-licensing businesses, Day also leads the division’s business development team, where he’s found innovative new ways to distribute Lionsgate’s film and TV content through
partnerships with third parties such as Verizon, Uber and T-Mobile. Prior to joining Lionsgate in May 2015, Day worked on the digital-distribution licensing team at Paramount Pictures, and at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in the firm’s Silicon Valley office.

Camila Clifton, 36

Senior Manager, Digital Marketing, Sony Pictures Television Global Distribution & Networks

Camila Clifton

Clifton leads digital marketing campaigns for film and television properties across multiple lines of business. She is charged with developing innovative, multi-platform campaigns that generate buzz and incite engagement among core purchase audiences. She has worked on titles ranging from the blockbuster hit Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle to Academy Award-winning films such as Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Little Women. In addition to working on the new-release transactional business, Clifton also oversees digital marketing efforts for syndicated television series. Clifton joined Sony Pictures in November 2008.

Charmane Bethune, 30

Customer Service Manager, FandangoNow

Charmane Bethune

Serving as a liaison between the customer and product and technology teams at digital retailer FandangoNow, Bethune works to determine solutions, resolve and execute customer service issues, and lead her internal escalations team to achieve the highest level of customer satisfaction for a growing business. Since January 2018, Bethune has been one of the chapter leads of Fandango TECHWomen, a forum designed to advance opportunities for the company’s female technologists and their allies. She also helped launch Fandango’s BEN (Black Employee Network) employee resource group with the mission to foster and grow a strong black employee base within the company.

Chase Brisbin, 35

SVP, Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution, Lionsgate

Chase Brisbin

Brisbin oversees global licensing of Lionsgate’s 17,000-title film and television library to streaming partners including Amazon, Netflix and Hulu. Brisbin played an instrumental role in major content licensing deals this year, including the syndication of the multiple Emmy award-winning series “Mad Men” to Amazon’s IMDb TV domestically and Prime Video internationally, AMC, and Starzplay. She was also responsible for the licensing of the BBC One hit series “The Goes Wrong Show” to Amazon Prime Video domestically. Since joining Lionsgate in 2012, Brisbin has touched all areas of television distribution, from digital home entertainment to traditional linear sales.

Christian Coladilla, 38

Executive Director, Finance Planning, Paramount Home Entertainment

Christian Coladilla

Coladilla is one of Paramount’s top numbers guys. Specializing in financial modeling and optimization, he manages the creation of annual budgets, quarterly estimates, and business plans for the domestic transactional business. He also evaluates business development and title/slate acquisition opportunities and assesses the potential performance of upcoming titles. Coladilla has been at Paramount since January 2011 and assumed his present position in July 2017. Before joining Paramount, Coladilla was a senior analyst at The Palazzo Las Vegas/Sands Corp. He earned his undergraduate degree in economics and legal studies from UC Berkeley, and his MBA from the University of Southern California.

Cole Galvin, 30

Director, Original Series (YA/Family Series), Netflix

Cole Galvin

Galvin is a champion for voices that haven’t always found a mainstream platform, whether that be Mae Martin’s “Feel Good,” a British comedy about romance and addiction, or the Ryan O’Connell-helmed “Special,” about a gay man with cerebral palsy who decides to rewrite his identity and finally go after the life he chooses. Galvin observes that amplifying diverse voices isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s also good for business, since people of all walks of life want to see themselves reflected in their favorite shows. Galvin joined Netflix in 2017 from Universal Television. His understanding of the studio side to producing allows him to be a strong partner for showrunners.

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Deepa Gopinathan, 37

Senior Digital & Partner Marketing Manager, Vudu

Deepa Gopinathan

Gopinathan manages Vudu’s marketing partnerships with studios and streaming devices, focusing on EST/VOD/PVOD new-release titles and catalog sales. She plans and executes a holistic marketing strategy for the lifecycle of a movie across online and offline marketing channels, and has a keen eye to identify audience targeting technologies that connect the digital customer with their living room smart TVs and other connected devices. Before joining Vudu, Gopinathan managed multi-million-dollar paid advertising campaigns at Yahoo! and Zazzle Inc.

Eddie Medranda, 39

Executive Director, Brand Marketing, Paramount Home Entertainment

Eddie Medranda

Medranda is one of the key members of the brand marketing team at Paramount Home Entertainment. Bright and articulate, he focuses on new releases and acquisitions, and is charged with building a bridge between brand and consumer. Medranda has spent his entire career at Paramount, joining in February 2005 as assistant brand manager of international marketing, and moving up to brand manager in January 2008. During his nearly four years in that post, he spent six months on assignment in London. Medranda assumed his present position in September.

