‘Oppenheimer’ Continues Dominant Trophy Haul, Sweeps 2024 Home Entertainment Media Play Awards Top Prizes

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Oppenheimer earned six trophies in the annual Home Entertainment Media Play Awards, taking the top prize of Title of the Year, as well as Blu-ray Disc of the Year, Best 4K Ultra HD Disc, Best Audio/Visual Quality, Best New Movie Home Release and Fan-Favorite Title of the Year.

The awards honor the best packaged-media, digital and streaming releases of movies and TV shows in 2023.

Lionsgate’s The Walking Dead: The Complete Collection won TV on Disc of the Year, as well as Best TV Series Boxed Set.

Meanwhile, Paramount’s new 4K edition of the 1981 film Dragonslayer took three awards: Best Disc Upgrade, Best Steelbook and Best Fantasy Release.

Among other major awards, Lionsgate’s The Mist 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray won Best Catalog Movie on Disc, and Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment’s The Last of Us: The Complete First Season won Best Recent TV Season on Disc.

On the digital side, Mill Creek’s Nefarious was named Best PVOD Release. Among streaming content, FilmRise Classic TV was named Best FAST Channel.

Three studios tied for the most trophies, with seven apiece: Universal, Paramount and Lionsgate.

Winners were chosen by a panel of judges in conjunction with an online consumer vote for eligible titles submitted for consideration by studios, distributors and industry professionals.

This is the 14th year of the annual home entertainment industry honors, and the seventh year they have been presented by Media Play News.

2024 Home Entertainment Media Play Awards Complete List of Winners:

 

Title of the Year
Oppenheimer
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

TV on Disc of the Year
The Walking Dead: The Complete Collection
Lionsgate

Blu-ray Disc of the Year
Oppenheimer
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Fan-Favorite Title of the Year
Oppenheimer
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

 

Packaged Media & Transactional Digital

 

Best New Movie Home Release
Oppenheimer
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Best Catalog Movie on Disc
The Mist 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Lionsgate

Best Recent TV Season on Disc
The Last of Us: The Complete First Season
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment

Best Vintage TV Disc Release
ALF: The Complete Series — Deluxe Edition
Shout! Studios

Best Movie Boxed Set
The Sensual World of Black Emanuelle
Severin Films

Best TV Series Boxed Set
The Walking Dead: The Complete Collection
Lionsgate

Best Box Art
The Expendables 1-4 Walmart-Exclusive 4K Steelbook
Lionsgate

Best Packaging
Code Geass Collector’s Edition
Crunchyroll

Best 4K Ultra HD Disc
Oppenheimer
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Best 3D Disc
Robot Monster
BayView

Best Audio/Visual Quality
Oppenheimer
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Best Extras/Bonus Material
Avatar: The Way of Water — Collector’s Edition
Disney/20th Century Studios

Best Extended Cut/Alternate Version
Rudy
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Best Disc Upgrade
Dragonslayer 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Paramount Home Entertainment

Best Home Release From An Indie Studio
Terrifier 2
Cineverse

Best International Release
Hunt
Magnolia Pictures

Best Restoration
The Maltese Falcon 4K Ultra HD
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment

Best Steelbook
Dragonslayer 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Paramount Home Entertainment

Best DVD-Only Release
Daddy Daughter Trip
Mill Creek Entertainment

Best Premium Video-on-Demand Release
Nefarious
Mill Creek Entertainment

Best Digital Sellthrough Release
Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning
Paramount Home Entertainment

Best Retail Exclusive
John Wick: Chapter 4 (Walmart Ultimate Edition)
Lionsgate

Best Web Exclusive
Code Geass Collector’s Edition
Crunchyroll

Best Marketing Initiative
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem — New York Jets Activation
Paramount Home Entertainment

 

Genre

 

Best Action/Adventure Release
John Wick: Chapter 4
Lionsgate

Best Animation Release
Cinderella 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Walt Disney Studios

Best Anime Release
Code Geass Collector’s Edition
Crunchyroll

Best Comedy Release
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story
Shout! Studios

Best Documentary Release
Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek
Mill Creek/The Nacelle Company

Best Drama Release
Training Day 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment

Best Faith-Based Release
The Blind
Mill Creek Entertainment

Best Fantasy Release
Dragonslayer 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Paramount Home Entertainment

Best Horror/Thriller Release
The Exorcist 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment

Best Kidvid Release
Sesame Street: Abby & Elmo’s Amazing Adventures
Shout! Studios

Best Sci-Fi Release
Star Trek: The Next Generation 4-Movie Collection 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Paramount Home Entertainment

Best Superhero Disc
Swamp Thing: Collector’s Edition 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
MVD Entertainment

Best Release of a Western
Young Guns 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Lionsgate

Best Release of a Musical
Barbie
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment

Best Music/Performance Release
Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour (Extended Version)
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Best Reality TV Series
Rupaul’s Drag Race: Season 15
Paramount Home Entertainment

 

Streaming

 

Best FAST Channel (Free Ad-Supported Streaming Channel)
FilmRise Classic TV

Best AVOD Channel
Redbox on Demand

Best Niche Streaming Channel
Magnolia Selects

Best Retro Channel
Johnny Carson TV
Shout! Factory TV

Best Horror Channel
Scream Factory
Shout! Factory TV

Best Non-Fiction Channel
FilmRise Forensic Files

Best Anime Channel
RetroCrush
Cineverse

Best Scripted Streaming Series
Marie Antoinette: Season 1
PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel

Best Nonfiction Streaming Series or Movie
20 Days in Mariupol
PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel

Best Music FAST Channel
Vevo Pop

Best Lifestyle FAST Channel
Tastemade

 

Voting Is Open for the 2024 Home Entertainment Media Play Awards

Consumer voting has begun for the 2024 Home Entertainment Media Play Awards. This is the 14th year of the annual home entertainment industry honors, and the seventh year they have been presented by Media Play News.

Through March 31, film and TV fans and home entertainment enthusiasts can visit MediaPlayNews.com/awards/ballot to select their favorite home entertainment releases of 2023, as nominated by studios, distributors and home entertainment industry professionals.

The awards cover a wide array of home entertainment options, including streaming, from SVOD to AVOD and FAST; DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray; premium video-on-demand (PVOD) and digital sellthrough. 

The results of the consumer vote will be combined with ballots submitted by a panel of expert judges.

“Best of show” winners are then selected from among all eligible submissions for Packaged-Media Title of the Year, TV Disc Release of the Year and Best Blu-ray Disc. A “Fan-Favorite” trophy also will be awarded for the single title receiving the most consumer votes. Judges may also present awards based on special merit.

Winners will be announced April 18.

Last year’s Home Entertainment Media Play Awards saw Paramount Home Entertainment’s The Godfather Trilogy 50 Years Collector’s Edition earn the top prize, voted Title of the Year, while Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick took nine awards, including Fan-Favorite Title of the Year.

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Sorry. Voting has ended

2024 Home Entertainment Media Play Award Nominees

PACKAGED MEDIA & TRANSACTIONAL DIGITAL CATEGORIES

 

Best New Movie Home Release       

Barbie (Warner)

The Equalizer 3 (Sony Pictures)

John Wick: Chapter 4 (Lionsgate)

Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning (Paramount)

Oppenheimer (Universal)

 

Best Catalog Movie on Disc  

Apple Seed Blu-ray (VCI)

Enter the Dragon 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Warner)

The Exorcist 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Warner)

The Fugitive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Warner)

Horrors of the Black Museum Blu-ray (VCI)

JFK: Collector’s Edition (Shout! Studios)

Johanna Enlists Blu-ray (VCI)

The Mist 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Lionsgate)

The Nutty Professor (1963) 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Paramount Presents)

Requiem for a Heavyweight Blu-ray (Mill Creek)

Rio Bravo 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Warner)

Stella Maris Blu-ray (VCI)

Tonight or Never Blu-ray (VCI)

Training Day 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Warner)

Young Guns 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Lionsgate)

 

Best Recent-Season Disc Release     

The Last of Us: Season 1 (Warner)

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds — Season 2 (Paramount/CBS)

 

Best Vintage TV Disc Release

ALF: The Complete Series (Shout! Studios)

Babylon 5: The Complete Series Blu-ray (Warner)

Mayberry RFD: The Complete Series (Warner)

 

Best Movie Boxed Set

100 Years of Warner Bros Vol. 1: Award Winners  (Warner)

100 Years of Warner Bros Vol. 2: Comedies, Dramas & Musicals (Warner)

100 Years of Warner Bros Vol. 3: Fantasy, Action & Adventure (Warner)

100 Years of Warner Bros Vol. 4: Thrillers, Sci-Fi & Horror (Warner)

Evangelion 3.0 + 1.11: Thrice Upon a Time: Collector’s Edition (Shout! Studios/GKIDS)

House of 1000 Corpses: 20th Anniversary Edition (Lionsgate)

Jackie Chan Collection Vol. 1 (1976-1982) (Shout! Studios)

Masaaki Yuasa: Five Films (Shout! Studios/GKIDS)

Paramount Scares Vol. 1 (Paramount)

The Sensual World of Black Emanuelle (Severin Films)

Superman 5-Film Collection 1978-1987 (Warner)

 

Best TV Series Boxed Set

Babylon 5: The Complete Series Blu-ray (Warner)

Code Geass Collector’s Edition (Crunchyroll)

Mayberry RFD: The Complete Series (Warner)

The Walking Dead: The Complete Collection Blu-ray (Lionsgate)

 

Best 4K Ultra HD Disc

Barbie (Warner)

John Wick: Chapter 4 (Lionsgate)

Kubo and the Two Strings Steelbook (Shout! Studios)

Oppenheimer (Universal)

Saw X (Lionsgate)

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (Shout! Studios)

 

Best Audio/Visual Quality    

John Wick: Chapter 4 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Lionsgate)

Kubo and the Two Strings 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Shout! Studios)

Oppenheimer 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Universal)

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Shout! Studios

 

Best Extras/Bonus Material  

Avatar: The Way of Water Collector’s Edition (20th Century)

Code Geass Collector’s Edition (Crunchyroll)

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Paramount)

The Flash (Warner)

Saw X (Lionsgate)

The Sensual World of Black Emanuelle (Severin Films)

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (Shout! Studios)

 

 

Best Extended Cut/Alternate Cut     

M3GAN (Universal)

Rudy (Sony Pictures)

 

Best Box Art

The Boxtrolls 4K Steelbook (Shout! Studios)

The Expendables 1-4 Walmart-Exclusive 4K Steelbook (Lionsgate)

The Hunger Games 4-Movie Collection Walmart-Exclusive 4K Steelbook (Lionsgate)

John Wick: Chapter 4 Amazon-Exclusive Lenticular (Lionsgate)

Masaaki Yuasa: Five Films (Shout! Studios/GKIDS)

The Mist 4-Disc Collector’s Edition (Lionsgate)

The Sect (Severin Films)

The Thing (2011) Walmart-Exclusive Steelbook (Mill Creek)

Transformers Limited-Edition 6-Movie Steelbook (Paramount)

Young Guns Best Buy-Exclusive 4K Steelbook (Lionsgate)

 

Best Packaging

100 Years of Warner Bros. Vol. 1-4 (Warner)

Clerks I-III Complete Movie Collection (Lionsgate)

Code Geass Collector’s Edition (Crunchyroll)

House of 1000 Corpses: 20th Anniversary Edition (Lionsgate)

John Wick: Chapter 4 — Ultimate Edition (Lionsgate)

Masaaki Yuasa: Five Films (Shout! Studios/GKIDS)

The Sensual World of Black Emanuelle (Severin Films)

Spider-Man: Spider-Verse 2-Movie Collector’s Edition (Sony Pictures)

Titanic: 25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition (Paramount)

The Twilight Saga: 15th Anniversary Steelbook Collection (Lionsgate)

The Walking Dead Complete Collection Blu-ray (Lionsgate)

 

Best Disc Upgrade

The Boxtrolls 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook (Shout! Studios)

Count Dracula 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Severin Films)

Dragonslayer 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Paramount)

Enter the Dragon 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Warner)

The Fugitive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Warner)

Kubo and the Two Strings 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook (Shout! Studios)

The Pyschic 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Severin Films)

Rio Bravo 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Warner)

Swamp Thing: Collector’s Edition 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (MVD)

Training Day 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Warner)

The Twilight Saga: 15th Anniversary Steelbook Collection (Lionsgate)

Young Guns 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Lionsgate)

 

Best Home Release From An Indie Studio   

Cemetery Man (Severin Films)

Drowning by Numbers (Severin Films)

The Sensual World of Black Emanuelle (Severin Films)

Terrifier 2 (Cineverse)

 

Best International Release    

Hunt — Korean (Magnolia)

Spirited Away: Live on Stage — Japanese (Shout! Studios/GKIDS)

 

Best Restoration

Cinderella 4K Ultra HD (Disney)

The Color Purple (1985) 4K Ultra HD (Warner)

Enter the Dragon 4K Ultra HD (Warner)

The Exorcist 4K Ultra HD (Warner)

Kubo and the Two Strings 4K Ultra HD (Shout! Studios)

The Maltese Falcon 4K Ultra HD (Warner)

The Mist 4K Ultra HD (Lionsgate)

Robot Monster 3D Blu-ray (BayView)

Titanic 4K Ultra HD (Paramount)

Young Guns 4K Ultra HD (Lionsgate)

 

Best Steelbook          

The Boxtrolls 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Shout! Studios)

Dragonslayer Ultra HD Blu-ray (Paramount)

The Expendables 1-4 Walmart-Exclusive 4K (Lionsgate)

House of 1000 Corpses: 20th Anniversary Edition (Lionsgate)

The Hunger Games 4-Movie Collection Walmart-Exclusive 4K (Lionsgate)

Kubo and the Two Strings 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Shout! Studios)

Rob Zombie’s Firefly Trilogy Walmart-Exclusive Blu-ray Lionsgate)

Terrifier 2 (Cineverse)

The Thing (2011) (Mill Creek)

Transformers Limited-Edition 6-Movie Steelbook (Paramount)

The Twilight Saga: 15th Anniversary Steelbook Collection (Lionsgate)

Young Guns Best Buy-Exclusive 4K (Lionsgate)

 

Best Premium-Video-on-Demand Release  

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Paramount)

The Equalizer 3 (Sony Pictures)

Nefarious (Mill Creek)

 

Best Exclusive

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret (Walmart Edition) (Lionsgate)

Code Geass Collector’s Edition (Crunchyroll Web Exclusive) (Crunchyroll)

John Wick: Chapter 4 (Walmart Ultimate Edition) (Lionsgate)

 

GENRE CATEGORIES

 

Best Action/Adventure Release       

Enter the Dragon (Warner)

The Equalizer 3 (Sony Pictures)

John Wick: Chapter 4 (Lionsgate)

Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning (Paramount)

 

Best Animation Release        

The Canterville Ghost (Shout! Studios)

Cinderella 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Disney)

 

Code Geass Collector’s Edition (Crunchyroll)

Mavka: The Forest Song (Shout! Studios)

The Super Mario Bros. Movie (Universal)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (Paramount)

 

Best Anime Release

Code Geass Collector’s Edition (Crunchyroll)

Evangelion 3.0 + 1.11: Thrice Upon a Time (Shout! Studios/GKIDS)

Masaaki Yuasa: Five Films (Shout! Studios/GKIDS)

 

Best Comedy Release

Barbie (Warner)

No Hard Feelings (Sony Pictures)

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story (Shout! Studios)

 

Best Documentary Release   

Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek (Mill Creek/The Nacelle Company)

Little Richard: I Am Everything (Magnolia)

 

Best Drama Release  

A Man Called Otto (Sony Pictures)

Oppenheimer (Universal)

Training Day (Warner)

 

Best Fantasy Release 

Dragonslayer (Paramount)

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (Paramount)

           

Best Horror/Thriller Release

Bride of Chucky: Collector’s Edition (Shout! Studios)

Cemetery Man (Severin Films)

Evil Dead Rise (Warner)

The Exorcist 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Warner)

M3GAN (Universal)

Nefarious (Mill Creek)

Saw X (Lionsgate)

Sleepy Hollow 4K Ultra HD (Paramount)

Terrifier 2 (Cineverse)

           

Best Kidvid Release

Barbie 4-Movie Special Collection (NCircle)

The Canterville Ghost (Shout! Studios)

Paw Patrol: The Mighty Movie (Paramount)

Sesame Street: Abby & Elmo’s Amazing Adventures (Shout! Studios)          

           

Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Release

Avatar: The Way of Water Collector’s Edition (20th Century)

Babylon 5: The Complete Series Blu-ray (Warner)

Star Trek: The Next Generation 4-Movie Collection 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (Paramount)

Ultraseven 55th Anniversary Anthology (Mill Creek)

           

Best Superhero Disc  

The Flash (Warner)

Spider-Man: Spider-Verse 2 Movie Collector’s Edition (Sony Pictures)

Superman 5-Film Collection 1978-1987 (Warner)

Swamp Thing: Collector’s Edition 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray (MVD)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (Paramount)

 

Best Release of a Western

1923: Season 1 (Paramount)

Rio Bravo 4K Ultra HD (Warner)

Young Guns 4K Ultra HD (Lionsgate)  

 

STREAMING CATEGORIES

 

Best Fast Channel (Free Ad-Supported Streaming Channel)           

FilmRise True Crime (FilmRise)

Bob Ross Channel (Cineverse)

CineLife (Magnolia)

FilmRise Classic TV (FilmRise)

Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Shout! Factory TV)

PBS Food (PBS Distribution)

Tastemade (Tastemade)

Trailer Park Boys (Shout! Factory TV)

Vevo Pop (Vevo)

 

Best Niche Streaming Channel         

Magnolia Selects (Magnolia)

Redbox on Demand (Redbox)

Shout! TV (Shout! Factory TV)

TokuSHOUTsu (Shout! Factory TV)

 

Best Retro Channel   

ALF (Shout! Factory TV)

The Carol Burnett Show (Shout! Factory TV)

Farscape (Shout! Factory TV)

FilmRise Western (FilmRise)

Johnny Carson TV (Shout! Factory TV)

RetroCrush (Cineverse)

 

Best Horror Channel 

Monsters & Nightmares (Magnolia)

Scream Factory (Shout! Factory TV)

Screambox (Cineverse)

 

Best Non-Fiction Channel     

DOX (Magnolia)

FilmRise Forensic Files (FilmRise)

 

Best Nonfiction Streaming Series or Movie 

At Home With Genevieve (Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment)

20 Days in Mariupol (PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel)

Nominations Now Being Accepted for Media Play News’ Third Annual ‘Indie Power Players’ Salute

Media Play News this year will once again honor the top players in independent film distribution, with nominations being accepted through March 1.

“Top Indie Power Players” 2024 will be published in the March print and digital edition of Media Play News, which hits the street on March 25. The feature also will run online a week later.

Once again, we will profile the top executives in independent film distribution, who have played a vital role in the home entertainment industry for nearly 50 years.

Indie distributors have long excelled at multi-platform releasing, with a particular focus on home audiences across the three core platforms we cover: streaming, disc and digital (TVOD and electronic sellthrough).

“The creative side of the independent film business gets plenty of press and attention, but the distributors deserve their moment in the spotlight as well,” said MPN publisher Thomas K. Arnold. “They play a critical role in bringing this great content to the general public — and into the general public’s homes.”

Nominations are being accepted through Friday, March 1. The official entry form may be accessed here.

President-Themed Movies to Peruse at Home for Presidents Day

In honor of President’s Day weekend, the Media Play News staff put together a list of president-themed films to peruse and where to watch them.

  • Lincoln (2012) — Starring Danial Day-Lewis in an Oscar winning performance, the drama is set as the Civil War rages on and U.S President Abraham Lincoln struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on his decision to emancipate the slaves. (disc or digital: Disney, streaming: Paramount+)
  • Air Force One (1997) — Starring Harrison Ford as the president, the thriller follows communist radicals who hijack Air Force One with the U.S. president and his family on board. The vice president (Glenn Close) negotiates from Washington D.C., while the president, a veteran, fights to rescue the hostages on board. (disc or digital: Sony Pictures)
  • Thirteen Days (2000) — In October 1962, the Kennedy administration struggles to contain the Cuban Missile Crisis in this period drama. The film stars Kevin Costner, Bruce Greenwood and Shawn Driscoll. (disc or digital Warner)
  • The American President (1995) — Starring Annette Bening and Michael Douglas, this comic romance drama follows a widowed U.S. president running for reelection and an environmental lobbyist who fall in love. 
    (disc or digital Warner)
  • Independence Day (1996) — The alien invasion flick stars Bill Pullman as the president, who leads a counterattack. (disc or digital 20th Century, streaming Philo, Sling, Starz)
  • Dave (1993) — The comic romance follows an uncanny presidential lookalike named Dave who is recruited by the Secret Service to become a momentary stand-in for the president of the United States. (disc or digital Warner)
  • Seven Days in May (1964) — Directed by John Frankenheimer, the thriller follows United States military leaders who plot to overthrow the president because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack. It stars Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster. (disc or digital Warner Archive, streaming Tubi)
  • Fail Safe (1964) — In this thriller directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Henry Fonda and Walter Matthau, a technical malfunction sends American planes to Moscow to deliver a nuclear attack. (disc or digital Criterion, streaming Tubi)
  • Frost/Nixon (2008) — This dramatic retelling of the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon was nominated for five Oscars. (disc or digital Universal or Mill Creek)
  • Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) — Directed by John Ford, this drama is a fictionalized account of the early life of the American president as a young lawyer facing his greatest court case. It stars Henry Fonda. (disc or digital Criterion, streaming Tubi, Xumo)
  • In the Line of Fire (1993) — The thriller stars Clint Eastwood as Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan, who couldn’t save Kennedy, but is determined not to let a clever assassin take out the current president. (disc or digital Sony Pictures, streaming AMC+, Philo, Sling)
  • All the Way (2016) — This biopic follows Lyndon B. Johnson as he becomes the president of the United States in the chaotic aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination and spends his first year in office fighting to pass the Civil Rights Act. It stars Bryan Cranston as Johnson and Anthony Mackie as MLK. (digital HBO, streaming Max)
  • JFK (1991) — This controversial Oliver Stone-directed docudrama stars Kevin Costner as a prosecutor who investigates potential conspiracy behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. Shout! Studios just put out a multidisc collector’s edition of the film on 4K Blu-ray. (digital Warner)

 

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Nomination Period is Open for 2024 Home Entertainment Media Play Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for the annual Home Entertainment Media Play Awards, which for the seventh year is being presented by Media Play News.