Irene Lee, 31

Director, Original Series (Drama), Netflix

Irene Lee

Lee joined Netflix in 2015 and has since become an integral part of the original series drama team. She is now working on several of Netflix’s key overall deals, with the likes of Peter Morgan, Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland, Jenji Kohan’s Tilted Productions and Michael Sugar’s Sugar 23, as well as such shows as “The Crown” and the upcoming “Teenage Bounty Hunters” and “Bridgerton.” She is also the driving force of the upcoming relationship drama “Sex/Life,” which she is currently shepherding into production in Toronto. Prior to joining Netflix, Lee worked at Warner Bros. Television and John Wells Productions, where she developed a strong foundation of development and production experience and cultivated an extensive network of talent and industry relationships.

Jason Peterson, 39

CEO, GoDigital Media Group

Jason Peterson

Peterson is founder, owner and CEO of a media company that operates seven businesses across rights management, networks and e-commerce verticals: AdShare, Cinq Music, ContentBridge, Latido Music Television, Mitu Networks, the Mitu Shop and VidaPrimo. A three-time 40 Under 40 honoree, Peterson is a proponent of AVOD and SVOD business models with a focus on emerging markets. Most recently he engineered the bolt-on acquisition of Mitu, the largest U.S. multi-platform network targeting Latinx viewers. Founded in 2012, Mitu has received $65 million in investment from Verizon, Comcast, AMC Networks, Upfront Ventures and others.

Jeremy Glassman, 38

Director, Brand Marketing, Sony Pictures Television Global Distribution & Networks

Jeremy Glassman

Glassman champions and drives new-to-format, anniversary, drafting and broader worldwide library marketing efforts, with a focus on the home entertainment transactional space. From developing key and comprehensive global catalog plans to chasing 4K upgrades for smaller library gems, he is charged with equally leveraging and celebrating the studio’s library. Glassman is a graduate of Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He is currently in his 13th year on the Sony Pictures team.

Jimmy Zasowski, 33

SVP, Platform Distribution Strategy, Disney Media Distribution

Jimmy Zasowski

Zasowski leads distribution strategy, business affairs and research for Disney’s transactional, direct-to-consumer and media networks businesses. He and his team are responsible for deal analysis, strategic planning and developing growth strategies. His team also works in close collaboration with sales on platform negotiations in the United States and globally. A 10-year Disney veteran, Zasowski plays a pivotal role in bringing the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming services — Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu — to a wide-range of platforms. Recently, Zasowski was heavily involved in the initial distribution deals for Disney+ and devising the modified release plans for Mulan across all windows, starting with its debut on Disney+ Premier Access.

Jude Fitzmorris, 32

Senior Product Manager, Prime Video, Amazon

Jude Fitzmorris

Fitzmorris is a creative innovator, entrepreneur and leader with more than 12 years experience in film production and home entertainment. As senior product manager for the Prime Video digital supply chain, he drives the creation of technology that enables Amazon to process, package and deliver content to customers worldwide. Prior to joining Amazon in 2017, Fitzmorris led product development at multiple companies, including The Tracking Board, FilmIntel and FilmFunder. Fitzmorris has been a key driver of digital supply chain initiatives with trade association OTT.X, where he serves on the board of directors.

Katie Soo, 34

SVP, Growth Marketing, HBO Max

Katie Soo

Soo oversees growth marketing for WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer platform. She focuses on subscriber acquisitions, consumer engagement, digital campaigns, social media, and audience development and retention strategies. In February, Soo spearheaded the successful unveiling of HBO Max’s social media profiles on Instagram and Facebook. On Valentine’s Day, fans received a love poem on HBO Max’s Twitter feed, teasing several of the popular films and television shows that exclusively stream on the platform. Prior to moving over to HBO Max in November 2018, Soo was head of marketing at Warner Bros. Digital Networks. She previously held senior positions at Fullscreen Media and Hulu.