Nominations for the awards — which honor the best movies, series and other content aimed at home audiences released during 2023, from streaming to TVOD to disc — are due from participating studios, distributors and content creators Feb. 9.

Winners in all categories will then be determined by a blue-ribbon panel of industry experts in conjunction with a consumer vote. Voting will take place in March and the winners will be announced in April.

The awards cover a wide array of home entertainment options, including streaming, from SVOD to AVOD and FAST; DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray; premium video-on-demand (PVOD) and digital sellthrough. 

Submit your entries for the 2024 Home Entertainment Media Play Awards here

“Best of show” winners are then selected from among all eligible submissions for Packaged-Media Title of the Year, TV Disc Release of the Year and Best Blu-ray Disc. A “Fan-Favorite” trophy also will be awarded for the single title receiving the most consumer votes. Judges may also present awards based on special merit.

Last year’s Home Entertainment Media Play Awards saw Paramount Home Entertainment’s The Godfather Trilogy 50 Years Collector’s Edition take Title of the Year and Best Movie Boxed Set.

Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick spearheaded a haul of nine awards. The fighter pilot actioner won Best Fan-Favorite Title of the Year, Best New Movie on Disc, Best 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc, Best Audio/Visual Quality, Best Action/Adventure Release, Best Digital Sellthrough Release, and Best Marketing Initiative for promotional efforts at a NASCAR event. A two-movie boxed set of the 1986 original Top Gun and the sequel won Blu-ray Disc of the Year and Best Packaging.

Among other major awards, Sony Pictures’ Better Call Saul: The Complete Series won TV on Disc of the Year, as well as Best Complete-Series Set. Universal Pictures’ E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial 40th anniversary 4K release won Best Catalog Movie on Disc, and Warner’s House of the Dragon: Season One won Best Recent TV Season on Disc.

On the digital side, Paramount’s Orphan: First Kill was named Best PVOD Release. Among stream­ing content, Shout! Factory TV was named Best Niche Streaming Channel, while Disney+ took Best Major SVOD Original Series with season one of the “Star Wars” series “Andor.”

Overall, this is the 14th edition of the annual home entertainment awards.

Top 10 for 2023: The Biggest Home Entertainment Stories of the Year — Transactional

The year 2023 saw the entertainment business hit with two strikes — one by the actors and one by the writers — that slowed the production pipeline and added to the ongoing upheaval in the industry. Roiled by the walkout, ongoing disruption in the aftermath of the pandemic, the growth of streaming and the continued erosion of disc sales, the transactional business struggled to compete with the gush of streaming content.

Here is a countdown of the top 10 home entertainment news stories of 2023 in the transactional business — disc and digital — as selected and ranked by the Media Play News editorial staff:

10. Oppenheimer Shortage

The much-maligned disc business got a significant confidence booster in November when reports surfaced that demand for 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray copies of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Oppenheimer was so great that retailers were running out. UPHE promised a quick restock, but in the meantime retail-exclusive editions of the film began commanding big prices on auction sites such as eBay, with copies of a Best Buy-exclusive Steelbook reaching asking prices in the $200 range by the end of the year.

9. Disney’s Epiphany

The Walt Disney Co., stung by its aggressive approach to streaming, appeared to rediscover the transactional business this year, giving films generous windows for digital purchase and no longer neglecting the physical disc. In August, Disney announced that several of its most popular Disney+ streaming series, including “The Mandalorian,” “WandaVision” and “Loki,” would be packaged into “Collector’s Edition” 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays and Blu-ray Discs chock-full of bonus features.  One month later, Disney announced its most extravagant Blu-ray Disc boxed set ever: The Disney Legacy Animated Film Collection, consisting of 100 classic on Blu-ray Disc, digital codes for each title, a copy of the original theatrical poster art, a collectible lithograph from Disney Animation’s new musical comedy Wish, and a collectible crystal Mickey ears hat with exclusive Disney 100 engraving. The retail price: $1,500.

8. Courting Collectors

While the DVD frenzy was initially fueled by families buying movies their kids would watch over and over again, the target audience for the mature, and much-smaller, disc business in 2023 was the collector. Studios were mining their libraries for classics they deemed worthy of 4K release and either issuing themselves or licensing them to independents; no surprise, then, that 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray sales were actually up, even though the overall disc business experienced another double-digit decline. Studios also revved up their retail exclusives, many of them handsomely packaged Steelbooks with gobs of extras.

7. No More Red Envelopes

Netflix in September pulled the plug on its legacy disc rental business, which birthed the company 26 years ago as well as the subscription model Netflix would later use to launch its streaming service. “Our goal has always been to provide the best service for our members, but as the DVD business continues to shrink, that’s going to become increasingly difficult,” Netflix said. “Making 2023 our final season allows us to maintain our quality of service through the last day and go out on a high note.” Renting DVDs and, later, Blu-ray Discs by mail was Netflix’s sole revenue source for its first 10 years in business, but after launching its streaming service disc revenue plummeted. The company generated less than $146 million from disc rentals in 2022, a 20% drop, while first-quarter 2023 rental revenue was just $32 million. The final rental, which shipped Sept. 29 in its signature red envelope: the Coen Brothers’ 2010 remake of True Grit.

6.  Distribution Disruption I

Ingram Entertainment, once the largest distributor of home entertainment products, in September announced it is getting out of the DVD and Blu-ray Disc business. “Expenses are exceeding sales [so it’s] time to exit,” chairman and CEO David Ingram told Media Play News. The La Vergne, Tenn.-based company had been one of the prime champions for a uniform Tuesday street date, and remained at the forefront of distribution through waves of retail consolidation and the transition of the business from VHS rental to DVD sellthrough. Ingram in 2019 became even bigger when it swallowed up its chief competitor, Baker & Taylor.

5. Party On

The gala launch parties in and around Hollywood for films making their DVD debuts were a staple of the late 1990s and early 2000s, but gradually faded away with the rise of streaming. In 2023, studios once again began celebrating the disc and TVOD release of their major films, beginning in January with Disney hosting a release party for The Menu at the Blockbuster pop-up on trendy Melrose Avenue. Since then, we’ve seen a dance party at the California Science Center for Disney’s The Little Mermaid, a making-of documentary screening for Universal Pictures’ Oppenheimer, a Venice Beach party for Disney’s A Haunting in Venice and a pizza party for Paramount’s  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, attended by Seth Rogan and other filmmakers.

4. Retail Retreat

Brick-and-mortar retail was even less kind to the venerable physical disc in 2023 than it had been in 2022, when the big story was Walmart cutting its DVD/Blu-ray Disc floor space by 20%. Media Play News executive editor John Latchem in September reported that the disc sections at most Target stores have been reduced to an endcap for new-release DVDs and Blu-rays, and about one aisle for catalog titles, “while 4K editions all but disappeared from the chain’s stores….” A month later, Best Buy, which in the late 1990s led the charge by big retailers to take over the DVD sellthrough business, announced it would be phasing out DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays at its 1,000+ stores as well as online — including the exclusive Steelbooks prized by collectors.

3. Distribution Disruption II

In August, it was reported that Walmart was in talks with Studio Distribution Services (SDS) about helping manage parts of its physical media business. SDS is the joint venture formed by Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. in April 2021 to distribute discs in North America. The venture is headed by Eddie Cunningham, a former president of UPHE. Sources told Media Play News that Walmart issued a request for proposal (RFP) and selected SDS. Walmart reportedly gives other studios and independent suppliers a certain deadline to come aboard. Cunningham said that while SDS “was initially set up for Warner Bros., Universal and their partners, it was built in a way that would allow it to scale up easily.”

2. PVOD Redux

A major development in 2023 was a growing number of theatrical titles being made available for digital purchase or rental in as little as 18 days after their theatrical openings, at a premium price. What’s known as premium video-on-demand, or PVOD, has long been a studio dream, and one that became a reality in 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic shut theaters, leaving Hollywood with no option other than to premiere films at home. But as the pandemic faded from the headlines, so did PVOD — until this year, amid the growing realization that streaming on its own was unsustainable.

1. Window Treatment

The top story in the transactional space in 2023 was the return of windows. Three studios that previously had released most of their big theatricals simultaneously to traditional home entertainment (digital and disc) and their sister streaming services — Max at Warner Bros., Paramount+ at Paramount and Disney+ at Disney — shifted back to the old way of doing things, making their films available for digital or physical purchase or rental several weeks before they were dispatched to streaming.

View Media Play News‘ top 10 streaming stories of 2023 here.

Top 10 for 2023: The Biggest Home Entertainment Stories of the Year — Streaming

The year 2023 saw the entertainment business hit with two strikes — one by the actors and one by the writers — that slowed the production pipeline and added to the ongoing upheaval in the industry. Roiled by the walkout and Wall Street’s new focus on profit in the industry after the giddy growth days of the pandemic, the streaming business struggled to find ways to cut costs and grow revenue.

Here is a countdown of the top 10 home entertainment news stories of 2023 in the streaming business as chosen by the Media Play News editorial staff:

10. Streamers Tackle the NFL

Subscription streaming video’s growing embrace of live sports took center stage over the winter holidays. NBCUniversal’s inaugural “Peacock Holiday Exclusive” on Dec. 23, which pitted the Buffalo Bills vs. the Los Angeles Chargers on the Peacock streaming platform, included the NFL’s first-ever commercial-free fourth quarter. The promotion generated a 40% reduction in standard NFL TV commercials resulting in more than 12 minutes of additional game-related content, according to the companies.

In January 2024, Peacock will become the first streaming service to live stream an NFL Playoff game, presenting an NFL Wild Card Playoff in primetime on Jan. 13, 2024. With the two Saturday NFL Wild Card games and a Sunday primetime NFL Wild Card game (on Peacock and NBC), NBCUniversal will be the first media company to present three NFL Playoff games in a single weekend.

Separately, Prime Video live-streamed the first-ever Black Friday (Nov. 24) NFL game, featuring the New York Jets losing to the Miami Dolphins, 34-13. Amazon, which is paying the NFL $11 billion to exclusively distribute “Thursday Night Football” through 2033, reportedly paid the NFL an additional $100 million to stream the Black Friday game, which featured for the first time in-game shopping features, aimed at melding the company’s legacy e-commerce platform with live-sports streaming. Commercials during the game featured commercial QR codes directed viewers to Amazon.com to complete purchases.

9. Disney’s Cricket Woes

India continues to be a coveted market for U.S. media companies, including its streaming marketplace. The Walt Disney Co. in December signed a non-binding term sheet with Reliance Industries Ltd. to merge the companies’ Indian media assets, which include the Hotstar streaming platform and JioCinema, an ad-supported free streaming service. The proposed cash-stock deal — expected to close in February 2024 — is significant due to India’s importance to Disney+. The Hotstar platform accounted for nearly 40% of total Disney+ subscribers after the service’s 2019 launch. Disney acquired Hotstar as part of the $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox. Key to Hotstar was the platform’s exclusive streaming rights to the Indian Premier League, the professional cricket league. Cricket is a national sport in India. When Hotstar lost the multibillion-dollar IPL rights earlier this year to Viacom18, an Indian-based media company co-owned by Paramount Global and Reliance, Disney looked to cut its losses, which included millions of Indian streaming subscribers.

8. NASCAR Revs Live-Streaming Engine

Streaming video’s growing embrace of live sports ventured from the playing field to the brickyard. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) inked a seven-year, $7.7 billion media rights agreement for its Cup Series that included first-time access to live streaming on a variety of streaming services, beginning in 2025 through the 2031 season. NBC Sports’ NASCAR coverage will encompass the final 14 events of the 2025 season, including the Playoffs and Championship race, featuring a mix of races and content on Peacock.

Prime Video will live stream practice and qualifying for the first half of the season with the exceptions of the Busch Light Clash, Daytona 500, and NASCAR All-Star Race. The deal marks Amazon’s second major live sports streaming deal following its landmark $11 billion pact with the NFL for “Thursday Night Football.”

TNT Sports will initiate its NASCAR coverage with five midseason races simultaneously broadcast live and streaming on the B/R Sports Add-On on Max. Practice and qualifying for the remainder of the season will stream on Max and air on truTV.

7. Max. Just Max.

Warner Bros. Discovery combined its HBO Max and Discovery+ streaming platforms into the standalone Max service as part of a plan to reduce costs and turn a profit. The union of the two subscription streaming services had been in the works ever since the merger of WarnerMedia with Discovery. The new Max SVOD service features HBO Max’s high-profile series such as “The Last of Us” and “White Lotus” as well as Discovery+ content, including HGTV favorite “Property Brothers” and Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network.

Separately, the company’s branded online Bleacher Report (B/R) Sports unit in October began offering for the first-time access to live streaming sports and news on the Max platform, including a full slate of live sports, including MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA Men’s March Madness, and U.S. Soccer events.

6. Peacock Drops Free AVOD 

Streaming’s embrace of ad-supported VOD and free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) may have been a trend in 2023, with Tubi, Pluto TV and The Roku Channel each making it onto Nielsen’s monthly household TV streaming chart. Then NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platform poured cold water on the parade, dropping its free ad-supported option for new subscribers. The service said the move was part of a focus on growing Peacock’s ad-supported $4.99 and ad-free $9.99 subscription tiers. Peacock topped 30 million paid subscribers through October.

5. Bundle Power

The bundling of subscription streaming video services to help consumers save money was a big trend for the year. In December, Verizon began offering ad-supported access to both the Netflix and Max services for a $10 combined monthly fee. That’s 40% off the standard combined monthly fee. Verizon, which has no proprietary streaming service, has aggressively marketed discounted access to third-party platforms to its wireless customers, including Apple TV+, Walmart+ (which includes Paramount+), the Disney bundle (Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+). Bundling is expected to soften churn rates (non-renewing subscribers), and entice new subs via lower monthly fees, especially to the ad-supported service levels.

4. Prime Video Adds Ads

The lure of incremental advertising dollars snagged another legacy SVOD  player with Prime Video informing subscribers about its pending transition to an ad-supported service beginning on Jan. 29, 2024. Prime Video subscribers can continue streaming ad-free content after Jan. 29, 2024, by paying an additional $2.99 monthly surcharge. Prime Video currently charges $14.99 monthly ($139 annually). “[Ad-supported Prime Video] will allow us to continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time,” Amazon said in a statement to subscribers. Prime Video, along with Apple TV+, had been the last ad-free SVOD service. Netflix and Disney+ launched ad-supported options in late 2022, joining Hulu, Max, Paramount + and Peacock. Amazon says ad-supported Prime Video will have “meaningfully fewer ads” than linear TV and other streaming TV providers.

3. An Actual Streaming Profit?!?!?!

Outside of Netflix and Hulu, most studio-backed subscription streaming VOD services continued to hemorrhage millions of dollars in 2023. Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming business unit, which includes Max, Discovery+, and linear HBO, bucked the trend, posting a first-ever pre-tax profit ($50 million) in the first quarter, ended March 31, compared with a loss of $227 million in the previous-year period. The media giant said it expected the direct-to-consumer business to be profitable for fiscal 2023 — a year ahead of guidance. “We’ve said it’s not about how many subscribers, it’s about how much money we make,” CEO David Zaslav said on the fiscal call.

2. Sharing is Not Caring

After Netflix said it would begin cracking down on subscribers (100 million worldwide) sharing their account access password with non-members, conventional wisdom suggested the move would backfire into a PR mess, angering subs and even possibly sending the company’s stock price into a nosedive. Apparently Wall Street and most Netflix subs really don’t like freeloaders. The streamer in September announced that its solution of offering subscribers the ability to add non-paying members to their account for an additional $7.99 monthly fee not only generated incremental revenue, it also spurred 9 million non-members to sign up. The strategy saw Netflix’s lower cost $7.99 ad-supported plan up its membership by 70% in the third quarter.

1. ‘Suits’ Summer Catalog Re-Awakening

When the pipeline for new streaming content slowed this year due to the Hollywood strikes, Netflix and Peacock pulled the re-run card — with spectacular results. The streamers saw subscribers’ loyalties remain strong due in part to older, licensed content, including a former USA Networks legal TV series “Suits.” The show, which ended after nine seasons in 2019, and stars Meghan Markle before she quit acting to marry Prince Harry, regularly generated more than 1 billion viewing minutes each week across its 130-plus episodes through mid-October, according to Nielsen. The success of the show highlighted data from Hub Research that found 64% of viewers said their current favorite streaming show was an older catalog series that had been on for several seasons — up from 54% in 2021.

The 40 Most Important People in Streaming 2023

Who are the 40 most important people in streaming, which has fast become the dominant delivery mechanism for home entertainment?

We first asked that question a year ago. And, after an extensive screening process that began with a call for nominations, a blue-ribbon committee of Media Play News editors and prominent industry insiders whittled down the list of nominees and came up with the final 40.

Our second annual list has quite a few new names, including Amy Reinhard, who is leading Netflix’s push into the ad-supported streaming segment, and Marcien Jenckes, who heads up the Xumo streaming joint venture formed late last year by Comcast and Charter Communications, the two biggest U.S. cable operators. There are also several prominent drop-offs, including Reed Hastings, who effectively retired from Netflix at the start of the year, and Michael Paull, who in April 2023 was replaced by Joe Earley as head of streaming for Disney Entertainment.

We employed the same process this year. And, once again, we want to make it clear to our readers that our definition of “important” is subjective. If we relied solely on revenue and subscriber counts, our honorees would be made up entirely of executives from Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video and the other major streamers. Leaning into the dictionary definition of “important” as “of great significance or consequence,” we also chose to factor in various other attributes, including innovation and creativity, enabling technologies and services, and diversity and inclusion.

The list is not perfect, nor is it complete. It could easily be expanded to 50, 100, even more. But one thing is certain: These 40 executives are key players in the streaming business, which continues to dominate home entertainment and, with two super-charged variants — AVOD and FAST — shows no signs of slowing.

Please join us in congratulating the 40 most important people in streaming, class of 2023! This year’s individual profiles are in alphabetical order.

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Lauren Anderson

Head, AVOD Originals, Unscripted, and Targeted Programming, Amazon Studios

Lauren Anderson

Anderson oversees all programming, including creative development, production, licensing, scheduling, research, and strategy for Amazon Freevee and Prime Video’s ad-supported FAST linear channels. She also recently assumed responsibility for the unscripted programming strategy across all of Studios, including SVOD and AVOD programming. Anderson joined Amazon Studios in 2019 as the Head of Strategic Content, managing such series as the “Savage X Fenty Show” for Prime Video. In 2020, she became co-head of content and programming for IMDb TV (now Freevee). Early accomplishments for Freevee included bringing the iconic Judge Judy Sheindlin to a streaming audience, shepherding Amazon’s first partnership with Dick Wolf and developing the AVOD spinoff of Prime Video’s longest-running series, “Bosch.” Before joining Amazon, Anderson was chief content officer for Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts, the joint venture studio between NBCUniversal and Snapchat. There, she helped launch Snap Originals on the Discover platform, making key contributions to the inaugural slate of programming.

Bela Bajaria 

Chief Content Officer, Netflix

Bela Bajaria

When she took over Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ old job in January 2023, Fortune magazine promptly declared that Bajaria “just became one of the most powerful women in Hollywood.” Fresh off a three-year stint as Netflix’s head of global TV, Bajaria now is the leading streamer’s top content executive, and is learning full well the meaning behind the old showbiz saying, “You’re only as good as your last hit.” The pressure to keep coming up with compelling, watchable content without breaking the bank is immense, and Bajaria is leaning heavily into her TV background, where the quest for hit shows, and high ratings, is constant. Bajaria is looking to meld English-language content and non-English content departments into a unified global team. Prior to joining Netflix in 2016 as head of unscripted programming, Bajaria spent nearly five years as president of Universal Television, the first woman of color to oversee a studio. Earlier, she was SVP of cable programming for CBS TV Studios, and SVP of movies and miniseries for the CBS Network.

Alisa Bowen

President, Disney+, Disney Entertainment

Alisa Bowen

Bowen is charged with scheduling content and driving subscriber and revenue growth for Disney+. She also oversees business operations across Disney+ and Hulu, working closely with Disney Entertainment streaming head Joe Earley. Bowen was named president of Disney+ in September 2022, after heading business operations for Disney Streaming since February 2019. In that role she oversaw global content and business operations for the company’s direct-to-consumer video streaming businesses: Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and Star+. This included cross-functional leadership of Disney+’s global November 2019 launch in 154 markets worldwide. Bowen joined Disney in 2017 as CTO of the company’s international operations, where she led a transformation of Disney’s broadcast channels and content operations and digital publishing across EMEA, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Prior to joining Disney, Bowen held product, digital technology, and general management leadership positions at such major media organizations as Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones and News Corp., in London, New York and Sydney.

Kathryn Busby & Alison Hoffman

President, Original Programming, Starz
President, Domestic Networks, Starz

Alison Hoffman
Kathryn Busby

Busby and Hoffman are responsible for spearheading the Starz streaming platform’s diverse programming committed to narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences. Prior to joining Starz in January 2022, Busby was EVP of Sony’s TriStar Television, where she developed and oversaw such projects as “The Afterparty,” starring Tiffany Haddish and Sam Richardson; a “Malcolm X” series based on the novels X: A Novel and The Awakening of Malcolm X from his daughter Ilyasah Shabazz; and a series based on Kirstin Chen’s crime novel Counterfeit. Busby also served as SVP of development for Sony Pictures Networks, where she developed and produced numerous projects, including “Absentia” — the critically hailed series that aired on Prime Video for three seasons. Hoffman has revenue and operational responsibility for Starz’s retail and wholesale businesses, and oversees key network operations, including distribution, marketing, publicity, product development, analytics and program planning. Hoffman was one of the key executives responsible for launching the Starz app and manages the network’s direct-to-consumer business. She reorganized the business and built performance marketing and analytics departments from the ground up. Additionally, Hoffman works closely with wholesale partners, including Prime Video, Hulu, Roku and Apple, to drive revenue on their platforms.

 

Kelly Campbell

President, Peacock and Direct-to-Consumer, NBCUniversal

Kelly Campbell

Campbell is responsible for growing and elevating NBCUniversal’s streaming business and spearheading strategy. She oversees teams across programming, marketing, product, technology, partnerships, and data sciences that together support NBCU’s direct-to-consumer portfolio. A notable strategy this year involves incorporating Bravo programming, including “Vanderpump Rules,” onto the Peacock service, and offering extended episodes of the show the next day on the streamer. “We’re really establishing a home for the fandom on Peacock,” Campbell said in June at a press interview at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Prior to joining Peacock in October 2021, Campbell was president of Hulu, where she led the SVOD and live-TV streaming businesses. This followed a role as Hulu’s chief marketing officer, where she led the brand’s overall marketing and drove the strategic vision and voice behind the Hulu brand. Before joining Hulu in August 2017, Campbell spent more than a decade at Google in marketing leadership roles across the Google Ads and Google Cloud businesses.

Albert Cheng

VP, Prime Video U.S.

Cheng is the top executive at Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service in the United States. He leads Prime Video’s tentpole programming strategy and consumer insights, in addition to overseeing the platform’s brand strategy, social influencer marketing, marketing operations, media and audience insights. Cheng is also responsible for customer acquisition, retention and engagement across SVOD, AVOD and Marketplace. Prior to assuming his present position in September 2022, Cheng served for seven years as COO at Amazon Studios. Prior to joining Amazon, Cheng spent 15 years as an executive with The Walt Disney Co., including stints as EVP of digital media and chief product officer for the Disney/ABC Television Group. During that time, Cheng and his team won four Primetime Emmy Awards, and were the first to put TV episodes on Apple iTunes in 2005, stream broadcast shows online in 2006, stream in HD in 2007, launch an iPad app in 2010, and offer live broadcast network feeds in 2013.

Dan Cohen

Chief Content Licensing Officer, Paramount Global

Dan Cohen

Cohen is charged with monetizing a large and growing portfolio of original content that airs or streams on the CBS Television Network, The CW, Paramount+ and Showtime, as well as programming from Paramount Pictures, Paramount Television Studios, CBS Studios, CBS News, CBS Media Ventures, the MTV Entertainment Studios, Nickelodeon, VIS, Miramax and third-party partners. He also oversees worldwide home entertainment. Cohen assumed leadership of the division following his role as president of global content licensing for what was then ViacomCBS. Previously, he was president of worldwide home entertainment and television distribution for Paramount Pictures. Prior to joining Paramount in 2017, Cohen spent 20 years at Disney/ABC, most recently as EVP of pay-television and digital sales for home entertainment and television distribution for the Walt Disney Studios. Cohen was also responsible for securing two of the most significant pay-television deals in history — Netflix in 2012 and Starz in 1999 — negotiating exclusive, multiyear deals and licensing agreements.

Charlie Collier

President, Roku Media

Collier joined Roku in October 2022, and continues to rejigger the CE manufacturer/AVOD/FAST content distributor. Collier recently promoted Alison Levin to VP of global media revenue, and Kristina Shepard to VP of global advertising sales and partnerships. He also expanded David Eilenberg’s responsibilities to include overseeing original content such as the “This Old House” DIY franchise, and appointed Joe Franzetta to oversee Roku’s foray into sports. An industry veteran with more than 25 years of media experience, Collier’s career began in advertising sales and evolved into programming, strategy and digital. Prior to joining Roku, Collier served as CEO of Fox Entertainment, where he was responsible for entertainment and business strategy. Prior to joining Fox, Collier was president and GM of AMC Networks, SundanceTV and AMC Studios, overseeing the creative and business operations of all three divisions and launching such award-winning series as “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead.” Collier previously held leadership and sales roles at Court TV, Oxygen Media, A+E Networks and TeleRep.

Kelly Day

VP, International, Prime Video

Kelly Day

Day leads Prime Video’s SVOD, TVOD, and Channels businesses in all locales outside the United States. Overseeing a team of regional and country managers around the world, Day drives the content strategies, greenlights, and launches of Amazon Original movies and series internationally. Prior to joining Amazon in 2022 Day served as president of streaming for ViacomCBS Networks International (now Paramount Global), where she was responsible for the international rollout and growth of Paramount+ and Pluto. Before that, she served as chief operating officer for ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI), overseeing strategy and operations, business and legal affairs, finance and business intelligence, ad sales, and location-based entertainment and events across 100+ markets. Day’s previous roles include president of Viacom Digital Studios (VDS), chief digital officer, and then chief business officer of AwesomenessTV; CEO of venture-backed Blip Networks, which she later sold to Maker Studios, one of the top YouTube Multichannel Networks; and various roles at Discovery Communications, The Knot and AOL.

Cameron Douglas

SVP of OTT/Streaming, Fandango Media

Douglas was promoted into his current position in August 2023 and is charged with future enhancements to Fandango’s growing streaming portfolio. As he did in his previous role, VP of home entertainment, Douglas also oversees the movie-ticketing company’s digital retail operation, Vudu. A Stanford University graduate, Douglas began his career holding various analytics and marketing roles at Disney, Fox, DreamWorks and Paramount. He moved into the digital entertainment space in 2013 as SVP of content for M-GO, which three years later was acquired by Fandango and rebranded FandangoNow. In 2020 Fandango bought Walmart’s digital movie service, Vudu, and merged it with FandangoNow. Since then, Vudu has become the No. 3 player in the competitive transactional space as well as a growing contender in the AVOD arena. In 2018, Douglas was elected chairman of OTT.X, the trade group for the streaming industry.

Andrea Downing 

President, PBS Distribution 

Andrea Downing

Downing brought PBS Distribution into the streaming era — with enviable results. Over the past seven years, she and her team have launched six subscription streaming channels on Amazon’s Prime Video Channels; brought to market five FAST channels, including “Julia Child,” “PBS Antiques Roadshow,” “Arthur” and “PBS Food”; and struck AVOD deals with several major streaming platforms, among them Roku, Pluto TV and YouTube. When PBS Distribution was established in 2009 as a joint venture between PBS and GBH, the bulk of its revenue came from DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales. Today, Downing maintains, more than 90% of revenue comes from streaming. Even before streaming’s fast rise during the pandemic, Downing was partial to multi-platform releases with big PBS titles, including Ken Burns documentaries, available the same day on disc, through digital retailers and on streaming channels. “It has always been critical for us to anticipate and evolve with the market, so we can meet viewers where they are, regardless of platform,” she says.

Joe Earley

President, Direct-to-Consumer, Disney Entertainment

Joe Earley

Earley replaced Michael Paull as head of streaming for Disney Entertainment in April 2023, less than two years after he was named president of Hulu. He oversees Disney’s streaming platforms and the teams responsible for data and insights, content acquisition, programming and operations. This year, Disney+ and Hulu earned a combined 104 Emmy nominations.  Earley joined Disney in January 2019 to help guide the launch of Disney+, which went live in November of that year. As EVP of marketing and operations, he was responsible for global brand, acquisition and engagement marketing, programming, and content curation for both Disney+ and Star. Prior to joining Disney, Earley spent three years as president of the Jackal Group, where he headed up the company’s film, TV, digital and commercial theater divisions. Before that, he enjoyed a two-decade run at 20th Century Fox, most recently serving as COO for the Fox Television Group.

Michele Edelman

Head of Growth, Premiere Digital

Michele Edelman

Edelman is one of the streaming industry’s key supply chain enablers. Since joining Premiere Digital in 2019, she has helped grow the company into one of the primary media services and technology vendors in the distribution space and broaden its focus into all aspects of digital distribution, including AVOD, SVOD and TVOD. Clients include all the major studios and streamers, as well as a growing number of digital distribution platforms. Even before joining Premiere, Edelman was a prime mover in the digital supply chain. During her more than 20 years at Warner Bros., she pushed the company toward digital distribution even as the focus was on DVD. She later headed strategy at content services provider Vubiquity. “I was born into the supply chain — literally,” she says, noting that as a child her family business was manufacturing link chains for industrial, security and decorative purposes.

Jamie Erlicht & Zack Van Amburg

Heads, Worldwide Video, Apple

Zack Van Amburg
Jamie Erlicht

Erlicht and Van Amburg jointly lead Apple TV+, which in the four years since its November 2019 launch has grown from a SVOD also-ran into a viable contender in the high-stakes competition for coveted content. Most recently, the duo was responsible in part for restoring Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon period movie from Paramount Pictures’ shelf and onto the big screen. The movie co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro in a drama involving unsolved murders on the Osage Nation Indian reservation in Northern Oklahoma. After 12 years as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Television, Erlicht and Van Amburg moved to Apple in 2017 to prepare for the launch of Apple TV+. After a slow start, Apple TV+ gained steam with originals and in 2021 became the first streamer to win the Best Picture Academy Award with CODA, which Apple acquired for a record $25 million. Apple TV+ snapped up that prize in only its second year in the film business, besting veterans such as Netflix and Prime Video. Apple TV+ continues to bridge the content divide with rivals, re-upping favorites “The Morning Show,” “Ted Lasso” and “See,” and releasing myriad new shows, including “Lessons in Chemistry” with Brie Larson, the kids-centric “Jane,” and the sci-fi thriller “Silo.”

 

Danny Fisher

Co-Founder and CEO, FilmRise

Danny Fisher

Fisher heads the largest provider of content in the AVOD/FAST space. A pioneer of the ad-supported model now embraced by Netflix, Disney+ and the other major streamers, Fisher helped fuel the growth of AVOD and, more recently, the proliferation of FAST channels. A veteran film and television producer, financier and distributor, Fisher co-founded FilmRise in 2012 and developed a proprietary data analytics methodology that measures viewer demand for content. This development led to a decade of soaring and strategic growth, with tens of thousands of FilmRise titles now streaming all over the world, including on more than 250 FilmRise FAST channels. FilmRise releases content to Prime Video, The Roku Channel, Peacock, Pluto TV, Freevee, Tubi, Samsung, Vizio and many more, with over 40,000 hours of content in its library. Fisher also created the FilmRise streaming network, one of the largest independently owned AVOD services. Prior to launching FilmRise, Fisher ran City Lights Media Group, a film and television production and distribution company.

Mark Fisher

President and CEO, OTT.X

Mark Fisher

Fisher heads the streaming industry’s trade association, with more than 120 member companies. He has been at the helm of OTT.X since it evolved nearly four years ago out of the Entertainment Merchants Association, which he had headed since 2012. Under Fisher’s direction, OTT.X has more than doubled its membership and launched an affiliate program that now includes five universities. OTT.X stages two annual tentpole events, the X-Fronts in May and the OTT.X Summit in the early fall, each attracting upwards of 600 attendees from all sectors in the streaming business — SVOD, AVOD, FAST, market research, and technology. OTT.X also hosts smaller networking events nearly every month in Los Angeles, New York City, Las Vegas, and Miami to bring its members together to collaborate and share knowledge and insights. Fisher joined what was then the Video Software Dealers Association in 1999 as VP of Membership and Strategic Initiatives and saw the organization evolve into EMA and, ultimately, OTT.X.

Larry Fitzgibbon

Co-Founder and CEO, Tastemade

Larry Fitzgibbon

Fitzgibbon is responsible for propelling Tastemade into an immensely popular global video platform reaching an audience of more than 250 million monthly viewers. Tastemade has built a growing global community around its programming in food, travel, and home and design, which appears on all major digital, mobile, streaming OTT, and linear television platforms. Tastemade’s streaming now reaches viewers in more than 50 countries and 220 million homes worldwide. In 2023, Tastemade will program 300+ hours of new shows. Fitzgibbon was instrumental in raising more than $130 million in venture capital, and spearheaded Tastemade’s recent multimillion-dollar, multiyear partnership with Constellation Brands to launch a first-of-its-kind content studio that creates and distributes social and streaming content. The partnership’s first show, “Street Somm,” is now streaming. Before Tastemade, Fitzgibbon was a part of Demand Media’s founding team. Under his management, the company’s portfolio of media properties grew to a worldwide audience of more than 140 million unique visitors.

Garson Foos

CEO and Founder, Shout! Studios

Garson Foos

Under Foos’ leadership, Shout! Studios has successfully adapted to the evolving entertainment landscape and transformed from its physical media roots into a multifaceted business — streaming, digital media, libraries, and producer of new content. A key area is content licensing and digital distribution, particularly in the realm of streaming and digital media. Shout! Studios has been recognized by the industry for revitalizing cult and classic film and TV series on various viewing platforms. Today, digital streaming — TVOD, SVOD, AVOD and FAST — has become a well-established business for Shout!, especially for cult and classic film and TV libraries. Since 2015, Shout!’s digital entertainment streaming service Shout! TV has brought timeless and contemporary cult favorites to pop culture fans. Shout! TV offers a blend of original programming, movies and series curated from major studios, independent producers, and its own entertainment library. In recent years, Shout! has also emerged as a leading distributor of top anime and animation content.

Mark Garner

EVP and Head of Global FAST Channels, A+E Networks

Mark Garner

Garner is the point man for A+E Networks’ big push into FAST. The A+E vet in September was appointed to the newly created position and is charged with accelerating the company’s FAST business internationally and extending its reach in the U.S. market. A+E ventured into FAST in 2018 with the History Shorts channel and now has more than 20 FAST channels focused on lifestyle, competition, true crime and movies. Garner previously was EVP of global content sales and business development for A+E Networks, a role in which he led the charge to position A+E Networks as an essential partner for streamers. He guided the company’s early adoption of FAST while continuing to grow and monetize A+E’s footprint across AVOD and SVOD platforms. Before joining A+E Networks in 2007, Garner worked as an executive at several start-up ventures, including a satellite broadcast network based in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he successfully built the network’s distribution to 22 sub-Saharan countries.

Devin Griffin

EVP and GM, BET+

Devin Griffin

Griffin heads the top streamer serving the African-American audience. BET+ has more than 2,000 hours of content, including new original programming and fan-favorite series, movies and specials from BET Networks and a host of leading African-American content creators, including Tyler Perry. Griffin manages BET+’s P&Ls and oversees business strategy and operations, including original programming, content acquisitions, marketing, distribution, planning and analysis. Prior to joining BET+ in 2019, Griffin was a producer and EVP at Story Lab U.S., where he co-founded and led the company’s foray into premium long-form content development. Previously, he held various senior content roles at Netflix. He formed and led the company’s unscripted group, commissioning and/or executive producing more than 40 series, including the Emmy Award-winning “Queer Eye” and the Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance. He also worked extensively on scripted drama, comedy, sci-fi and anime. Earlier in his career Griffin was head of business development at Broadway Video, Lorne Michaels’ production company.

Carol Hanley

CEO, Whip Media

Carol Hanley

Hanley was named CEO of Whip Media, a leading enterprise software platform and data provider to the world’s largest entertainment organizations, in June 2023, after two years as president. She joined the company in 2017 as chief revenue and strategy officer and has since overseen the development of new content measurement solutions that combine viewership consumption data with financial information to help streamers, broadcasters and studios track content performance and guide future licensing decisions. Under her leadership, Whip Media acquired Mediamorph, with a platform that powered more than two-thirds of all global digital transactional revenue for the film and television industries, and the TV and movie metadata platform TheTVDB. Today, Whip Media plays a key role in the content distribution and acquisition ecosystem, managing trillions of global VOD and digital sellthrough transactions annually and millions of avails for major content providers and distributors globally. Before Whip Media, Hanley was chief revenue officer of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group. Before that, she spent 15 years as EVP, chief revenue and chief marketing officer at Nielsen Audio.

Mike Hopkins

SVP, Prime Video, MGM and Amazon Studios

Mike Hopkins

Hopkins has been overseeing all aspects of Amazon’s video entertainment businesses since joining the e-commerce giant in 2020. He previously served as chairman of Sony Pictures Television, overseeing the venerable studio’s prodigious episodic programming production facility to third-party distributors around the world. Prior to joining Sony, Hopkins headed Hulu as CEO. With more than 30 years of media experience and an extensive track record of developing and producing innovative TV content, Hopkins was key to the development of Hulu after joining the streamer in 2013. He helped quintuple the service’s market valuation, growing its streaming audience to more than 47 million, while greenlighting the platform’s initial original programming slate, which includes Emmy-winning “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Mindy Project,” “Castle Rock” and “Marvel’s Runaways,” among others. Under Hopkins’ leadership at Hulu, the streamer transitioned into the pay-TV market with Hulu + Live TV featuring live sports, weather and news, on top of its legacy SVOD business.  

Keith Le Goy

Chairman, Worldwide Networks & Distribution, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Keith Le Goy

Le Goy oversees the physical and digital distribution of television and home entertainment content to all media and retail platforms, as well as Sony Pictures Television’s direct-to-consumer properties — including anime service Crunchyroll. The fast-growing platform, which has more than 12 million subscribers, recently announced an agreement with Prime Video to carry the service and launched a 24/7 anime channel on Amazon Freevee, LG Channels, the Roku Channel and Vizio WatchFree+. Le Goy is also behind numerous lucrative content deals with Netflix and Disney, as well as the extension of a Central Eastern European pact with Warner Bros. Discovery and international sales of SPT titles including Twisted Metal, which is based on the classic PlayStation game. Prior to being appointed to his present position in April 2021, Le Goy was president of worldwide distribution for SPT before expanding his role in 2018 to include oversight of home entertainment and networks. He joined SPT in 1999 as SVP of European distribution, and later took charge of distribution in Latin America.           

Adam Lewinson

Chief Content Officer, Tubi

Adam Lewinson

Under Lewinson’s direction, Fox Entertainment’s free ad-supported Tubi streaming platform increased viewership in fiscal 2023 by 79% to more than 74 million monthly viewers, making it the No. 1 AVOD platform in the country. The platform in September generated 1.3% total TV market share, ahead of both Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platforms, according to Nielsen. To get there, Lewinson, who oversees content strategy, acquisitions and original content development and production, expedited the release of original content from myriad producers, including “The Freak Brothers” with Pete Davidson, “Hot Take: The Depp/Heard Trial” and the recent remake of “Terror Train,” among others. Before joining Tubi in 2017, Lewinson was SVP of programming/marketing at Sony Pictures Television and the AVOD platform Crackle. He was instrumental in the launch of Crackle’s original series and movies. He was also the programming executive on Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Before joining Sony in 2015, Lewinson spent more than a decade at FX Networks.

Rodrigo Mazon

EVP and Chief Content Officer, ViX

Rodrigo Mazon

Mazon oversees content at ViX, Spanish-language media giant TelevisaUnivision’s fast-growing streaming service, which launched in July 2022 with more than 10,000 hours of content and plans to stream more than 70 ViX original series and films in its first year. He was promoted to EVP and chief content officer of ViX in January 2023, less than two years after he joined Univision as EVP and GM of SVOD, a role in which he was tasked with launching the new streamer after Univision completed its merger with Televisa. In his new role, Mazon’s mandate is to focus on AVOD as well as SVOD. Since his promotion, ViX has struck distribution deals with Roku and Samsung and, in October, reported more than 40 million monthly average viewers. Prior to joining TelevisaUnivision, Mazon spent six years at Netflix, most recently as VP of content, where he was responsible for such hit shows as “Money Heist” (“La Casa de Papel”) and “El Chapo.” Before joining Netflix, Mazon was director of content at Hulu, where he launched Hulu Latino.  

Will McIntosh

President, Fandango Media and NBC Sports Next

Will McIntosh

McIntosh oversees some of the largest technology platforms in sports and entertainment. He leads several streaming businesses for NBCUniversal, including on-demand video service Vudu; golf instructional OTT channel GolfPass; and SportsEngine Play, the newly released streaming service for youth and amateur sports. Since McIntosh took the helm of Vudu in 2022, the service has seen double-digit growth year-over-year. Over the past year Vudu has become the streaming destination for AMC Theatres on Demand and has grown its library to 250,000 movies and TV shows. Under McIntosh, NBC Sports Next — a subdivision of NBC Sports and home to all NBCUniversal digital applications in sports and technology — launched SportsEngine Play, a streaming platform serving 60 million participants in youth sports. In addition to capturing and viewing live and on-demand video of sporting events, the service offers editing tools for highlight reels and player development videos from world-class athletes such as Michael Phelps, Shaun White and more.