Konstantin Rimarchuk, 37

Senior Director, FP&A, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Konstantin Rimarchuk

Rimarchuk is considered an exceptional leader and standout performer within UPHE’s global finance team. He manages finance, planning and analysis for the group’s physical transactional business around the world. He is valued for his willingness to jump in and drive major business transformation projects, having most recently played a critical role in establishing the Universal and Warner Bros. domestic distribution joint venture. Rimarchuk joined UPHE in March 2016 and assumed his present position in June 2018. Previously, he spent more than a decade at 20th Century Fox, first in corporate financial reporting and then in theatrical distribution.

Laura Florence, 37

Director, Content Partnerships, Redbox

Laura Florence

Florence leads all content partnerships and content acquisition for Redbox’s digital platform, across both TVOD and AVOD services. She was instrumental in the launch of Redbox Free Live TV and growing the service, aggressively signing new channel partners and licensing content for Redbox’s owned-and-operated channels. Florence joined Redbox in May 2019 with more than 13 years’ experience in both the physical and digital categories of content distribution, including her most recent tenure at Gravitas Ventures, where she ran North American sales and marketing for theatrical, TVOD/cable/satellite, home entertainment and AVOD sales.

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Lindsey Green, 37

SVP, Content Sales, Disney Media Distribution

Lindsey Green

Green is responsible for licensing feature films and television content from The Walt Disney Studios and Disney Media Networks. Business lines under her purview include domestic and global SVOD and AVOD platforms, West Coast-based cable networks, and select pay-TV networks. She and her team also manage the company’s distribution of content to its direct-to-consumer streaming services — Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu. Her client roster includes Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Starz, Roku and Facebook. Green in March 2020 segued into content sales after serving in a lead platform distribution role at Disney, where she managed key distribution agreements across media platforms including MVPDs, digital retailers, global airlines and hotels.

Lizzie Fox, 35

SVP, Nonfiction Programming, HBO Max

Lizzie Fox

Fox focuses on HBO Max’s wide-ranging documentary slate, geared toward female-skewing, Gen Z and millennial viewers, and covering topics that are both socially relevant and accessible. Fox has championed acclaimed titles for the platform including the Sundance 2020 official selection On the Record; Class Action Park, the first feature doc about New Jersey’s notoriously dangerous water park; and On the Trail, following female journalists covering one of the wildest elections in U.S. history. Upcoming projects include the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Special”; the docuseries “Equal,” chronicling the roots of the LGBTQ+ movement; and “Heaven’s Gate,” a four-part series on the infamous religious movement. Before joining HBO Max, Fox was VP of CNN Original Series.

Lourdes Munoz, 36

Executive Director, TV Marketing, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Lourdes Munoz

Munoz heads the HBO marketing team, which moved over to Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in early 2019 after the studio’s acquisition by AT&T. She is responsible for domestic P&L, strategy and execution. She also serves as the HBO International lead, ensuring worldwide cohesive strategy and collaboration. Originally from Spain, Munoz has 12 years of home entertainment and theatrical marketing experience. Before relocating to the United States in January 2020, she was part of the former HBO structure, serving as U.K. lead, based in London. She joined Warner Bros. in Spain in 2008 and relocated to the U.K. in 2015.

Marissa Le, 30

Manager, CRM Strategy, FandangoNow

Marissa Le

Le guides CRM strategy for Fandango’s video-on-demand streaming service. She crafts highly personalized lifecycle marketing programs and customer journeys aimed at increasing retention. By applying a data-driven approach to direct-marketing channels, she continually drives incremental revenue for the company. Prior to joining Fandango, Le worked at Disney ABC Television Group, where she managed CRM marketing and operations for ABC, ABC News, Freeform and Disney Channel. She engaged fans of multiple hit television series, including “The Bachelor” and “American Idol,” through compelling email and push marketing campaigns.

Megan Zamyatin, 37

VP, Accounting & Finance, PBS Distribution

Megan Zamyatin

Zamyatin oversees accounting and finance for PBS Distribution. Since assuming her present position in October 2019, she has evolved the department to embrace new technologies and processes that have streamlined and enhanced the accounting and finance functions. Zamyatin joined PBS Distribution in October 2012 as controller. Before joining PBS, she was the controller for real estate firm Greystone Servicing Corp. and an auditor for RSM US LLP, an audit, tax and consulting firm.