Bill Neighbors & Geir Skaaden

Chief Content Officer;
Chief Products and Services Officer;
Xperi Inc.

Geir Skaaden
Bill Neighbors

Neighbors and Skaaden are the content and product visionaries at entertainment technology giant Xperi. Neighbors oversees the group charged with gaining access to and delivering entertainment content across all Xperi platforms inclusive of homes, connected cars, mobile devices and cinemas. Most recently, Neighbors and his team have signed multiple partners to Xperi’s independent media platforms, which power smart-TVs and connected car video streaming services. Neighbors has worked in the entertainment technology industry for more than 30 years spanning the music, TV and motion picture sectors, including his role as a foundational leader at DTS in 1993. Skaaden is responsible for product strategy at Xperi and developing the company’s roadmap across its key segments: pay-TV, connected car, media platforms and consumer electronics. Skaaden’s vision is to bring the best of Xperi’s brands (DTS, TiVo, HD Radio and Imax Enhanced) to life with an independent media platform that allows content to flow freely across environments. His goal is to make sure consumers can have an “always on, intelligent, anytime, anywhere, on any device, informed” experience, whether it’s music, movies, video games or any kind of content. Before joining Xperi, Skaaden served as the CEO of Neural Audio Corp., which was acquired by DTS in 2008.

Scott Olechowski

Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Plex

Scott Olechowskidsw

Olechowski is responsible for product strategy, product management, and business development for free live-TV streaming service Plex’s software and services. A pioneer in streaming media, Olechowski co-founded Plex as a hobby with the intent of making organizing and accessing digital media easy and seamless. Today, Plex is available in 180 countries and is considered among the most comprehensive entertainment platforms available, serving as a one-stop destination to discover, assemble a watchlist, and stream almost every movie and TV show. Over the past 25 years Olechowski has applied his entrepreneurial know-how and spirit to a number of software- and internet-focused start-ups. His professional experience includes executive positions in product strategy, business development, marketing, and international sales for a number of established brands such as Cisco, PostX and IronPort. He is an expert in cryptography with six issued encryption and authentication patents.

Erick Opeka

President and Chief Strategy Officer, Cineverse

Erick Opeka

A prominent strategist in the streaming industry, Opeka added the title of president, while continuing his role as chief strategy officer, this past May when the company rebranded from Cinedigm. He spearheads the company’s strategic initiatives as well as its merger and acquisitions efforts, and oversees its portfolio of more than two dozen SVOD, AVOD and FAST channels — most recently expanding an ad-based deal to include FAST-focused content with The Preview Channel. With eight acquisitions in the past two years, Opeka is now focused on Terrifier 2, the sequel to a low-budget horror film that was a surprise box office hit and helped drive subscriptions to the company’s proprietary ScreamBox platform. The concurrent theatrical/SVOD strategy underscores Opeka’s desire to pull on as many distribution levers as possible to maximize content revenue opportunities. Prior to becoming chief strategy officer in January 2021, Opeka was president of Digital Networks, heading up planning, development, launch and operations of a roster of digital channels.

Jim Packer

President of Worldwide Television Distribution, Lionsgate

Jim Packer

Packer oversees the distribution, licensing and marketing of Lionsgate’s 40 to 50 feature films annually, as well as its television slate, deep roster of Starz original programming, and 18,000-title film and television library to hundreds of broadcast, cable, SVOD, AVOD and FAST platforms worldwide. He has spearheaded the studio’s efforts to grow its billion-dollar global distribution business, securing distribution rights to leading third-party properties such as Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and Jackie Brown, the global phenomenon “The Chosen,” and ABC’s hit series “The Conners.” He also signed licensing deals for the John Wick prequel series “The Continental” at Amazon’s Prime Video and Peacock, where it recently became the platform’s biggest original launch of the year. In addition, Packer led his team to develop Lionsgate’s robust FAST channel lineup that includes MovieSphere, HerSphere, OuterSphere and Ebony TV as well as single IP channels such as Nashville and Ghost Hunters.

Jean-Briac “JB” Perrette

President, CEO Global Streaming and Games, Warner Bros. Discovery

JB Perrette

Perrette was behind the rollout this past May of the revised Max streaming platform, which combined HBO Max with Discovery+ content into a unified digital product. Key to the success of the new Max is Perrette’s push for expedited streaming access to theatrical releases, including The Batman in 2022, Dune in 2021 and Barbie this year. “We expect Barbie to do incredibly well,” Perrette said on WBD’s most recent fiscal call. “[Theatrical] continues to be an incredibly important part of the SVOD business.” Separately, Perrette oversees Warner Bros. Discovery’s gaming and interactive entertainment business. Perrette previously served as president and CEO of Discovery Streaming and International. Prior to joining Discovery in 2011 as chief digital officer, he spent 11 years with NBCUniversal, ultimately serving as president of digital and affiliate distribution. During that time, he played a leadership role in creating and developing Hulu, including serving on its board for several years. 

Mike Pears

EVP, Distribution, AMC Networks

Mike Pears

Pears has been busy inking third-party digital distribution deals for AMC Networks’ portfolio of streaming assets, including British-themed Acorn TV, ALLBLK (formerly the Urban Movie Channel), the horror- themed Shudder, AMC+, WEtv, and Sundance Now, among others. In addition to securing foreign licensed content for distribution in the United States, Pears in September signed a distribution deal affording UKTV and BBC Studios with the U.K. and Benelux rights to a number of shows from AMC Networks, including “Mrs. Sidhu Investigates,” “Darby and Joan” season one, “Signora Volpe” season one, and “Whitstable Pearl” seasons one and two for companies’ ad-supported free-to-air channel drama and free streaming service UKTV Play; “Dark Winds” for crime channel Alibi; and Acorn TV’s “The South Westerlies” on UKTV Play. “Both in the U.S. and around the world, we want to make our shows available on a wide variety of platforms, to find new viewers and build awareness of the high-quality content that continues to define our company,” Pears said.

Colin Petrie-Norris & Marcien Jenckes

Chief Revenue Officer and Platform Officer;
President;
Xumo

Marcien Jenckes
Colin Petrie-Norris

As CEO of the old Xumo, Petrie-Norris successfully partnered with the world’s largest television OEMs to revolutionize the way TVs are programmed. With traditional linear TV viewership declining, he recognized the need to change things up. As a result, he spearheaded an initiative that combined linear TV with over-the-top (OTT) content, creating a streaming-centric viewing experience. Petrie-Norris is now chief revenue officer and platform officer for the revamped Xumo, a newly formed joint venture between Comcast and Charter aimed at consolidating consumers’ access points to third-party streaming video platforms. His extensive background establishing and building digital advertising networks afforded him an inside track on how each partner in the joint venture can best monetize digital content. As president of the new Xumo, Jenckes oversees all aspects of the joint venture, including product direction, distribution and market plans, content strategy, and monetization models. Concurrently, he serves as managing director of Comcast Advertising, including Effectv, Comcast Cable’s ad sales division, and FreeWheel, a technology platform connecting buyers and sellers. Prior to taking on these roles, Jenckes served as the president of Comcast Advertising. Before that, he was EVP of Comcast’s consumer services division, overseeing the company’s residential lines of business, including Xfinity Video, Xfinity Internet, Xfinity Home and Xfinity Voice.

Ryan Pirozzi

Head, Amazon Freevee

Ryan Pirozzi

Pirozzi has overseen a rash of content deals this past year for Freevee, Amazon’s free, ad-supported streaming service, which was launched in 2019 as IMDb TV and rebranded to Amazon Freevee in April 2022. Most recently, the service added three lifestyle FAST/live TV channels from All3Media International: “Gardening With Monty Don,” a channel for the cooking competition series “Great British Menu,” and “Fifth Gear,” about automobiles. Pirozzi, who was promoted into his present position in August 2022 after two years as co-head of content and programming, has spearheaded two international launches in the United Kingdom and Germany, Freevee’s first Emmy nominations, and the app’s expansion across household televisions and mobile devices. He also gets credit for securing exclusive streaming-window film deals with major studios such as Disney and NBCUniversal. Prior to joining Freevee, Pirozzi was head of worldwide television and film licensing for Amazon’s Prime Video. Before joining Amazon in 2011, Pirozzi spent seven years at Best Buy, where he led several store categories, including physical and digital video.

Katherine Pond

Group VP, Platform Content and Partnerships, Vizio

Katherine Pond

Pond heads distribution, content acquisition, programming, platform partnerships, and marketing at Vizio, the CE brand that has embraced streaming more fervently than any of its competitors. Since joining the Irvine, Calif.-based company in 2012, Pond has initiated, negotiated, and closed deals across content distribution and acquisition, IP, advertising, and data verticals. She leads the teams responsible for closing deals with Amazon, Apple, Disney, Google, Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery, Sony and more. She also has been instrumental in monetizing new lines of business, including Vizio’s ad-supported WatchFree+ streaming platform. In addition to wearing myriad corporate hats, Pond is passionate about the development and success of future generations, co-founding Vizio’s Ascend Women’s Network. She has received honors including Stream TV Top Executive in Content Distribution (Finalist, 2023), Media Play News’ 40 Under 40 in Home Entertainment (2022) and Women Captains of Home Entertainment (2023), and Next TV’s The Watch List 2020.  

Amy Reinhard

President, Ads, Netflix

Amy Reinhard

Reinhard is driving Netflix’s push into the ad-supported streaming market. She was given the assignment in October 2023, replacing Jeremi Gorman, who, in just a year on the job, orchestrated the November 2022 launch of Netflix’s ad-supported tier. Citing Reinhard’s seven-year tenure at Netflix, co-CEO Greg Peters said the executive had proved to be an exceptionally strong leader, with a deep understanding of the entertainment business and consumer tastes as well as the ability to build lasting partnerships across the industry. “These skills, in particular her strength in TV and film, are critical for the success of our ads business,” Peters said. Reinhard, who previously headed studio operations, joined Netflix in 2016 as a VP of content acquisition after 10 years at Paramount Pictures. There, she oversaw the global licensing of movies and TV shows, in addition to local-language content acquisitions across Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India. Reinhard also spearheaded studio productions and facilities management, among other responsibilities.

William J. Rouhana Jr. & Philippe Guelton

Chairman and CEO;
Chief Revenue Officer;
Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment

Philippe Guelton
Bill Rouhana

Rouhana and Guelton are the powers behind Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, the biggest AVOD network not owned by a major media or tech firm. Rouhana is a former cable exec who realized early on that the subscription streaming model is not sustainable because of its reliance on a single revenue stream — hence, his early push into the ad-supported sector that all the other streamers are jumping into. Guelton is charged with making Rouhana’s vision of multiple revenue streams happen. Earlier this year CSSE launched Crackle Connex, an advertising sales platform designed to simplify the buying process for marketers with consistent measurement and performance tracking. Crackle Connex recently cut a deal with TransUnion to help it develop custom audiences from first-party viewership data and retarget viewers of connected-TV campaigns at Redbox kiosks nationwide. Both Rouhana and Guelton have impressive backgrounds: Rouhana was the founder and CEO of Winstar Communications, a wireless broadband pioneer, and Winstar New Media, one of the earliest online content companies. Guelton prior to joining CSSE in 2019 was CEO of SheKnows Media (now She Media), a digital media company acquired by Penske Media Corp. in 2018. Previously, Guelton served as president of Thrillist Media Group, a leading men’s lifestyle digital brand now part of GroupNine.

Tom Ryan & Jeff Shultz

President and CEO, Streaming, Paramount Global
Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Business Development Officer, Paramount Streaming

Jeff Shultz
Tom Ryan

With Ryan at the helm, Paramount+ has seen considerable growth in 2023, with revenue up 61% year-over-year and the global subscriber count reaching 63 million through September 2023. In June 2023 Ryan expanded the Paramount+ offering with the integration of Showtime. He also orchestrated the November Paramount+ rollouts in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico. Shultz in January helped drive a deal with Delta Air Lines, giving all Delta SkyMiles members free access to Wi-Fi and Paramount+ on Delta domestic flights. In June, Shultz helped forge a partnership with Verizon+Play, which combined the Paramount+ with Showtime offering with Netflix, the first time two major streamers were offered in a bundle together. That pact is the latest in a string of global deals Shultz has been involved with, including partnering with Walmart and its Walmart+ membership platform and making Paramount+ available to Sky TV customers with Sky Cinema at no extra cost. Shultz joined Viacom (now Paramount Global) in 2019, as part of its acquisition of Pluto TV, where he was the chief business officer, reporting to Ryan. Viacom acquired Pluto for $340 million in 2019 and both men came aboard as part of the deal.

Ted Sarandos & Greg Peters

Co-CEOs, Netflix

Greg Peters
Ted Sarandos

Sarandos has spent much of the year as Netflix’s public face on the Hollywood work stoppages. The product of a union household growing up in suburban Phoenix, Sarandos has attempted to straddle the political fence between studios/content producers and non-celebrity working actors who help make Netflix’s programming a reality. In doing so, he has upped his industry profile, offering tough rebuttals to actors’ demands for revenue sharing on streaming subscribers, but also helping bring both sides back to the bargaining table in hopes of ending the strike. Sarandos, a former video retailer, joined Netflix in its infancy and helped grow the company alongside co-founder Reed Hastings, who in July 2020 appointed his longtime content czar co-CEO. Peters in January 2023 was elevated into the same post after Hastings stepped down and became executive chairman. Peters’ job has been to solidify Netflix’s move toward ad-supported streaming, and re-upping excommunicated password freeloaders now mandated with either getting their own subscription or paying a $7.99 monthly fee to continue sharing an existing third-party account. Peters, who speaks five languages, joined the streamer in 2008 and as international development officer helped launch Netflix in Japan. In July 2017 Peters became chief product officer, and in 2020, chief operating officer.

Srinivasan KA

Co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer, Amagi

Srinivasan KA

A technology entrepreneur, Srini leads Amagi’s foray into the CTV-led FAST revolution, enabling content owners and broadcasters to create, distribute and monetize live linear FAST channels. Under Srini’s leadership, Amagi has built deep technical integration with upwards of 50 FAST platforms. Amagi has a market share of more than 25% among unique U.S. FAST channels and supports more than 700 content brands with 3,800-plus channel deliveries. Its customers include NBCUniversal, ABS-CBN, Accuweather, Blue Ant Media, CNN, Gannett and the NFL. The company has doubled in size over the past three years, and has attracted marquee SaaS investors such as Accel, Norwest, Avataar, General Atlantic and Premji Invest. Last year, the company achieved unicorn status, making it one of the highest-valued media tech companies in the world. Srini is a technology entrepreneur with nearly a quarter of a century of experience in establishing and successfully scaling businesses. Before co-founding Amagi in 2008, Srini co-founded wireless audio company ImpulseSoft. He began his career at Texas Instruments as a software engineer.

Women in Home Entertainment 2023: Meet the Captains and See What They Have to Say

Welcome to Media Play News’ sixth annual Women in Home Entertainment issue.

As we have done since we launched this annual salute, we are leading off with a special spotlight on the top “captains” who are driving the industry, from top streaming executives such as Bela Bajaria, Alisa Bowen and Kelly Campbell, to transactional home entertainment marketing gurus such as Lexine Wong, Michele Bell and Hilary Hoffman.

We have once again expanded our list of “captains,” adding two new positions for women leaders who are driving content on the consumer electronics side: Katherine Pond of Vizio and Sarah Larsen of Samsung.

And, as always, we have a handful of newcomers on the list: Bowen, president of Disney+; Jennie Baird, EVP and managing director of global digital news and streaming at BBC; and Flory Bramnick, who as EVP of North America distribution for Sony Pictures Entertainment oversees the licensing of Sony Pictures’ films and television series across all distribution platforms in the United States and Canada.

While their duties vary, the one thing all these women executives have in common is the pivotal role they play in the film and TV show distribution chain — bringing entertainment into consumer homes across all the various channels and platforms that now make up what we call home entertainment.

Let’s meet the 2023 Women in Home Entertainment “captains” and see what they have to say.

SEE ALSO: WOMEN IN HOME ENTERTAINMENT 2023 — THE TEAMS

THE CAPTAINS OF HOME ENTERTAINMENT:

Jennie Baird

EVP and Managing Director, Digital News and Streaming
BBC Studios

Jennie Baird

A digital media trailblazer, Baird throughout her career has driven growth and innovation for some of the industry’s most successful digital brands. At BBC Studios, Baird leads the development of the company’s vision and investment plans to continue driving growth and audiences for the BBC’s digital news products around the globe. This includes BBC Studios’ direct-to-consumer documentary service, BBC Select, and BBC Podcasts. Before joining BBC Studios in February 2022, Baird served as SVP and global head of product at News Corp. There, she was responsible for developing digital solutions for Dow Jones, News UK, News Corp Australia, New York Post, Storyful, Realtor.com, Foxtel and HarperCollins Publishers. Prior to that she held various roles at a number of large-scale digital businesses, including AOL, iVillage, and Entertainment Weekly. Earlier in her career, she was instrumental in bringing the pioneering and award-winning website SmartMoney.com to market in the mid-1990s. She also co-founded the cult baby name website BabyNameWizard.com, exiting with a sale to CafeMedia.

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role?

I came up in technology in a time when all the senior leaders were men. In fact, in my first real people leader role, I was the only female manager at the company — and the one woman on my team was the only woman in the company who reported to a female manager. I was 28 years old, but my boss’s boss, who was the CEO of our company (and is now the CEO of Hearst Corporation), made a special effort to check in with me on a regular basis. He asked me tough questions and valued my perspective on the challenges our business faced and the opportunities ahead. He took me seriously and his confidence in me gave me confidence in me. I had a real inside view of the male leaders around me and I thought — OK, I think I could do that!

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

It’s maybe the most valuable lesson in life — things change all the time. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. Things you thought were permanent turn out to be fleeting. We need to always be learning, to be open to change, and to embrace new ideas and ways of doing things when appropriate. We need to be OK with being wrong and learning from our mistakes. But one thing that doesn’t change is that people are at the heart of our businesses — audiences, of course, but the people we work with, too. While many of us may leave an impact with the actual work we produce, the great majority of us leave an impact by the people we touch — individuals we mentor (or are mentored by), inspire, treat with respect, have true connections with and stay in touch with throughout our careers.

What do you look for when hiring someone?

Most of my career has centered on solving new problems, inventing new products or businesses, so when I interview candidates, I like to hear these five magic words: “I just figured it out.”

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members?

While the crux of my job is about articulating and driving a vision, I like to get my hands dirty, to take the time to dig into details, to understand how things work, to really listen to the people on my team. Learning from them keeps my mind nimble, and it also allows me to provide informed decision-making, challenge assumptions, and make suggestions. And though I have a very high standard and am direct with feedback, I am also generous with compliments. At BBC Studios, we are committed to maintaining an inclusive workplace culture that empowers everyone to be their best selves and do their best work. And people do their best work when they feel competent and confident, when they know that making an effort will be noticed and appreciated.

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

I’ve always thought that if I hadn’t stumbled into this field, I might have been a long-haul trucker. (Though the career test I took when I dropped out of my Ph.D. program in my early 20s scored me highest for “electrician” or “naval officer.” I’m old enough that there was no “internet” or “digital media” then.)

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Bela Bajaria 

Chief Content Officer
Netflix

Bela Bajaria

Bajaria was appointed to Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ old job in January 2023. Fortune magazine at the time said that with the promotion, Bajaria “just became one of the most powerful women in Hollywood.” Born in London to Indian parents, Bajaria previously served for nearly three years as Netflix’s Head of global TV, leading the teams for all of television and responsible for such hit series as “Squid Game,” “Stranger Things,” “Wednesday,” “Bridgerton,” “La Casa de Papel” and “Cobra Kai.” Before, she oversaw local-language originals across Europe, the Middle East, Turkey, Africa, India, Asia and Latin America. Bajaria joined Netflix in 2016 to lead Netflix’s push into unscripted programming, including the critically acclaimed “Queer Eye,” “Nailed It!” and “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.” She was previously president of Universal Television, a role in which she made history as the first woman of color to oversee a studio, shepherding programming including “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “The Mindy Project.” Earlier, she held two key posts simultaneously: SVP of cable programming for CBS TV Studios, and SVP of movies and miniseries for CBS Network.

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Michele Bell

EVP, Worldwide Creative Services
Paramount Home Entertainment

Michele Bell

Bell is Paramount Home Entertainment’s top marketer, on both the transactional digital side and the physical media side. She oversees product packaging and digital design, in-store and online creative assets, and print, broadcast and online advertising. Her focus is on developing compelling, persuasive and disruptive creative assets that demand attention and drive consumer sales. Bell has more than 20 years of home entertainment marketing experience. Before joining Paramount in 2005, she was VP of creative services at what was then Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Bell spent the early part of her career at New Line Cinema, rising through the ranks to VP of creative advertising for home entertainment. 

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role

I wanted to have more of a say in the decisions being made at higher levels that impacted the teams I was working on and the type of creative we were delivering. I also felt it was a great opportunity to influence the environment and culture. I still check in with myself and ask, “Am I creating a space that I personally would want to work in?” And, knowing I’d be in meetings where my lived experiences are unique, I believed I’d be able to (within reason) guide conversations and decisions that might not have occurred if that representation, that voice, wasn’t in the room.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

In countless situations, I’ve learned it’s extremely valuable to trust my instincts because when I do, even if things don’t go as planned, I can live with the outcome. Second-most valuable lesson? “It ain’t personal, it’s business!” 

What do you look for when hiring someone

I have been told that in hiring I tend to cast for personality. I think there’s some truth to this in that I look for people who have a genuine enthusiasm for the role, for the business and for movies. If you come from an unrelated field but are genuinely excited to be here, are open to learning, and have relevant parallel experience, it inspires me to help shape that core knowledge to suit the role. In most cases, this results in an employee whose unique perspective benefits the entire team.

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members

I am a strong believer in transparency and candid communication. I want my team to know that what we do is an integral part of the success of the larger business, but also that their personal well-being and professional growth are important to that success. One of the best things to come out of COVID is our weekly all-team Zoom call. Now everyone can see the materials being worked on and feel connected to the process — there are no silos. When we’re in the office I spend a bit of time connecting on a personal level with everyone. It’s not just about deadlines and deliverables. 

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

Well, I had a nice run in the 1990s, so if I wasn’t doing this, maybe I’d go back to doing stand-up comedy!

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Alisa Bowen

President
Disney+

Alisa Bowen

Bowen oversees subscriber and revenue growth and content scheduling for Disney+. In addition, she oversees business operations across the direct-to-consumer division (Hulu and Disney+). She previously served as EVP of global business operations for Disney Streaming, overseeing global content and business operations for the company’s DTC video streaming businesses, including cross-functional leadership of the global Disney+ rollout in 154 markets worldwide. Bowen joined Disney in 2017 as CTO of the company’s international operations, where she led a transformation of Disney’s broadcast channels and content operations and digital publishing across EMEA, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Prior to joining Disney, Bowen held product, digital technology and general management leadership positions at major media organizations including Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones and News Corp, in London, New York and Sydney.

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role?

I love seeing a team come together and deliver seemingly impossible results, especially when the path isn’t entirely clear. I thrive in chaos, which is fortunate because the past few years have been chaotic for us all, both personally and professionally. When we were preparing to really scale the Disney+ international rollout, the world was shutting down and we were thrust into isolation as a fully remote team. None of us had a roadmap for how to manage such an ambitious product launch agenda in that model, but I’m so proud of all the innovation that came from those chaotic circumstances.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

That a unified purpose is one of the most powerful motivators to drive exceptional performance you can create. Now, more than ever, the very best people demand a purposeful role in a mission they can explain and believe in, where they are trusted to do their very best work, take measured and considered risks, and own the outcomes. At Disney, we “make magic happen,” and our teams here are committed to that purpose in a very tangible way. It’s been incredible to see how motivating that can be in driving “above and beyond” performance outcomes.

What do you look for when hiring someone?

Agility and resilience, with a healthy amount of EQ. There’s almost no problem we can’t solve with the perseverance to keep adapting and innovating. But when this tenacity is coupled with the EQ to listen actively and know how to ask for help, it can really set successful colleagues apart. I also think it’s critically important to be a compelling communicator. We are in the storytelling business, and every day we need to tell our story in different ways, to champion big new ideas, build alliances and collaborate effectively.

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members?

Transparent communication is number one. I try to maintain an open approach and be honest and authentic with my teams because trustworthy information and meaningful context is so critical in a large organization that’s trying to move quickly. We work hard to ensure that our teams understand not long what needs to be done, but the ‘why?’ behind the ask or the task. It helps everyone anticipate what might come next and anticipate problems around every corner, and more often than not, it leads to our team creating even better solutions than I could have anticipated.

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

I can’t imagine being anywhere else, but it would definitely involve a beach, my family and something entrepreneurial!

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Flory Bramnick

EVP, North America Distribution
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Flory Bramnick

Bramnick oversees the licensing of Sony Pictures’ rich catalog of feature films and television series across all distribution platforms in the United States and Canada, including broadcast networks, pay and basic cable, digital (AVOD, SVOD and FAST), and local syndication. Bramnick manages the North America distribution teams in the New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Toronto offices. Over her 21-year tenure at SPE, she has held a variety of positions, from strategic operations to business development to sales. Bramnick was acknowledged as a “Woman to Watch” by Multichannel News in 2011, and was honored with the Lifetime Achiever Award by Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) in 2013.

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role?

I can’t say that I ever proactively pursued a leadership role in the sense that I pitched a role and a specific level. What I knew inherently is that I liked being “the boss” (just ask my daughter) and wanted my voice to be heard. The result was that I was privileged to be acknowledged with leadership positions by bosses who thought I could contribute in ways that I wasn’t necessarily aware of. And, in turn, they gave me the opportunity to mentor, guide and learn from others, which has always been an important aspect of every role I’ve had. 

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to entertain opportunities that might otherwise seem like a career detour. Be open, because you never know where that opportunity may take you. The detour may be the best new direction you never expected.

What do you look for when hiring someone?

I look for what I call “confident humility” and a good cultural fit. What I mean by “confident humility” is someone who is equipped to handle the role and can confidently articulate what they can do in the role, while also understanding what it means to work collaboratively and transparently with other members of the team, and welcomes that. 

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members?

For one thing, I share the bigger picture of what I know and/or experience in the company. When I was more junior, it was frustrating to me that my bosses would be a part of meetings or discussions for which they could share elements but didn’t. For another, I trust my team. They’re smart, talented, and they understand our strategic goals, which means they don’t need me hovering over them or micromanaging them. For still another, I also show appreciation for what they do. The team has shared that the appreciation is meaningful.

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

I’d like to do something more entrepreneurial. A few years ago, a friend in the business and I had talked about opening a club for women that would serve as a meeting, networking and socializing hub. Since those early conversations with my friend, organizations have emerged with that mission. It’s good to see.

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Kelly Campbell

President, Peacock and Direct-to-Consumer
NBCUniversal

Kelly Campbell

Campbell is responsible for growing and elevating NBCUniversal’s streaming business and spearheading go-forward strategy for the platform. She oversees teams across programming, marketing, product, technology, partnerships and data sciences that together support NBCU’s direct-to-consumer portfolio. Prior to joining Peacock in October 2021, Campbell was president of Hulu, where she led the SVOD and live-TV streaming businesses. Before that, Campbell was Hulu’s chief marketing officer, leading the brand’s overall marketing and driving the strategic vision and voice behind the Hulu brand. Prior to joining Hulu, Campbell spent more than a decade at Google, where she held a variety of leadership and marketing roles across the Google Ads and Google Cloud businesses. She began her career in investment banking at JPMorgan Chase. Campbell is a graduate of Harvard Business School and Vanderbilt University. A respected leader and innovator, Campbell has been recognized as one of Business Insider’s Most Innovative CMOs, the Adweek 50, AdAge’s Women to Watch, FierceCable’s the Fierce 50: Executives Reshaping the Business of Pay-TV, and Forbes’ Most Influential Global CMOs. 

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

I’ve learned to trust my instincts. Over the years I’ve listened, asked a lot of questions, gotten some things right and gotten some things wrong. All of this has shaped and refined my instincts. I realize now that my instincts help me make quick decisions that are rooted in valuable experience.

What do you look for when hiring someone

I look for leaders at all levels, who have a balanced mix of skills, experience, energy and aspiration.

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

I’d either be starting a business — I’ve had an entrepreneurial streak from a young age — or spending a lot more time volunteering at my children’s school.

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Andrea Downing

President
PBS Distribution

Andrea Downing

Downing has a successful 20-year history of leading organizations for growth and profitability in dynamic landscapes. Her vision for PBS Distribution (PBSd) led to the transformation of the company’s initial focus on physical goods to multichannel, multi-format distribution, creating significant growth in digital distribution. A strategic leader with a strong operational background, Downing embraces change to transform organizations with new business strategies and products. Prior to joining PBSd, she served as the director of operations for Discovery Communications, managing the domestic and international consumer products division, and as the VP for home entertainment and partnerships for PBS. She currently serves on the boards of PBSd, PBS America and DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, as well as the DEG’s Canon Club Advisory Board.

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role?

I’ve always been very driven and focused, so I leaned in and worked hard to achieve goals in all my roles. Because I said “yes” to any new project, I developed a broad picture of the companies, with insights into their challenges and untapped opportunities. I quickly became the go-to person, which led me to leadership roles that I hadn’t considered.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Be honest, transparent, and fair. These set such an important tone, build trust, and help create a winning culture.

What do you look for when hiring someone?

Someone who is smart, self-motivated, and an independent and creative thinker who can learn new things and quickly adapt, especially in this ever-changing media landscape. Most importantly, someone who is a good fit with our culture and can work with people across the business.

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members?

My door is always open and I invite team members to stop by with any ideas or concerns they may have. Because not everyone is motivated in the same way, I do my best to listen well and let go of what I “know” in favor of learning something new about them. I have a voluntary small social meeting quarterly with employees across the company to get to know each other better. And because everyone works hard, we create opportunities to have fun together, which boosts engagement and productivity.

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

I can’t imagine working outside of public media! Its mission, combined with PBS Distribution’s for-profit mission of supporting the nonprofit public media ecosystem, is incredible, particularly given how quickly the media business is changing. If I weren’t in my current position, I would definitely be doing something within the media industry.

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Karin Gilford

SVP, Digital Media, and GM, Movies Anywhere
Disney

Karin Gilford

Gilford oversees a portfolio comprised of Movies Anywhere, the cloud-based service that lets consumers access purchased digital movies, and Digital Media, a cross-functional team that drives engagement and monetization across The Walt Disney Co. portfolio. She oversees product development, business strategy and long-term growth of all aspects of Movies Anywhere and Digital Media, and serves as key liaison, working with various key stakeholders and participating studios and retailers.

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role?

I was inspired by the leaders I reported to along the way. I saw the impact they had on our business and the people on their teams. I always look for ways to drive business goals and create opportunities for people on my team to grow both personally and professionally.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

There are so many lessons you learn along the way, but it seems that some of the most basic life lessons are those that prevail in your career: work hard, be nice to people and be passionate about what you do.

What do you look for when hiring someone?

I am usually thinking about the needs of the team and our business at that time and for the next three to five years. The media business is extremely dynamic, and I think you need to be nimble in hiring and continually re-evaluate your organization. Right now, I would be looking for sharp business skills, a consumer mindset and optimism.

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members

I try to show up in a transparent, authentic and optimistic manner. I put our portfolio of work into context of the larger company and industry, and am not afraid to seize opportunities and stop things that aren’t working. Everyone wants to do meaningful work, so I try to make sure my team is constantly learning, striving to use cutting-edge technology and processes, and understanding how their work fits into the bigger picture.

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

Finding a way to make an impact on up-and-coming people, companies, and ideas in media.

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Ellen Goodridge

Head of Worldwide Media Management and Distribution
Amazon Studios

Ellen Goodridge

Goodridge and her team are charged with managing and distributing Amazon Originals (movies and series) content into worldwide, localized, on-demand digital assets for Prime Video and Freevee. Before joining Amazon in January 2022, Goodridge enjoyed a more than 17-year run at Sony Pictures, culminating in a role as SVP of distribution and content delivery. At Sony Pictures, she focused on digital transformation, digital and traditional media content and supply chain management, and enablement of major distribution partnerships with platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, Google, Amazon, Disney, and broadcast and streaming channels around the world. She also led many first-of-their-kind digital initiatives. A graduate of Duke University, Goodridge began her career as a producer at Agency.com and then Qwest Communications.

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role?

I was fortunate to have incredible role models to learn from, and through working for and around strong leaders, I was inspired and supported in becoming one myself.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Clearly define, and then stay focused on the underlying goal of what you are trying to accomplish. And then, when you inevitably hit challenges or pivot points, you will know how to move forward.

What do you look for when hiring someone?

Change agility is a key focus when I’m hiring. We have to constantly learn and grow.

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members?

Ensuring they feel engaged and understand the big picture of what we are trying to accomplish in the business, and giving them a lot of autonomy in how they and their teams do so.

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

Probably teaching swimming lessons!

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Shalini Govil-Pai

GM and VP of TV Platforms
Google

Shalini Govil-Pai

Govil-Pai oversees product, design and engineering teams for Android TV OS and Google TV. Her leadership has led to winning strategies for distribution of streaming media including Netflix, Disney+ and Max across TV and mobile device form factors. Prior to assuming her present position in 2017, she was senior director for technology solutions at YouTube, where her work enabled creators, storytellers and citizen journalists to expand their reach and increase monetization by more than 10 times. Prior to joining Google, Govil-Pai was technical director at Pixar Animation, where she led efforts for the first entirely CG animated blockbuster, Toy Story, and A Bug’s Life. She is a well-known thought-leader and speaker on digital production and distribution trends. Govil-Pai is also the author of two internationally published books on computer graphics, Principles of Computer Graphics and Learning Computer Graphics.

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role?

To be honest, it was never about a role, leadership or not, that inspired my career journey. It was more about what I was working on and my love for media and entertainment. Since early childhood I knew I wanted to work in media. I was awed by the impact it had on people, conscious and subconscious, and how it brought joy and meaning to their lives — and I wanted to be part of it. Pretty early on, I realized I would not make it as a celebrity. I had tried to act as a child actress with dismal results 😉 — so I harnessed my skills in computers, got into computer graphics and joined Pixar Animation in its early days. From there, as I moved to YouTube and now Google, the role media plays in people’s lives continues to be a big inspiration in how I think about our products and their value in people’s lives. We work very hard in ensuring our content reflects the diversity and viewing needs of our customers, and that our product initiatives are at the forefront of sustainability efforts we’ve seen emerge throughout the industry. Alongside driving on a vision for products, as I took on different roles, I learned how to nurture teams and help them grow in their own careers, always helping them look at their motivations first and then find the next steps in their journey. In the end, this is what inspires me today as a leader: How do I bring technology to media journeys together to help inspire more people find joy in their lives, and help people find their path to find joy in their careers.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

The most valuable lesson that I still struggle with (believe it or not) is to be confident about my point of view. I meet people who come across so suave and confident, and they can eat your ears off, and it’s easy to think they know it all. But they don’t! Your point of view matters. In the early days when I took on TV, I was surrounded by skeptics — why should Google care about TV? Who watches TV anymore? But I knew it was an important surface. All the learnings from my days at YouTube had built up a strong contention in me that it did matter. I had to work hard to convince our C-suite, but my conviction won the day, and today Google TV is one of the leading platforms in the world and set to be a strong business as well.

What do you look for when hiring someone?

I look for people who are self-starters and who are excited about the area they are joining, because if you are excited about something, you will give it your all. To a self-starter it’s not just another job, it’s something they care about. That kind of person also creates an energy within the team that makes the impossible possible because everyone is moving with excitement about the future.

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members?

When you hire self-starters, you need to make room for them to start things on their own! They need to make their own mistakes and learn from them and grow with it. So that’s a big philosophy that I follow, empowering my teams to learn and explore. Of course I am always there to brainstorm with them and help guide them or open doors to people with whom they can talk to further their ideas. I also do regular team lunches with subsets of my team as a way for them to know who I am and what I believe in (and vice versa). I have office hours that anyone can sign up for and bring anything up to me. And we have regular all-team meetings and fun outings, like a tailgate and watching an NFL game together, that allow everyone to get to know their leaders and colleagues better as people.

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

I would be acting in movies, but probably in ‘C’-grade ones (just kidding). I think I would be working on a startup, but in the media space.

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Alison Hoffman

President, Domestic Networks
Starz

Alison Hoffman

Hoffman has revenue and operational responsibility for Starz’s U.S. retail and wholesale businesses and oversees key network operations, including distribution, marketing, publicity, product development, analytics and program planning. She was one of the key executives responsible for launching the Starz app and managing the network’s direct-to-consumer business. She reorganized the business and built world-class performance marketing and analytics departments from the ground up. Hoffman works closely with partners including Amazon, Hulu, Roku and Apple to drive revenue on their platforms. Prior to assuming her present position in February 2020, Hoffman for nearly four years was chief marketing officer. During her tenure she launched a master brand strategy, repositioning Starz as the premium streaming content platform for women and underrepresented audiences. She led campaigns for the entire Starz Originals slate, including “P-Valley,” the “Power” universe, “Outlander,” “BMF,” “Vida” and “Gaslit.” Hoffman joined Starz in 2012 after serving as VP of creative and brand strategy at AMC Networks.

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role?

Throughout my career, I’ve been fortunate to work with women in key leadership positions. Although they had diverse leadership styles, they all led with confidence, humility and empathy and were archetypes of the type of leader I aspired to be.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Remain curious. Cultivating my curiosity has helped me broaden my business expertise, stay open to new ideas, maintain my motivation and avoid burnout. For me, it’s been the key to staying engaged and expanding my skills, my role and my thinking.

What do you look for when hiring someone?

A growth mindset. People who want to build on their inherent smarts and talent through a dedication to hard work and continually learning. I find these people to be more adaptive to change, and resilient when faced with setbacks. They also tend to approach their work with more inventiveness and less ego, so they’re fun to work with.

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members?

I am a big advocate of critical thinking and healthy disagreement within my team. I believe that hearing and encouraging diverse points of view is critical to productivity and innovation. It requires trust and respect, but healthy debates and candid conversations drive business results.

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

I love to read, so if I could wave a magic wand, I’d be a book scout.

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Hilary J. Hoffman

EVP, Global Marketing
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Hilary J. Hoffman

Hoffman oversees strategic marketing for Universal and its distributed lines worldwide across feature-film new-release, library and TV properties. Her responsibilities encompass defining go-to-market strategies and the company’s overall approach to consumer engagement, including leveraging new platforms and technologies as well as direct-to-consumer initiatives to drive profitable growth. She is responsible for creative, digital content, retail marketing, media, digital marketing, publicity and consumer insights. Since joining the company in 1998 as director of marketing, Hoffman has overseen the campaigns of some of the studio’s most successful home releases and has been a driving force behind Universal’s leading footprint in new industry initiatives. 

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

I’ve learned that working in an industry known for its unique challenges and ever-evolving nature requires constant creativity and adaptability, as well as a commitment to doing everything you can to keep teams inspired and motivated. Communication and transparency are key. I’ve found that something as simple as consistently bringing the teams together provides a meaningful platform for members to contribute. It is extremely important to me to have a culture of belonging, inclusion and empowerment. I want all voices to be heard and everyone at all levels to be informed, engaged and aligned in driving the business forward.

What do you look for in an employee?

We work in an industry known for its unique challenges and ever-evolving nature. Two key qualities I find critical in ensuring an employee is well set for success in their role are creative problem solving and adaptability. I should note that in my mind, these qualities do not tie directly to specific work experience. I have found these qualities come from people with diverse backgrounds, school and business experiences.

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Agapy Kapouranis

President of International Television and Digital Distribution
Lionsgate

Agapy Kapouranis

Kapouranis spearheads international distribution, acquisitions, sales and marketing for Lionsgate’s television and catalog feature slate. She’s responsible for distributing and licensing Lionsgate’s 18,000-title film and television library and a robust portfolio of Starz programming to hundreds of SVOD, AVOD and linear platforms around the world. Kapouranis has helped establish Lionsgate as a partner of choice to international buyers in the SVOD, electronic sellthrough (EST), transactional video-on-demand (TVOD) and AVOD space. She has helped orchestrate a number of innovative licensing deals including the global syndication of “Mad Men” to Amazon’s IMDb TV and Prime Video, AMC and STARZPLAY as well as the licensing of “Schitt’s Creek” to Netflix. Most recently, her team negotiated the international sale of the “John Wick” prequel series “The Continental” to Prime Video and licensed a package of films and television series to support the European relaunch of MGM+. Kapouranis joined Lionsgate in 2011 as SVP of television and digital distribution. She was later promoted to EVP of worldwide subscription video on demand. Prior to joining Lionsgate, Kapouranis was VP of international on-demand and New Media at MGM Studios.

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role?

I have always been motivated by people. I enjoy interacting with different types of people with various areas of expertise. As a leader, I get the opportunity to manage a global team comprised of employees from a range of backgrounds and experiences. 

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

You shouldn’t be afraid of making mistakes — at Lionsgate, we empower employees to feel comfortable taking risks. 

What do you look for when hiring someone?

Attitude, communication skills and work ethic are key. I look for team members who are adept at dealing with challenging circumstances and personalities. They should also be “gritty,” willing to roll up their sleeves to get the job done no matter the size of the task. Another important factor is curiosity — employees must be eager to learn, regardless of level. 

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members?

Lionsgate’s scrappy, collaborative and entrepreneurial culture enables us to succeed in today’s challenging environment. We have lean teams that provide employees the opportunity to do more with less, in turn keeping them engaged, motivated and sharp. 

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

I love to cook, so that would be on the top of my list. Fortunately, I feel that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing in my role at Lionsgate. 

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Sarah Larsen

VP, Integrated Marketing
Samsung Home Entertainment

Sarah Larsen

As leader of the integrated marketing team for Samsung Home Entertainment, Larsen is responsible for building the brand with consumers across the United States. Her extensive knowledge of the latest and greatest in innovative marketing, especially digital activations, paired with her deep expertise with partnerships, experiential and influencer programs has led to numerous sales-driving and award-winning campaigns. Prior to joining Samsung, Larsen held leadership roles in several global marketing agencies such as Edelman and Ogilvy, working with globally renowned CPG, consumer electronics brands and retailer brands.

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role?

Our future generations inspire me! As the mother of two Gen Z kids, and with the many millennials and Gen Z people in our workforce at Samsung, I consider being a role model both a serious responsibility and an honor. I internalize servant leadership in all I do, and want to be able to help future generations grow in the soft skills and expertise they need to take on more and lead teams as well. I try to practice leadership by example rather than instruction, showing rather than telling, how to be a motivating leader.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

The most valuable lesson I learned is to not take things personally. I have found that 99% of the time when receiving feedback, it is based on many factors that have nothing to do with us — someone is having a tough day, they have pressure from someone else, or perhaps they just got bad news.