Nia King, 37

Senior Marketing Manager, Digital Distribution, Sony Pictures Television Global Distribution & Networks

Nia King

King manages Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s shopper marketing initiatives for the Amazon Prime Video and Vudu digital accounts. She is charged with developing and driving insights-based marketing programs and strategy planning to grow customer engagement and drive incremental revenue. She has created innovative shopper marketing campaigns for such top releases as Jumanji: The Next Level, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Bad Boys for Life and Little Women. King earned her bachelor’s degree from California State University at Fullerton and joined Sony Pictures in December 2018 after nearly four years at AT&T within the Video Entertainment Group. She was promoted into her current position in March 2020.

Nicholas J. Stannard, 39

Executive Director, Business Analysis, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Nick Stannard

Stannard specializes in financial appraisal of new and existing ways of distributing content to consumers, at home and on the go. His responsibilities include assessing emerging technology production and distribution opportunities; managing the studio’s finances associated with one of China’s largest SVOD services, Tencent Video VIP; and evaluating physical and digital distribution deals globally. Stannard joined Warner Bros. in May 2012 as a commercial finance manager in London before transferring to Los Angeles in 2015. Prior to joining Warner Bros. he worked in the strategy finance team at Europe’s leading TV provider, Sky Plc.

Rahul Bansal, 27

Manager, Original Series, Netflix

Rahul Bansal

The youngest executive on our 2020 40 Under 40 list, Bansal helps build out the slate strategy around science-fiction/fantasy content and oversees a pipeline of blockbuster quality genre shows such as “Altered Carbon.” He’s currently working on some of the company’s largest shows to come, including live-action adaptations of the iconic anime “Cowboy Bebop” TV series, Neil Gaiman’s opus The Sandman and Mark Millar’s recently released comic The Magic Order. Prior to joining Netflix in December 2017, Bansal was at Anonymous Content, where he worked in the TV literary department.

Rashad Qasem, 31

Senior Director, Content Licensing & Strategy, Shout! Factory

Rashad Qasem

At this scrappy independent home entertainment supplier, Qasem works alongside the SVP of content licensing and strategy, Dave McIntosh, to maintain strong relationships with digital streaming platforms while constantly on the hunt for new partners in the SVOD and AVOD space to develop new opportunities to distribute and license the wide variety of content in the Shout! library. Qasem also participates in revenue projection and evaluation of potential acquisitions of both new independent features as well as film and TV libraries. Qasem began his career in 2012 at Millennium Films, where he worked in international pre-sales and financing.

Rebecca Brown, 32

Director, Global Strategic Projects, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Rebecca Brown

Brown over the past five years has worked on projects across both physical and digital distribution supporting cross-functional teams spanning marketing, creative, operations and finance teams. Her major focus in 2020 has been leading the business transition between Universal and Warner Bros. internationally in the United Kingdom, Japan and other territories, as well as supporting the formation of the domestic joint venture between the two studios in a slightly more technical role, helping to architect the new cross-studio communication platform. Prior to joining UPHE in July 2015, Brown spent nearly six years at Staples Inc., the office supply chain, where she rose to manager of process excellence.

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Rema Morgan-Aluko, 35

Senior Director of Software Engineering, FandangoNow

Rema Morgan-Aluko

A 14-year company veteran, Morgan-Aluko leads the technology group. She oversees the development of Web, mobile apps, over-the-top applications and services, as well as application program interfaces. Previously, she led the development and implementation of several initiatives across Fandango’s verticals, including trailers (Movieclips), video and editorial content, movie and entertainment metadata, commerce, user profiles, CRM, marketing campaigns and programs, and advertising and monetization. She co-founded Fandango’s TECHWomen chapter, which aims to advance opportunities for female technologists within the company and beyond.

Sarah J. De Bruin, 36

Director of Publicity, Shout! Factory

Sarah DeBruin

De Bruin’s area of expertise includes brand communications, cross-platform releases (theatrical/VOD, home entertainment), awards campaigns, film festivals/conventions and new series launches. She serves as a brand communications executive for “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and orchestrated the publicity campaign for numerous day-and-date digital/VOD movie releases, including Standing Up, Falling Down, starring Billy Crystal and Ben Schwartz; Lazy Susan, starring Sean Hayes; and Misbehaviour, starring Keira Knightley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. De Bruin joined Shout! Factory in January 2012 as publicity coordinator and steadily advanced up the PR ranks. She was promoted into her present position in December 2018.

Sarah Shepard, 39

VP, Original Scripted Content, Disney+

Sarah Shepard

Shepard oversees all original scripted content for the Disney+ streaming platform. She partners closely with external production entities and Disney-owned internal content creators, including The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, Pixar Animation, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm. She has been instrumental in spearheading such fan favorites as “High School Musical: The Musical — The Series,” “Diary of a Future President,” and the upcoming “Mighty Ducks” series starring Lauren Graham and featuring Emilio Estevez, as well as “Love Victor,” which is available on Hulu. Prior to joining Disney+ in July 2018, Shepard was co-president for four years at Smokehouse Pictures, the film and TV company co-founded by George Clooney.

Shaina O. Yee, 39

Executive Director, Market Insights, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Shaina Yee

Yee delivers strategic consumer and market insights for the worldwide home entertainment team, performing multifaceted analyses of the entire entertainment business to identify high-growth opportunities. These analyses include Warner Bros. and competitive brands’ positions across all WarnerMedia divisions down to single-item performance by territory.
Yee is a 17-year veteran of Warner Bros. She joined the studio in November 2003 as retail inventory management analyst and has since been promoted multiple times. Prior to assuming her present position in May 2019, she was director, category management, market insights.

Shavonne Wieder, 39

Senior Director, Global Brand Marketing, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Shavonne Wieder

Wieder oversees global new-release marketing campaigns across the family business, which includes releases from Universal’s two animation studios, Illumination and DreamWorks. She collaborates closely with the theatrical and consumer products groups, and has led marketing campaigns on such key releases as The Secret Life of Pets 2 and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World. Wieder recently has taken on additional responsibility for securing promotional partnerships in home entertainment, procuring multiple partners for the upcoming 20th anniversary celebration of the live-action How the Grinch Stole Christmas. She is a founding member of the Black @ UPHE inclusion group and a leader advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. Wieder joined Universal in September 2012.

Suzie Hyun, 39

Senior Manager, Studio Relations, Samsung

Suzie Hyun

Hyun has led the promotion and expansion of HDR10+ since 2016 that led to the publication of the technical specification in SMPTE and then 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Her work in the HDR10+ joint venture enabled a robust launch of a certification program that now counts thousands of models of TVs and mobile phones. Her work led to major launches on Amazon, YouTube and, most recently, Google Play movies. A native of South Korea, Hyun holds a master’s degree in Computer Science from USC and has worked at the Walt Disney Co. (on Blu-ray) and Sony DADC (on OTT applications).

Tanya Cornejo, 34

Director, Customer Success, Premiere Digital

Tanya Cornejo

Cornejo is responsible for helping her major media clients manage their content throughout the world with Storefront, the company’s SaaS solution for overseeing the availability, pricing and performance of content on transactional and subscription-based digital platforms in more than 130 markets. She is instrumental in growing Storefront, nurturing high-profile partnerships — particularly during the rise of TVOD, where she serves as liaison between clients and internal teams. Prior to joining Premiere in March 2019, Cornejo was an international account manager at NBCUniversal, where she worked with Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft, among others, to maximize digital revenue across new-release and catalog content.

Tiffany Hawthorne, 36

Director, Original Series, Netflix

Tiffany Hawthorne

A repeat honoree, Hawthorne is focused on drama series — specifically, shepherding scripted series for the Obamas’ Higher Group Productions, as well as the upcoming series “Girls on the Bus” and “From Scratch,” from Reese Witherspoon and Zoe Saldana. Prior to joining Netflix in May 2019, Hawthorne was VP of scripted content for the NBCUniversal Cable Group, developing one-hour projects and limited series for Bravo, E!, Syfy and USA Network. She oversaw the production of the USA Network pilot-to-series “Dare Me” and “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.,” as well as “Girlfriends Guide to Divorce” on Bravo. She has a strong and thoughtful point of view about what representation has looked like in television, and strong convictions about what representation should look like.

Valerie Zapata, 34

Director, Subscriber Partnerships and Growth, Hulu

Val Zapata

Zapata is a senior leader within Hulu’s marketing organization, responsible for future growth projections, strategy and planning. In partnership with Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International, Zapata led the strategic planning and successful launch of the Disney bundle (Disney+, ad-supported Hulu and ESPN+) in November 2019. Her team also led the analysis that ultimately drove Hulu’s decision to launch a $59.99 annual subscription for the ad-supported plan, and Hulu’s successful 2018 and 2019 Black Friday promotions. With an MBA from Harvard, Zapata joined Hulu in October 2017 and assumed her present position in May 2019. Earlier, she spent three years at HBO.

See a photo gallery of all 40 Under 40 honorees