What do you look for when hiring someone?

Resourcefulness, creativity and proactivity are top qualities for me. I am impressed with someone who did their homework, demonstrates creative problem-solving skills, and can basically figure out how to get things done and then go after it. Great grades, an impressive education history and working for well-known brands are all wonderful, but how you work is more important to me than where you come from.

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members?

I try to really look at a person’s motives rather than behavior to understand why they might be doing what they do. I also make a point of giving context whenever possible with my questions or asks. For example, instead of just saying, “You need to do this by Friday,” I will talk about what we need and why we need it by a certain date, and get buy in from the team that this date is deliverable, and everyone is clear on roles and responsibilities for the project.

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

I absolutely love making everything around me beautiful — from my home space, to food presentation, to helping style my friends and family. I am the go-to girl for what paint color to choose, the right shoes with a dress, which haircut is more flattering, how should I arrange the furniture in this room, what to serve the first time someone is cooking for in-laws, etc. I always secretly hoped to be the Martha Stewart of my generation, but the fact is Samsung partnered with Martha Stewart now for our “More Wow Than Ever” campaign and I have come to realize that this 81-year-old dynamo is the master entertaining guru for all generations!

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Yolanda Macias

Chief Content Officer
Cineverse

Yolanda Macias

Macias is responsible for acquiring global content rights for all distribution platforms, including digital outlets Amazon, NBC Peacock, Tubi and Pluto. She is also charged with sourcing content for Cineverse’s owned-and-operated digital networks such as the Dove Channel, Screambox, asiancrush and RetroCrush, as well as retail outlets including Walmart. Additionally, she oversees all content marketing, including release strategy, growth and management of content. Macias joined what was then called Cinedigm in 2013 and has held leadership positions managing three departments and monetizing nearly 50,000 films and television series. During her previous tenure at Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment, Macias oversaw content acquisitions including securing home entertainment distribution rights for Crown Media’s Hallmark Channel and The Jim Henson Co. Macias helmed the launch and established the distribution strategy for Vivendi Entertainment’s digital distribution services along with acquiring rights for branded content such as National Geographic, WWE, NFL and Shout! Factory. Earlier in her career, Macias held executive positions at DirecTV and The Walt Disney Co.

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role?

I was a finance major in college, and upon graduation I worked for an investment banking firm. While I enjoyed the rigor and the intellect from my peers and management, I knew I was returning to graduate school not only to obtain an MBA, but also to change my career path. I wanted to be part of a service or product that is created, built and valued by consumers. My first position was with The Walt Disney Co., and I worked with very strong women, one of whom became the president of the division. I was fortunate to see effective female representation in leadership positions, which was inspirational and made it all seem achievable. I hope I have provided that same feeling to other women pursuing advancement and leadership.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

When someone is saying something that sounds like nonsense, it most likely is nonsense. During the early stages of your career, it’s common to be unaware of what you don’t know, and that’s actually a valuable gift because it opens the door to a wonderful lifelong gift of learning. However, with confidence and experience, you can lean on your intuition and push aside the noise to make informed decisions. Soon, it will be second nature and your energy is honed into the important decisions and execution.

What do you look for when hiring someone?

I look for the candidates’ strong sense of their own story. This requires self-reflection and an understanding of how they will contribute to the team and mission. I prefer those who enjoy teamwork and are capable of executing strategies. Collaboration and appreciation of data are key factors for success.

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members?

Within my teams, my goal is to actively contribute to both the development and growth of each individual. I provide my team members with the overall mission, vision and specific objectives in context of the broader goal. It is important that they understand how they fit in and the importance of their work. There is mutual respect and I try to be as transparent as possible. We are in this together. 

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

I would be in the south of Spain writing stories and immersed in the culture, practicing my Spanish.

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Dametra Johnson-Marletti

Corporate VP and Chief Commercial Officer, Gaming
Microsoft Corp.

Dametra Johnson-Marletti

Johnson-Marletti oversees global sales and category management for Xbox Gaming and Entertainment within the Microsoft Consumer Sales Organization. She leads a multi-billion-dollar business with a global team, focused on e-commerce, business strategy and third-party retail channel management, across 120 countries and millions of subscribers. She and her team are charged with delivering content accessible from all Microsoft devices and digital storefronts on Xbox, Windows and the Web. During her 22-year tenure at Microsoft, Johnson-Marletti has helped shape strategy and drive growth across several businesses. She has spearheaded collaborations with game publishers, major studios, content creators and retailers. She has built deep partnerships with leaders across the gaming and entertainment industries — focused on the creation of new business models and innovation for at-home and in-store commerce experiences. These efforts have been instrumental in Microsoft’s digital growth and have resulted in broader customer engagement, deeper partnerships and exponential e-commerce growth. Prior to joining the Consumer Sales Organization, Johnson-Marletti spent 12 years across the Microsoft Stores and Xbox Gaming divisions.

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role?

When I joined Microsoft 22 years ago, I was drawn to the company’s vision of using technology to change the world. Microsoft had consistently been (and continues to be) at the forefront of innovation, and I quickly knew that I wanted to lead and influence how our products and services could shape the future. This desire was not just fueled by my personal ambition but also by my aspiration to mentor and empower others, especially women and women of color, who, like me, wanted to make their mark in the tech industry. I’ve been fortunate to have had mentors and exceptional leaders who have supported me along my career journey. They each played an important role in my development as a leader and their support and guidance inspired and motivated me to pursue each of my leadership roles and pay it forward by investing in others through mentorship.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned in my career is the importance of adapting and evolving my leadership style and approach, while remaining authentic to who I am. Throughout my career, I’ve come to realize that being a successful leader isn’t about sticking to a single formula, it requires a willingness to continually change and grow. What worked in the past may not necessarily work in the present or in the future, and it’s up to us as leaders to be flexible and open minded. At the same time, it’s equally as important to remain true to your values and principles and to remain authentic. Balancing adaptability with authenticity is not always easy, and it took me a while to learn along my career journey. However, I’ve found that you can still be your authentic self while embracing change and growth.

What do you look for when hiring someone?

Ensuring that we have the right people in the right positions is always a top priority for me. When evaluating candidates, there are three attributes I look for. I want someone who has a passion for our industry and for their work. While skills and qualifications are undeniably important, I place more value on people who show genuine enthusiasm for their work. Additionally, I want someone who has a strong desire to learn. I don’t expect them to have all the answers or be experts in everything, but I look for people who show a willingness to invest in their growth — at Microsoft we call this being a “learn it all” as opposed to a “know it all.” I also look for strong character — someone who can successfully add to our culture and can bring in diverse perspectives.

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members?

I really prioritize creating meaningful moments of connection within my team. Whether through regular volunteer activities, making time for team learning, or recognition of team milestones, it’s so important to carve out time to ground ourselves as an organization and cultivate a culture that we all want to be a part of. These moments of connection play a pivotal role in building trust, camaraderie, a rich esprit de corps and an environment where people feel comfortable being their authentic selves. I also strongly believe in the power of constructive feedback and in building a culture where feedback is not just welcomed but encouraged. I want my team to feel safe expressing themselves, and I want them to know that their voices are heard and valued. Finally, having clear and transparent communication is so important to me. I want to ensure that my team understands our priorities, goals and expectations, empowering them to bring their best to work every day.

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

It’s hard to say what I would be doing if I wasn’t in this position! I feel fortunate to do what I love every day. However, if I were to guess, I’d probably find myself immersed in something that combines three of my passions:

  • Philanthropy: Specifically, helping to open the aperture of young people from marginalized communities understand the scope and scale of what they can be, even if they never see it in their day-to-day lives;
  • Technology: I love technology and endless possibilities that exist to create good through its use; and
  • Sports, as it represents a medium by which countless life lessons can be learned.

 

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Kim Overall

EVP, Global Data Solutions and AVOD Network, Distribution and Networks
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Kim Overall

Overall oversees Sony Pictures Entertainment’s central data team. She is responsible for identifying and developing the studio’s capabilities to become a more consumer-centric, data-driven organization. Her group defines the data strategy and utilizes advanced analytics and data science to co-create tools to enable all stakeholders at SPE to make better-informed decisions throughout the value chain. Additionally, she leads the AVOD Audience Network for SPE, building and fostering communities of interest around audience fandom for our rich and diverse repertoire of IP. Overall previously served as SVP of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s United Kingdom, Northern Europe and EMEA partnerships. In this role, she was responsible for defining the commercial strategies for the region and supporting the EMEA territories. She joined Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 2008 as the managing director for Australia and New Zealand.

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role?

In the first phase of my career when I was learning about business I was fortunate to have great leaders and mentors. Their style and how they supported me had such an impact on me. I have been inspired to learn about what makes a great leader for 30 years and am very much still on that learning journey.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Having a personal purpose that guides you and enables you to know the value you uniquely bring the table is very empowering.

What do you look for when hiring someone?

Are they hungry, humble and smart? How curious are they — what questions do they ask? Are they about “We before Me?” Do they have high EQ and see people for who and what they represent?

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members

Align around a shared purpose and empowering beliefs, and agree on our social contract and our ways of being and working as a team.

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

Spending time with family between the beach in northern New South Wales and Serbia.

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Katherine Pond

Group VP of Platform Content and Partnerships
Vizio

Katherine Pond

Pond spearheads consumer electronics giant Vizio’s push into ad-supported VOD and free ad-supported streaming television (FAST). She leads distribution, content acquisition and programming, platform partnerships, platform and content marketing, and enterprise programs, Since joining Vizio in 2012 Pond has initiated, negotiated and closed deals across content distribution and acquisition, IP, advertising, and data verticals. She leads the teams responsible for closing deals with Amazon, Apple, Disney, Google, Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery, Sony and more. She has a history of building, growing, and monetizing new lines of business, including Vizio’s WatchFree+. Pond is passionate about the development and success of future generations, serving as a mentor at her alma mater, and co-founding Vizio’s Ascend Women’s Network.

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role?

My father, Dennis Reed, was always my biggest inspiration behind my pursuit of a career in business. He retired as a partner at a Fortune 500 company and I always loved listening to him talk about his team. My current motivation to become a better leader each day is inspired by two people: Bill Baxter, Vizio’s former CTO, and my current boss, Mike O’Donnell, Vizio’s CRO. These two leaders have demonstrated to me what it means to work for leaders who trust and empower their people — and that’s what I now strive to do for my team.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

To say “yes.” Very early on, I discovered that leaders are always looking for someone who is willing to step up and say “yes” to a challenge, in a moment of need. Particularly during my time at Vizio, my desire to try new things and say “yes” has given me tremendous opportunities: from licensing Inscape data, to running our advertising business in its early days, to launching our owned and operated WatchFree+ service, to forming a new team responsible for enterprise programs. I’ve been fortunate to work under leaders who have recognized and rewarded my passion for tackling difficult or new problems, and they have in turn offered me a wealth of knowledge and career growth.

What do you look for when hiring someone?

I look for key attributes I have found contribute to successful individuals, and in turn, successful teams: passion, curiosity, kindness, a dedication to relationships, collaboration, skillset and experience. I want to surround myself with the best and the brightest people I can find: those who have experience doing things that I may not, and those who will push me — and everyone else on the team — to become better.

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members?

I am a big believer that on a personal level people want to feel seen, acknowledged and connected to a community, and that high-achieving teams thrive on information and autonomy. That translates to plenty of team bonding activities (most recently a ropes course, and a “treats and trivia” session), a “Standing Ovation” Slack channel to share kudos, frequent texts and calls from me to my leaders to encourage and support them with feedback and words of affirmation — and, of course, friendly competitions with bragging rights as the award! I believe that information is power, and that for teams to feel empowered to do their best work, they must understand the strategy (the “why”) and have access to the information they need to make sound business decisions. 

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

If I wasn’t at Vizio, I’d likely be somewhere else in this evolving industry, aiming to deliver a great experience to consumers and help contribute to the future of entertainment.

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Amy Jo Smith

President and CEO
DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group

Amy Jo Smith

Smith heads the leading trade group for the digital entertainment industry, representing the interests of the world’s largest media and entertainment companies, consumer electronics manufacturers, platform providers and technology companies. A former White House communications advisor, Smith since 1997 has led the industry-funded group’s efforts to enhance and promote home entertainment during its evolution from videocassettes to DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and today’s digital age. Under Smith’s leadership the DEG is credited with helping to make DVD the fastest-growing consumer electronics product in industry history. In 2019, DEG launched the D2C Alliance Council as a working community within the DEG to represent the global direct-to-consumer media industry and support its members to help create a robust marketplace to lead the new era of content consumption.

What inspired you to pursue a leadership role?

I’m not sure that I was as inspired to pursue leadership as much as I was hungry for more responsibility. I always felt I could take on more, and that it was on me to serve the DEG membership to its fullest. That belief organically drew more responsibility and was rewarded with leadership opportunities.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

Whether it’s a board of directors or staff, really listen to the team you are working with. Don’t automatically assume that you know the best way forward, or that how something has been done before is necessarily the only way to continue. Trust that you’ve chosen smart, creative people to collaborate with, and take full advantage of their diversity of opinion, as long as all are focused on the same goal and what makes the most sense to achieve it. 

What do you look for when hiring someone?

Honesty, a sense of humor and flexibility are key. Skills can be taught, but these traits cannot. A strong team is comprised of those with varying skills sets, but if we are all to get along and accomplish our goals, we must be open to change and true in our approach. 

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members?

I’ve found that showing people you value their work and respect their opinions is the best motivator out there. People feel pride in their jobs and engage at a higher level when their work is regularly acknowledged, and they are thanked for their contributions. 

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

After leading DEG for 26 years, I’m not sure. But I believe it would be something that gives back to the larger community.

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Lexine Wong

Head of Global Multichannel Distribution Marketing
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Lexine Wong

Wong oversees marketing for the global home entertainment and television distribution businesses for Sony Pictures. As part of the marketing leadership team charged with integrating and leveraging collective expertise across the product lifecycle, she manages a team on the front line of responding to new and emerging distribution patterns. Wong oversees the delivery of breakthrough, sharable and highly interactive marketing experiences across the studio’s full range of properties — from film to television, catalog and beyond — all with a data and insights-driven approach that prioritizes consumer engagement and transaction. Specific areas of oversight include consumer and brand strategy, creative advertising, media, digital marketing, publicity, strategic partnerships, content production, and fostering innovation within emerging platforms critical for growth in the industry. With more than 25 years in the home entertainment industry, Lexine has overseen the studio’s biggest revenue-generating home entertainment releases, including blockbusters such as Spider-Man: No Way Home and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, as well as original IP such as A Man Called Otto and No Hard Feelings. She has also brought consumer marketing strategies to the global television distribution business.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career?

If I had to choose one lesson, as there have been so many, it’s being open to taking on new responsibilities even if you’re not sure you are ready. Embrace new opportunities, ask questions, be forthright about what you don’t understand, and be a team player. Through success or failure, you will glean valuable lessons along the way.

What do you look for when hiring someone?

Beyond the base skill sets required for the job, intangible skills like curiosity, flexibility, teamwork and a strong work ethic are critical. And never underestimate the power of excellent written and oral communication skills because no matter what your job is, you will most likely be “selling” something to someone, whether externally or internally. Additionally, I want to feel that a candidate is really excited about the job, and they are going to be all in.

What strategies do you use to motivate and engage your team members?

I’ve learned that one of the most important things to drive engagement is making sure your team understands the company’s and their department’s goals and objectives. Projecting growth through goal setting and alignment provides a North Star, and offers opportunities while driving accountability, which keeps things moving forward. It’s important to have regular communication, check-ins and brainstorms so they have a chance to ask questions and share ideas. We are in a creative business, so we need to fuel creativity and innovation through inclusion, encouragement, a test-and-learn philosophy, and challenging each person to be their best.

If you weren’t in your present position, what would you be doing?

I have been fortunate to have experienced so many aspects of the entertainment and distribution businesses and, as cliché as it sounds, I learn something new daily. I love all the new challenges and opportunities each year brings, whether it has been new formats, varied pricing models, complicated window management, complex data offerings, or evolving marketing techniques. So if I wasn’t doing this job, I would think about doing something that leverages what I spend a lot of time doing — problem solving and executing. Maybe something entrepreneurial that taps into an unmet need, or growing a small existing business.  

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Women in Home Entertainment 2023: The Teams

The home entertainment industry is filled with smart, strategic teams that support the captains of the big studios and streamers.

Additionally, there are many other talented women leaders at independent content distributors; digital retailers who sell and rent movies, TV shows and other filmed content; streaming services; technology companies; and ancillary service providers.

Here are some of the standouts.

SEE ALSO: WOMEN IN HOME ENTERTAINMENT 2023 — THE CAPTAINS

Amazon Studios

Jennifer Salke
Head, Amazon Studios
Salke oversees all aspects of television and film development as well as production for Amazon’s global entertainment division. Over the past two decades, Salke has been a major force behind some of television’s most successful comedy and drama series, including “This Is Us,” “Modern Family,” “The Blacklist,” “Superstore” and “The Good Place,” as well as Dick Wolf’s hugely successful “Chicago” franchise. Prior to joining Amazon, Salke was president of NBC Entertainment for seven consecutive years, where she was responsible for comedy and drama development, current programming, casting and diversity programming initiatives, as well as the entirety of Universal Television operations. She also served as EVP of creative affairs and SVP of drama development at 20th Century Fox Television. Salke began her career at Aaron Spelling Productions in the early 1990s.

Courtenay Valenti
Head of Film, Streaming and Theatrical, Amazon and MGM Studios
A veteran Hollywood movie executive, Valenti joined Amazon in March 2023 at a time when the company was looking to expand its footprint in the movie space. She previously enjoyed a 33-year run at Warner Bros., where she played an integral role in the production of some of the studio’s biggest theatrical hits, including four “Harry Potter” films, Crazy Rich Asians, and, most recently, Barbie. Valenti is the daughter of the late Jack Valenti, the longtime president of the Motion Picture Association.

Julie Rapaport
Head of Film, Creative and Strategy, Amazon and MGM Studios
Rapaport oversees the slate for Amazon Originals and MGM. Prior to assuming her current role, she was part of the team that during the pandemic moved from producing arthouse films designed to have robust theatrical launches to becoming a more streaming-focused service with more mainstream movies. Under her watch, Amazon acquired movies such as Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, Coming 2 America and Hotel Transylvania: Transformania, which had been set up at Universal, Paramount and Sony, respectively. Those films instead debuted on Prime Video. 

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Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment

Kristin Bowser
SVP of Operations, Redbox
Bowser plays a pivotal role for Redbox and its third-party service business. Her primary role is to oversee the company’s field support group of 800-plus employees across the United States who service Redbox kiosks. The team also services Amazon lockers and EcoATM kiosks, along with other businesses. Bowser joined Redbox in 2009 in the machine support department. Prior to joining Redbox, Kristin worked as district manager for Family Video.

Maura Gray
SVP, Marketing
Gray leads the marketing across all of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment’s brands, including Redbox, Crackle and Crackle Connex. She oversees multiple large-scale brand initiatives and originally spearheaded all of Redbox’s digital platform launches, including TVOD, Free Live TV and Free On Demand. In addition, she launched Redbox’s media network sales business. Before joining Redbox, she worked in marketing at the National Geographic Channels.

Jennifer Gale
VP of Ad Sales and Brand Partnerships, Crackle Connex
Gale and her team are responsible for media and branded content sales for OTT networks Crackle, Redbox and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Her team recently collaborated with a leading pet retailer to create a new custom branded series, “Pet Caves.” Sales opportunities span AVOD, FAST, branded integrations into original series, and DOOH (digital out of home). In addition, her team holds sales rights for a growing portfolio of premium streaming services, including Xumo, Plex, FuboTV, Tastemade and Vidgo. Prior to joining Crackle, Gale served as the director of ad sales and brand partnerships at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Diana Liss
Senior Director, Ad Tech Operations
Liss leads the Ad Tech Operations team for Crackle and Redbox and is responsible for building and maintaining the tech stack to support direct and programmatic monetization across AVOD and FAST channels. Over the past two years, she has helped grow the Crackle Connex footprint exponentially to 14 new distribution partners and 17 new audience extension partners. She has also supported the re-launch of the Crackle and Chicken Soup for the Soul apps to enable new ad products and updated ad insertion methodology. Liss has more than 20 years of experience in the digital media entertainment industry. She began her career at Discovery.

Beth Galli
Director of Sales — Advanced Video and Strategic Partnerships, Crackle Connex
With 15-plus years of experience in the advertising business, Galli has formed strong agency and client relationships and has a proven track record for increasing revenue and generating new business. She has been at Crackle for four and a half years. Prior to joining Crackle, Galli spent 16 years at Scripps Networks.

Evie Kelly
Director, Midwest Advanced Video Ad Sales and Brand Partnerships, Crackle Connex
Kelly found her niche 20-plus years ago in the world of integrated ad sales. The evolving media landscape has allowed her to adapt and shift between cable, digital, streaming, DOOH and branded content. Kelly sold through two seasons of branded integrations between the award-winning Crackle original “Inside the Black Box” and The General Insurance Co. Prior to joining Crackle, she worked at Turner Broadcasting, Viacom and AMC Networks.  

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Cineverse

Lauren McCarthy
SVP, Marketing
McCarthy is responsible for telling the story of Cineverse, overseeing the strategy and execution of all marketing, communication and creative initiatives for the company. She and her customer-obsessed team build engaging and effective brand and consumer narratives — supporting revenue generators with measurable, data-driven results. She brings more than 15 years of entertainment and technology expertise to her work, including senior roles at SaaS startup Tangelo.ai and Broad Green Pictures, along with various marketing, product, creative strategy and filmed entertainment positions. Additionally, McCarthy is an advisor to the top-rated entrepreneurial course “NUVention: Arts & Media” at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering.

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DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group

Marcy Magiera
Executive Director
An industry veteran who set editorial direction in coverage of digital media and entertainment at industry trades Advertising Age, Video Business and Variety, Magiera became executive director of the DEG in 2020 after working with the trade group in a series of progressively more responsible positions. She curates the DEG’s newsletter, The DEN, and leads event programming and production. She played a key role in the DEG’s pivot to online events at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and in 2022 assumed responsibility for the DEG’s return to in-person events, with a hybrid strategy in which virtual events also continue. Magiera produces the DEG’s annual EnTech Fest, a B2B trade and networking event in Los Angeles. She leads the team planning EnTech Fest 2024, scheduled for Feb. 7.

Andi Elliott
Director, Sales and Membership Services
As the DEG’s sales and sponsorship leader, Elliott brings new members to the DEG and helps member companies make the most of their membership benefits. Since she joined the organization in 2017, the DEG has expanded its membership base to 90 member companies, the most in the group’s history. Elliott also creates opportunities for branding and exposure for members through sponsorship and branding at events. Elliott is an industry veteran whose previous positions include sales director for Video Business magazine, conference sales manager at Variety and stints at Warner Home Video, 20th Century Fox and various independent labels.

Jean Levicki
Director, Community and Member Programs
Levicki oversees the Direct-to-Consumer Alliance (D2CA), a working community of DEG member companies focused on the DTC offering. She leads the Alliance’s AVOD Innovation Group; its Targeted Services and TV & Connected Devices committees; and the Live Sports Council. She also manages the organization’s Marketing and Communications (MARCOM) and Digital Finance & Accounting (DFAC) committees, and is involved in the development and execution of DEG events. Prior to joining the DEG, Levicki was with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, where she held positions in international and global publicity.

Bekah Sturm
Senior Project Manager
Sturm oversees the technical committees within the DEG’s Advanced Content Delivery Alliance. This includes the Localization and Supply Chain Efficiency & Security Committees, which are creating shared industry resources and socializing best practices in a variety of mediums and topic areas. Currently, Sturm is working across the DEG supply chain member companies to coordinate the third annual DEG EnTech Awards. Before joining the DEG, Sturm worked as a producer in television and film.

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Dolby

Tina Eckman
Director, Content Relations
Eckman leads the Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos studio account management efforts for Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Showtime and more. Passionate about inspiring the creative community for more than 25 years, she works with storytellers around the world to help update workflows with the latest technologies. More recently, Eckman helped launch a team that enables audio-first sound design to reach new heights. Dolby Atmos has been rapidly adopted by many audio-first storytellers, podcast studios and distribution platforms. Eckman’s quest to inspire and educate new content creators on a larger scale continues.

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Fandango

Stephanie Terifay
Senior Director of Lifecycle Marketing

With more than 20 years of experience creating and growing entertainment brands, Terifay currently leads lifecycle marketing for Fandango, Vudu and Rotten Tomatoes. Terifay has a proven track record of managing fully integrated brand initiatives and growth-oriented business development opportunities across the Fandango suite of businesses. Most recently, she and her team successfully led the integration of Vudu as the new streaming platform for AMC Theatres On Demand, offering users more than 200,000 new-release and catalog movies and TV shows to rent or buy, including the largest collection of 4K UHD titles and thousands of titles to watch with no subscription required. Prior to joining Fandango, Terifay held positions at the Sundance Institute and Film Independent. She has an MBA from Chicago Booth and a B.S. in hotel administration from Cornell University.

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Google/YouTube

Christina J. Kim
Head of AVOD Licensing/FAST and TVOD, YouTube and Google TV
Kim oversees business development and partnerships for AVOD licensing/FAST for YouTube as well as Google’s transactional movies and TV (on You-Tube and Google TV). Before joining Google in 2014, Kim worked in content acquisition at Amazon and PlayStation Video.

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Gravitas Ventures

April (Tonsi) Elansari
Director, Publicity and Marketing
Elansari leads the creative marketing team and oversees the publicity for 200-plus new film releases each year. Having worked in publicity for the last 10 years, she has extensive experience strategizing and implementing impactful publicity and marketing campaigns for theatrical, festival and home entertainment releases. Elansari is a graduate of St. John’s University in New York City and is currently based in the Cleveland area. 

Sophia Fields
VP, Operations
With more than 20 years of experience in content distribution (including tenures at Showtime, RLJ Entertainment and Rhino Entertainment), Fields oversees all aspects of onboarding and delivery for Gravitas Ventures’ vast network of domestic and international distribution channels, including streaming, linear, theatrical and home entertainment. She works with 200 new filmmakers each year on delivery and manages the 3,000-plus titles in the Gravitas library. Additionally, Fields streamlines workflows and finds efficiencies with outside labs that service the company’s content. She loves cultivating new talent at the company, always glad to share her experience and help develop their skill sets. 

Danielle Gasher
VP, Acquisitions and International Sales
Gasher co-leads the acquisition department and heads the new international sales department, which Gravitas hard-launched in May 2023. Prior to her time at Gravitas, she served as VP of international sales at Academy Award-winning production and sales company Voltage Pictures. Prior to joining Voltage, Gasher worked as a sales executive for Canadian outfit Double Dutch International. In 2021, she was named a Future Leader to Watch in Screen Daily’s Acquisition & Sales leaders showcase.

Kellie (McElderry) Mutch
Director of Sales 
Mutch joined Gravitas in 2022. She has been working in digital distribution for 15-plus years and specializes in sales and marketing, account management and business development helping top studios (The Walt Disney Co., Fox) and indie distributors (The Orchard) meaningfully engage with customers and drive revenue. She is passionate about hiking, health and wellness, and independent film. She graduated from the University of Southern California.

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Level 33 Entertainment

Alisa Bunting
SVP, Marketing and Product Management
Bunting manages all content onboarding, platform marketing and product management. She has overseen the releases of more than 150 independent feature films across all windows from physical product to the ever-evolving world of video-on-demand. Bunting excels at everything from interacting with independent filmmakers and sales agents to managing external vendors and platform partners. She has been instrumental in building the Level 33 brand and expanding the company’s content profile over a continuously expanding number of entertainment outlets, platforms and channels. Prior to joining Level 33 in 2012, Bunting served as director of marketing and operations at Playboy Entertainment Group. She began her career at The Walt Disney Co. in the Buena Vista Home Video division working on brand marketing for Touchstone/Hollywood Pictures product.

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Lionsgate

Chase Brisbin
EVP, International Television and Digital Distribution
Brisbin spearheads Lionsgate’s international streaming distribution business (SVOD/AVOD). In a climate of change and uncertainty, she challenges her team to think differently and find new ways of doing business. Last year, Brisbin negotiated the worldwide (except U.S.) sale of the highly anticipated “John Wick” prequel series “The Continental” to Amazon. Under her guidance, the company also secured new structures for Pay 1 and 2 deals in the United Kingdom and LATAM, allowing unprecedented flexibility and security post pandemic on films such as John Wick: Chapter 4, Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard and Joy Ride. Brisbin’s current focus is placed on growing AVOD partners, both local and global, and the explosive FAST channel space, including owned and operated channels such as MovieSphere and single series IP such as “Nashville” and “Ghosthunters.”

Suzy Feldman
EVP, Worldwide Television Marketing
Feldman oversees worldwide television marketing and PR for Lionsgate’s Television Group, working with global programming, production and sales teams, in addition to the studio’s network and broadcast partners, across scripted and unscripted programming. She also supports the division’s international and domestic distribution partners and manages social media development and execution for Lionsgate’s TV portfolio. Feldman’s strategic vision and marketing expertise has played a key role in the group’s success, as LGTV had 12 new shows picked up to series in the past 18 months and 11 current series renewed through at least their third seasons. Feldman recently spearheaded the studio’s marketing efforts for the highly anticipated “John Wick” television series “The Continental,” which debuted as a three-part event in September on Peacock in the United States and on Amazon’s Prime Video internationally. She also oversees the marketing for Lionsgate’s FAST channels, including MovieSphere, OuterSphere and HerSphere. Feldman joined Lionsgate in 2015. She began her career at Showtime as a marketing manager prior to moving to E! Entertainment Television. Feldman also worked at Fox News Channel for nearly a decade.

Kate Nexon
EVP, Domestic Television and Digital Distribution
A 14-year Lionsgate veteran, Nexon oversees domestic sales for Lionsgate’s 18,000-title library of films, series, and Starz programming across AVOD, SVOD, and linear platforms. She leads the windowing strategy and execution of domestic multi-platform initiatives. She negotiated the sale of the Emmy award-winning “Schitt’s Creek” to Hulu, and played an integral role in the sale of the highly anticipated “John Wick” prequel series “The Continental” to Peacock, as well as in securing licensing deals for the global hit show “The Chosen” with Peacock, Amazon and The CW. Nexon has been New York-based throughout her career at Lionsgate, rising through the TV distribution ranks as a remote member of an Los Angeles-based team.

Susan Posner
EVP, International Sales Strategy and Planning, Worldwide Television Group
Posner has grown a team of internationally focused sales and operations planners who help creatively and strategically manage Lionsgate’s premium inventory. Working closely with marketing, research, legal and rights management, she and her team serve as the central pipeline for sales’ go-to-market efforts. Posner joined Lionsgate in 2019 and most recently has been collaborating with the studio’s finance and IT groups to launch a sales tool for her team to use in deal analysis and approval, speeding up deal negotiation timelines for clients.  

Jill Anderson
Head of Home Entertainment Sales and Partner Management
Anderson was recently promoted to head up the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group’s digital and packaged-media sales teams. Her expanded responsibilities include digital sales of the studio’s 18,000-plus-title library and portfolio of brands and franchises in addition to her continuing responsibilities for overseeing packaged-media sales. Anderson has worked on all of Lionsgate’s major franchises since they first began: “John Wick,” “The Hunger Games,” “Saw” and “The Expendables.” She is a consummate team player who is driven by continual learning and growth and giving back to others. Anderson is proud to be a 20-year veteran of Lionsgate’s entrepreneurial culture, its commitment to innovation, and its passion for bold, original, relatable entertainment.

Lauren Bixby
SVP, Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Motion Picture Group
Bixby leads the studio’s acquisitions team for multiplatform and streaming titles and oversees its growing targeted theatrical business. Among Bixby’s upcoming titles are Flight Risk, starring Mark Wahlberg and directed by Mel Gibson; 1992, starring Tyrese Gibson; and the thriller Anniversary, featuring an all-star cast headed by Diane Lane. She also oversaw the Lucy Hale starrer Puppy Love, a collaboration with BuzzFeed that was recently released on Freevee.

Jennifer Caprow
SVP, Domestic Sales Strategy and Planning
Caprow joined Lionsgate in 2011. Starting as a sales planning coordinator in the TV Distribution Group, she is now an integral member of the executive team and was promoted into her present position after serving for two years as VP of sales planning and TV distribution, and, before that, executive director. She collaborates with teams across Lionsgate and is constantly engaged with how the ever-changing TV/streaming landscape evolves.

Kenya Hart
SVP, Procurement and Inventory Operations, Motion Picture Group
Hart oversees the home entertainment manufacturing and production operations for Lionsgate’s 18,000-title library. She spearheads the daily operation of the materials management team, inventory reconciliation, multi-platform content production and procurement/demand planning teams to ensure timely finished inventory availability for U.S. and Canadian distribution. She and her team play a pivotal role in business acquisition onboarding, as well as business systems user acceptance testing (UAT) for systemic enhancements.

Amelia McPartlon Rogers
SVP, Marketing, Global Content Strategy, Motion Picture Group
Rogers oversees overall marketing strategy in the limited theatrical and digital distribution space. She leads her teams to develop a full 360-degree marketing strategy for Lionsgate’s entire limited theatrical and multi-platform release slate, as well as for the company’s vast library and third-party distribution companies.

Maria Chung, VP, Digital Creative, Motion Picture Group 
Jeanifer Clarke, Executive Director, Strategy and Programming, Motion Picture Group
Kathryn Ikenberry Jones, VP, Worldwide TV and Digital Distribution
Jessica Klein, VP, Creative Marketing — Print and Digital, Worldwide Television Group
Lindsay Lefrancois, VP, Procurement, Motion Picture Group
Kara McKinney, VP of Global AVOD, Worldwide Television and Digital Distribution
Alejandra Mugica, VP, Global Marketing Strategy, Library and Distributed Partners
Lisa Stephenson, Executive Director, Multi-Platform Content Production, Motion Picture Group

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Netflix

Amy Reinhard
President of Advertising
Reinhard was named to her current position this month after leading Netflix’s studio operations for three years. In that role, she oversaw physical production, production facilities management and creative services. Reinhard joined Netflix in 2016 as VP, content acquisition, where she led global live-action and animation production, production facilities management, global studio licensing for films and television series as well as local language acquisitions. Prior to joining Netflix, she was the president of worldwide TV licensing and distribution for Paramount Pictures, where she held various strategy, finance and operational roles over 10 years. She started her career at Revolution Studios.

Eunice Kim
Chief Product Officer
Kim was named to her current position this month. She previously led the company’s global consumer product Innovation team. Kim joined Netflix in early 2021 after having spent 10 years in product leadership roles at Google Play and YouTube. Prior to joining Google, she worked at several tech startups as well as PepsiCo and Adobe Systems.

Nne Ebong
VP, Overall Deals, Original Series
Ebong is responsible for leading the development of series under creative partnerships with Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland, and President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions, among others. Prior to joining Netflix, Ebong was creative lead at WIIP, a global film and television studio and played an integral role in the studio’s efforts to identify, develop and produce projects for the cable, streaming and international marketplace.

Kira Goldberg
VP, Film
Goldberg is co-head of the studio film team, responsible for setting the strategic direction for high-profile Netflix films. Recent successes from the 2023 slate include the Jennifer Lopez starrer The Mother, which became one of Netflix’s most popular films of all time; You People, starring Jonah Hill and Eddie Murphy; and Murder Mystery 2, starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. Prior to joining Netflix, Goldberg served as an EVP of production at Fox. Previous to that, she served as VP of production for DreamWorks.

Jinny Howe
VP, Drama Series
Howe is responsible for setting the strategic and creative direction for scripted dramas through the development, greenlighting and production process. She also oversees a team responsible for acquiring licensed series programming. Howe joined Netflix in 2018 to oversee the development and production of serialized dramatic content specifically in the character drama space. In this role, she managed several overall deals including those with Shondaland, Tribeca and Sugar23. She has played an integral role on such successful shows as “Bridgerton,” “Maid” and “Inventing Anna.” Prior to joining Netflix, Howe was EVP of television at John Wells Productions where she was responsible for spearheading the development and production of comedy and drama projects for cable and TV networks through the company’s first-look deal with Warner Bros. Television. 

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Paramount Home Entertainment

Susan Chun
EVP, Business and Legal Affairs — Content Distribution, Paramount Global
Chun oversees business and legal affairs for the worldwide distribution of Paramount Global’s full portfolio of produced and acquired feature films and series across all media, including theatrical, home entertainment and content licensing. In her role, Susan serves as the senior legal advisor to the distribution business, manages a large global team, and enjoys a multi-faceted practice, which ranges from complex and innovative deal making to shaping monetization strategies. Prior to joining Paramount in 2008, Susan was in private practice for over a decade as a business litigator.

Alanna Powers
SVP, Worldwide Marketing, Paramount Home Entertainment
Powers leads the home entertainment division’s global marketing strategies, overseeing the full slate of new releases, acquisitions and library titles, and managing the ever-changing landscape of windows and release patterns. She and her teams develop campaigns for physical and digital distribution channels, connecting audiences with a robust slate of content through innovative marketing activations. Prior to joining Paramount, Powers held senior marketing positions at Redbox and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment after starting her career at FCB advertising.

Erin Carey, VP, Digital Distribution
Boh Clancy, VP, Digital Distribution, Asia Pacific
Rachel Crang, VP, Worldwide Production Management
Micol Green, VP, Legal Affairs
Lauren Hamlett, VP, Human Resources
Sandra Hiestand, VP, Sales Planning and Reporting
Juliet Keehan, VP, Operations
Lin Park, VP, Digital Marketing
Meagan Roberts, VP, Sales
Michele Rumain, VP, Advertising (Media)
Pamela Sivula, VP, Financial Planning
Michelle Willey, VP, Creative Services

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Paramount Streaming

Erin Calhoun
EVP, Communications
Paramount Streaming and Showtime and Cross-Company Publicity
Calhoun is responsible for leading communications for the integrated Paramount Streaming team, which includes Paramount+, Pluto TV and Showtime, overseeing programming publicity, media and talent relations, events, photography, awards, film festivals, philanthropy, sports, and corporate branding. Calhoun also has oversight of cross-company publicity, with a focus on planning and elevating announcements that showcase the Paramount Global multiplatform strategy. Previously, she was EVP of communications for both Showtime and Paramount Television Studios. Calhoun joined Showtime in 2017 as SVP of corporate communications.

Catherine Houser
EVP, Paramount Pictures, Worldwide Human Resources and Paramount Streaming
Houser has managed human resources teams in the entertainment industry for 30 years. Prior to overseeing Paramount Pictures HR, she served as EVP of human resources for Viacom Media Networks, where she led the company’s HR strategies and practices. In that role, she was responsible for all of MTV Networks’ HR initiatives globally. Before joining MTV Networks, Houser was SVP of human resources and operations for Orion Pictures Corp.

Amy Kuessner
EVP, Content Strategy and Global Partnerships, Paramount Streaming
Kuessner is responsible for content strategy, partnerships and licensing for Paramount Streaming with a key focus on the leading FAST service Pluto TV and specialized areas of Paramount+. Under Kuessner’s lead, Pluto TV has established a library containing more than 700,000 hours of programming with 60,000 unique titles stemming from 425 global content partners. As a pioneer of the FAST movement, she was instrumental in the creation of Pluto TV’s original channel strategy and successfully struck first-ever FAST deals with the NFL, CNN, Scripps, BBC and AMC Networks, among others. Kuessner previously held various progressively more important roles at NBCUniversal, Liberty Media, Sony Corp. and DirectTV.

Elizabeth Wright
EVP and CFO, Direct-to-Consumer Segment, Paramount Global
Wright steers the global financial strategy for both Paramount+ and Pluto TV. Prior to becoming CFO of the direct-to-consumer segment, she served as SVP of finance for CBS Interactive. In that role, she oversaw the entire finance organization, ran annual budget processes, managed monthly KPIs and drove initiatives for new business partnerships for the CBS digital division. Prior to joining CBS in 2007, Wright worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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PBS Distribution

Amy Letourneau
SVP, Content and Rights Management
Letourneau’s scope of influence encompasses PBS Distribution’s content pipeline and crucial partnerships with producers. She leads a team entrusted with an array of critical responsibilities: production management, media asset oversight, operations, program coordination, rights management, scheduling, royalty reporting and project direction. This year, she significantly broadened her role’s purview. She is at the helm of PBS Distribution’s operations, steering a high-volume global business.

Tonya Harley
VP, Marketing
Harley leads PBS Distribution’s marketing efforts in global advertising, communications and creative services, and is responsible for creating effective marketing strategies to attract and engage consumers. She leads a team that strategically plans PBS Distribution’s marketing spend, most significantly on the company’s SVOD channels with a goal to maximize efficiency while driving customer acquisition and engagement. She recently added FAST channel marketing to her portfolio.

Liz Liebman
VP, SVOD Channels
Liebman leads the SVOD business and is responsible for strategic planning, customer acquisition, engagement strategies and partnerships across all global SVOD Channels. Her significance in PBS Distribution’s operations is underscored by her stewardship of the company’s largest business, spanning six SVOD Channels. Liebman has developed strong customer acquisition and retention strategies and has been instrumental in driving sustained growth within an intensely competitive landscape.

Megan Zamyatin
VP, Accounting and Finance
Zamyatin is responsible for overseeing financial planning, analysis and reporting, accounting, tax and compliance, internal controls, collections, and treasury. She manages all the accounting and finance functions for a global company with changing business models and an increased level of investment in content.

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Premiere Digital

Michele Edelman
Head of Growth
With more than 25 years of executive experience, an unmatched business acumen and extensive knowledge of home entertainment, Edelman has been a driving force behind innovation and growth at the forefront of an evolving OTT landscape. From launching TVOD programs at Warner Bros., to spearheading VOD strategies at Vubiquity, to redefining distribution at media services company Premiere Digital, Edelman has been instrumental in implementing international market plans across media services, distribution and software-as-a-service disciplines.

Pamela Ng
CFO
Ng oversees all financial operations and collaborates with management on the company’s most important initiatives, including organic growth strategies, acquisitions, KPI performance and risk avoidance through data-driven decision-making. Prior to joining the company in 2020, she was CFO at Irwin Naturals, a provider of premium vitamin and supplements.

Carrie Moore 
SVP, Product Development
Since joining the company as the seventh employee, Moore has become a reliable expert in digital distribution with experience in mastering, fulfillment and SaaS technology. She helped expand the company’s global footprint, launching the Bangalore facilities, workflow and teams to enable global operations. She also developed a product support infrastructure for all software used at Premiere Digital, continuing to grow the company’s flagship media management products, Storefront and PDX.

Natalie Martin 
VP, Growth and Development 
Martin is responsible for driving revenue by nurturing key industry relationships and building new revenue streams, including the company’s rapidly expanding aggregation business that increases scale and efficiency between digital platforms and content owners.  She has been a top-performing digital distribution executive for more than a decade, using her deep sales and operations expertise to help global brands monetize content.

Evelyn Arteaga 
Executive Director, Special Projects
Arteaga has become a key influence in developing digital workflows at Premiere Digital since she joined the company near its inception. Evolving through her roles as a digital media technician to a manager and to her current position, she has improved and developed processes that efficiently adapt with the company’s growth. In supporting significant functions of the company, she has curated instrumental industry knowledge that has positioned the company as a primary technological solution for media servicing and distribution. 

Tanya Razo
Executive Director, Production Technology and Operations
Razo has both developed and manages an effective workflow solution for thousands of content owners and digital platforms for Premiere’s onboarding and fulfillment. With a rich and seasoned career in the media and distribution industry, Razo has worked for various production companies and film studios throughout her time in the entertainment industry.

Beth Archer 
Director of Mastering 
Archer is responsible for establishing the company’s roots on the East Coast, launching the Stamford, Conn., facility and consolidating workflows and technologies to support the Los Angeles headquarters. In developing efficient processes and leveraging a honed knowledge of new technologies, she has been a key contributor to the company’s growth. 

Neha Mhatre
Director of Client Services
Mhatre manages a thriving client services team. She brings extensive experience working with platforms such as Amazon and Google to continually improve client satisfaction and actuating project goals. She has been instrumental in designing workflows per client requirements.

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Screen Media

Laura Giampino
VP, Sales, North America
Giampino is head of North American sales for DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Her mantra is “DVD is not dead.” She ensures placement in big box chains, kiosks, grocers, and independent retailers. Giampino has been in the home entertainment video business for nearly 40 years. Working in the mid-1980s at home entertainment distributors Commtron and Ingram, she honed the marketing model for studios’ brand management presence inside distributors. Later, she held roles at HBO, Orion Pictures, MGM Home Entertainment and Vivendi Entertainment.

Louise Oliver
VP, International Sales
Oliver is responsible for sales of film and TV content across all television, digital and theatrical distribution. With a broad understanding of the international marketplace and content, she has consistently maximized sales and revenue in the key territories of the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Africa, Japan and Australia. Prior to joining Screen Media, she worked for RHI Entertainment and Sonar Entertainment.

Samantha Klinger, Director, Sales and Marketing
Alana Kulba, Director, Business Affairs

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Shout! Studios

Melissa Boag
EVP, Family Entertainment
Boag is head of the family entertainment division, a significant part of Shout! Studios’ multiplatform business. She provides leadership across the company and big-picture strategy that supports Shout’s long-term growth. She creates marketing and distribution strategies for a large slate of new releases and catalog titles and oversees Shout’s publicity team. Boag steers distribution on key anime lines, including the partnerships with GKIDS on movies from GKIDS and Studio Ghibli titles, including perennial favorites such as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, and additional GKIDS titles, such as Evangelion: 3.0+1.11 Thrice Upon a Time and Belle. In family animation and live-action entertainment, Boag directs the home entertainment strategy with Aardman Animations on their catalog titles; Laika on films including Coraline and Kubo and the Two Strings; Hasbro/eOne on “My Little Pony,” “Transformers” and “Power Rangers”; and a variety of other family animated films.

Julie Dansker
SVP, Streaming and Content Strategy
Dansker oversees the licensing and streaming sales team, leading the streaming and content distribution strategy for Shout! Studios. She drives the monetization for all film and series content across global SVOD, AVOD channel partners and broadcasters, executing licensing deals, managing a portfolio of AVOD channel partners and pitching and launching FAST channels. Utilizing data-driven analytics, her team monitors performance and optimizes engagement across partners. Dansker also collaborates with the acquisitions team to identify and acquire elevated new releases and is on the Shout! Studios’ original team developing original content across television, feature films, and podcast, actively pitching and setting up original productions.

Arlene Shapiro
SVP, Royalties and Income Tracking
Shapiro’s department compiles and administers royalty payments to hundreds of program licensors and royalty recipients from studios, producers, independents and talent. A Shout! employee since 2007, Shapiro coordinates and executes the company’s response to the ever-growing range of rights, deal structures, and licensor relationships that a multiplatform entertainment company must contend with. She ensures that revenue is being properly disclosed and maintains royalty systems to allow correct and effective reporting.

Lauren Blum, Associate VP, Publicity
Kathy Callahan, Head of e-commerce and DTC Sales
Dayna Cramer, Senior Marketing Director and Head of Advertising and Live Events
Lexie Heredia, VP, Financial Planning and Analysis
Paige Sherman, Director of Programming
Karrie Stouffer, VP, Creative Services

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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Jill Allen
SVP, Digital Distribution
Allen leads Sony Pictures Entertainment’s transactional digital distribution business (TVOD) for North America. In her role she maximizes revenue for Sony’s iconic slate of film and TV content in collaboration with all North American digital retailers. Allen has been at Sony for 17 years in sales and business development roles, with an ongoing focus on the intersection of content and new technologies. Allen also serves as a board member of Sony Pictures Action — Sony Pictures Entertainment’s global racial equity and Inclusion initiative. Prior to joining Sony, Jill worked at The Walt Disney Co. and LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton).

Geri Bluerock
SVP, Sales and Operations, North America
Bluerock leads Sony’s home entertainment packaged-media business for North America. Her scope of duties includes sales, planning, operations and reporting. She integrates data-driven insights to address retailer and consumer opportunities while looking for efficiencies within the evolving business landscape. Her experience at Sony, MGM and Target includes leadership positions in sales, sales planning and analysis, retail operations, category management, vendor managed inventory, demand planning, and retail buying.

Jennifer Curtis
SVP, Global Marketing
Curtis leads the global brand marketing team that oversees and manages lifecycle campaigns across the Sony Pictures slate, establishing key consumer messaging, aligning marketing tactics to core brand strategy and ensuring that product marketing efforts are in line with studio business goals. Some priorities in this rapidly changing landscape have included optimizing release windows, bringing high-end productions direct to the home, and delighting content-hungry consumers with a wide range of catalog titles that continue to shine. Her oversight has recently expanded to include the global transactional business for television product, as well as creative advertising for Sony Pictures Classics, acquisitions, catalog and television.

Anja Dang
SVP, Global Audience Analytics, Data Science and Business Insights
Dang leads the team that develops Sony Pictures’ capabilities to become a more consumer-centric and data-driven organization. Her team builds, sources, connects, and manages consumer and audience-level data assets and capabilities to create consumer segments for activation, to design audience activation solutions, and to deliver commercial insights. The team accomplishes this through advanced data analytics and machine learning to develop models and apps to enable Sony Pictures to make informed decisions that drive and fulfill the consumer appetite for film and television content across the theatrical, home entertainment and television release windows.

Cathy Goldman
SVP, Global TV Distribution and International Production Marketing
Goldman oversees marketing for the U.S. television distribution business and Sony Pictures Television International Distribution. Her core responsibilities include leading brand strategy, promotions and partnerships, and collaborating closely with cross-functional teams across digital/social, creative, creative content, media and publicity for premiere television properties such as “Twisted Metal,” “Outlander,” “The Crown” and “Better Call Saul,” as well as key franchises such as “S.W.A.T.,” “Seinfeld” and Norman Lear favorites. Ensuring brand health for key series in Sony’s library through fan engagement and other consumer activations is essential to maintaining and growing the value of the studio’s catalog.

Jane Mohon
SVP, Media and Home Entertainment/TV Distribution Marketing Services
Mohon is responsible for consumer media strategy, overseeing strategic linear and digital media planning and buying. A champion of an analytics-led strategy, Mohon leverages consumer lifecycle data to drive multi-channel paid media strategies to drive transactions. In addition, she is responsible for consumer data-driven marketing operations functions such as Movies Anywhere and the consumer loyalty program within the home entertainment line of business.

Monica Veiga
SVP, U.S. Distribution
Veiga leads Sony Pictures Entertainment’s TV distribution business in the United States. Her team is responsible for licensing Sony’s feature film and series catalog of content across multiple platforms. Veiga manages the sales strategy, maximizing revenue opportunities for the studio, and has achieved significant growth in a time of consolidation and change in the industry. She has been instrumental in collaborating efforts across the studio to find the right home for key pieces of content, elevating brands while remaining nimble and exceedingly focused on both the client and consumer experience.

Dina Wiggins
SVP, Legal
Wiggins has been overseeing legal affairs for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Television Distribution marketing globally for more than 25 years, closely collaborating with related departments throughout the Sony organization. Her work also encompasses legal analysis and advice for the duration of the licensing, distribution, sales, manufacturing, and other exploitation of movies and TV series in all new and established areas of home entertainment for Sony Pictures.

Jill Allemand, VP, Marketing, U.S. Distribution
Lindsey Beams, VP, People and Organization Business Partners
Kelly Bouchey, VP, Client Services
Christine Galloway, VP, Global Digital Marketing
Judy Guevara, VP, Global Brand Marketing
Suzanne Emerson, VP, Legal
Sachiyo Hirano, VP, Sales Planning
Janet Schackman, VP, Customer Operations
Katie Ullrich, VP, Global Brand Marketing
Michelle Vendange, VP, Global Customer Experience  
Joan Villaros, VP, Production Services
Jane Webster, VP, New Digital Distribution

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Studio Distribution Services

Kristie Colley
SVP, Trade Marketing and Commercial Planning
Colley oversees trade marketing, which includes working with studio brand marketing teams on physical-release execution, including title set-up, budgeting, pricing and sales communication as well as establishing trade policy, promotional and lifecycle pricing to maximize sales. She also oversees commercial planning, which includes goal-setting and sales-forecasting across all lines of business, performance tracking, trade fund management, market insights, and sales analytics supporting SDS, studios, partners and customers. With 28 years of experience in physical home entertainment at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, Colley joined SDS at launch after being part of the SDS studio transition team, bringing together Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Discovery and their many partners’ content in a joint venture.

Megan Blakeley, Senior Account Executive
Dawn Carpentiere, Senior Account Executive
Monserrat Carrillo, Executive Director, Financial Management And Reporting
Stacie Frisino, VP, Trade Marketing
Marti Garcia, Director, Human Resources
Lyndsey Hauser, Senior Account Executive
Erin Kadotani, Director, Trade Marketing
Jessie Means, Director, Order Management
Toni Metoyer, Director, Retail Marketing
Katy Moffat, VP, Manufacturing Services
Nicole Nelson, VP, Sales
Deby Tellez, VP, Distribution Services
Tatevik Torossian, Director, Material Requirement Planning
Heidi Turk, Chief Supply Chain Officer
Eve Waldman, Chief People Officer

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Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Pamela Blum 
SVP, Global Marketing
Blum manages creative marketing services and the development of value-added content for the studio’s digital, Blu-ray and DVD releases on a worldwide basis. Her responsibilities also extend to include maximizing opportunities cross-divisionally within NBCUniversal.

Sandy Choi 
SVP, Brand Marketing
Choi oversees all global marketing and product development for Focus Features’ new-release offerings as well as UPHE’s North American third-party partner relationships. She oversees the development and execution of all marketing campaigns for the partner releases across both digital and physical platforms as well as leads the cross-functional team responsible for the overall business. 

Erica Marie Dionne
SVP, Release Planning and Business Ops
Dionne manages the studio’s film and television releasing planning process and business operations strategy across digital platforms. Her responsibilities include establishing go-to-market best practices, managing cross-company supply chain initiatives, and identifying opportunities to maximize the value of content via new partnerships. She is an active community leader, serving as a mentor, leading initiatives in local public schools, representing NBCUniversal as the Los Angeles Regional Advisory Board Chair for America On Tech, a national nonprofit, and is also a proud Girl Scout Troop Leader.

Denise Haro
SVP, Worldwide Consumer Insights and Strategy
Haro manages business analytics, focusing on external market analytics, trend analysis and long-term outlook. She also manages UPHE’s consumer insights and research. She is focused on aligning global commercial strategy around product, window, messaging, and innovation founded in business and consumer insights. Throughout her tenure she has been influential in shaping company strategy.

Jerrlyn Iwata
SVP, Digital Distribution
Iwata spearheads business development and distribution for Universal’s domestic digital home entertainment arm. She is responsible for licensing Universal’s film and television content on a transactional basis to cable, satellite, internet and emerging digital platform partners across the United States and Canada.  

Stephanie Lutjens
SVP, Global Brand Marketing
Lutjens oversees global strategic marketing, product development, and management of all new-release titles from Universal Pictures, Illumination and DreamWorks Animation, in addition to the studio’s extensive catalog and television library. She also manages worldwide home entertainment promotions.

Lea Porteneuve
SVP, Global Publicity and Communications
Porteneuve oversees business, technology and executive communications for UPHE. She additionally spearheads all strategic publicity initiatives for Universal and its distributed lines, including media and talent relations, events, promotions, promotional partnerships, and social media activations in support of the studio’s digital and physical home entertainment offerings. She also actively serves as the company’s principal PR strategist on cross-studio, industry-specific committees.

Stacy Barger, VP, Global Creative Services
Stephanie Bayer, VP, Global Creative Services
Jennifer Black, VP, Global Publicity
Eng Chua, VP, Finance and Operations
Leigh Dunleavy, VP, Digital Platforms
Alissa Gury, VP, Global Controller
Nadia Haney, VP, Commercial Licensing and Partnerships
Tracy Kim, VP, Digital Distribution and Digital Platforms
Sandy Le Bihan, VP, Global Projects
Marian Mansi, VP, Global Creative Content
Priya Verma, VP, Digital Marketing
Shavonne Wieder, VP, Global Brand Marketing

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Warner Bros. Discovery Content Sales

Nicole Coleman
SVP, Content Planning and Analysis
Coleman leads analytics, business planning and operations in support of monetizing content and maximizing revenue for the studio. This includes the evaluation of content windowing trade-offs, price optimization and competitive analysis. Additionally, she leads product planning and availability for film and TV content across Warner Bros. Discovery’s vast content portfolio.

Kristina Fugate
SVP, Film and TV Marketing
Fugate oversees marketing for film, TV, and originals for transactional sales across both digital and disc platforms. Her purview also includes partner marketing, creative advertising, paid media, promotions and franchise management. Her team executes strategies resulting in strong performances of all Warner Bros. Discovery brands and franchises, including DC and “Harry Potter,” and recent titles including BarbieThe Batman, Elvis and “Rick & Morty.” Additionally, Fugate oversees the 4K Ultra HD slate, including remastering classics such as Casablanca, The Exorcist, 2001 and the “Middle Earth” collection.

Laura A. Gross
SVP, Content Sales Research
Gross joined Warner Bros. in 2003 to establish the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment international research and media team. In 2011, she was promoted to handling global responsibilities, adding the United States and Canada. In her position, she has built a global consumer insights and research team that manages groundbreaking and innovative consumer research, analytics, and modeling across digital and packaged movies and TV products. Her team partners with all aspects of the business — theatrical, games, TV, marketing, sales, finance, strategic planning and executive management — along with all other WBD divisions.

Nathalie Sawyer
SVP, Partnership Management
Sawyer leads partnership management and sales for all digital clients in the United States and Canada, including Amazon, Apple, Vudu/Fandango, Google, Microsoft, Comcast, DTV, Cox, Charter, Frontier and Dish. She is responsible for maximizing revenue on these partners’ platforms across Warner Bros. Discovery’s film and TV content portfolio, including planning and executing new-release and library promotions, negotiating editorial merchandising, and leading and coordinating cross-functional efforts with the theatrical, games, consumer products and streaming teams to amplify WBD’s IP. In her role, she also offers strategic guidance and facilitates collaboration across international territories with global platform partners.

Robyn Sklaren
SVP, Sales Planning
Sklaren leads all sales planning and library management for WBD’s vast library of films and television shows. She oversees rights, availability, windowing, pricing and strategic content curation across SVOD, AVOD, FAST, basic cable, pay cable and diginets for domestic content sales. She is also responsible for music clearance and remastering efforts on hundreds of classic TV series and films such as “The Drew Carey Show,” “Babylon 5,” “Dallas,” “The Flintstones,” Rio Bravo, Pump Up the Volume and The Outsiders: The Complete Novel.

Kristin Anderson, VP, Film and TV Marketing
Traci Carroll, VP, Creative Advertising
Amy-Beth Chamberlin, VP, Sales Services
Lindsay Feng, VP, Trade Marketing
Tina Depass Lujan, VP, Film and TV Marketing
Madison Wojciechowski, VP, U.S. Content Licensing

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Whip Media

Carol Hanley
CEO
Hanley leads the enterprise software platform and data provider to the world’s largest entertainment organizations, and is on its board of directors. She is a media industry veteran who has shaped digital innovation and fueled data-driven growth strategies for some of the world’s largest entertainment organizations for more than 25 years. Before being named CEO in June 2023, she was president and was responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales, business development and client solutions. Hanley joined Whip Media in 2017 to lead the company’s business strategy, revenue, sales and marketing. She also oversaw the development of new measurement solutions that combine audience consumption data with financial information to enable smarter TV and film buying and selling decisions in a rapidly evolving entertainment ecosystem. Previously, Hanley served as CRO of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group. She also spent 13 years as the EVP, chief revenue and marketing officer, at Nielsen Audio.

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Disney Entertainment

Lori B. LeBas
EVP, Platform Distribution Operations
As head of the business operations team for platform distribution, LeBas supports the development and distribution of products and services that create meaningful value for the company, its partners, and consumers. She is focused on the design and implementation of business processes for efficient management and operation of all media distribution, including linear networks, SVOD/AVOD/TVOD, transactional, syndication, audio and direct-to-consumer products. LeBas also leads the creation of cross-functional business requirements for new products, as well as oversight of all post-sales processes for content distribution across all platforms.

Lindsey Green
SVP, Content Sales
Green is responsible for licensing feature films and television content from Disney Entertainment. The lines of business that fall 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 — and its linear networks. Her client roster includes Amazon, YouTube, Starz, Roku and Tubi, to name a few.

Christen Harris
SVP, Platform Distribution Sales
Lauren Morrissey
SVP, Platform Distribution Sales
Harris and Morrissey negotiate key licensing agreements on behalf of the company across a wide array of media platforms and businesses, including domestic multichannel subscription distribution and global direct-to-consumer platforms. Among these substantial high-profile agreements managed by their teams are in-home TVOD and direct-to-consumer app penetration among digital aggregators, MVPDs, devices, wireless providers and social media applications. They also pursue and negotiate wholesale marketing partnerships for the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming services. Between the two of them, they oversee more than 100 key accounts, such as Apple, Comcast, Google, Roku and Verizon.

Rebecca Black, VP, Business Affairs
Brooke Johnson, VP, Platform Distribution Sales
Jane Kim, VP, Distribution Planning Analysis and Commercial Affairs
Ann Lee, VP, Distribution Planning and Analysis
Jennifer Lourie, VP, Product Management

Disney Streaming/Disney+

April Carretta
VP, DTC and Platform Distribution Communications
Carretta leads the team responsible for all communications efforts in support of The Walt Disney Co.’s portfolio of direct-to-consumer video streaming businesses, including corporate and brand, public relations, crisis, and incident management, as well as internal employee engagement. Caretta also oversees the platform distribution team that drives communications strategy behind all third-party media sales efforts for distribution and affiliate-related business operations for all of the company’s direct-to-consumer services and linear media networks, in addition to global content sales and licensing for Disney Entertainment and ESPN. Prior to joining Disney, Carretta spearheaded a global integrated marketing communications and strategic partnerships team at 20th Century Fox. She oversaw all aspects of global communications for the in-home and new and emerging technology division, including the Fox Innovation Lab and FoxNext. With more than 20 years of experience, Carretta has also pioneered innovative, consumer-centric marketing and global communication strategies for top companies including Edelman and Sony Pictures.

Andrea Roxas
VP, Content Planning and Scheduling, Disney+
Roxas is responsible for determining the premiere and release strategy for content on Disney+ in partnership with programming and marketing teams around the world. Roxas joined The Walt Disney Co. in 2011 as an editor for the Disney Digital Network. Prior to working on Disney+, Roxas led content strategy and programming for Disney’s digital portfolio of brands targeting millennial and family audiences, including Oh My Disney, Disney Style Guide, Disney Family and Babble.

Hulu

Lauren Tempest
GM
Tempest was named GM of Hulu in July 2023, taking on responsibility for the Hulu business and reporting directly to Joe Earley. She previously served as SVP of content partnerships, acquisitions and scheduling, where she oversaw Hulu’s robust library of content, working closely with the Walt Disney Co.’s content engines including Disney Television Studios (20th Television, 20th Animation Television, ABC Signature), Hulu Originals, FX, 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Pictures, to deliver the most in-demand titles to consumers. In that role, she also worked with the company’s third-party partners to acquire top SVOD titles, which recently included critically acclaimed “Schitt’s Creek.” During her tenure with that team, Tempest was part of the group that established a new strategic scheduling framework and drove partnerships with the Walt Disney Co. content brands as they launched high-performing tentpole titles such as “The Bear” and Prey.

Barrie Gruner
EVP, Marketing and Publicity
Gruner is responsible for all facets of Hulu marketing (inclusive of marketing strategy, paid and owned media, events, social media, and publicity). She also co-leads creative marketing. In April 2023, she added brand and platform marketing to her content marketing purview, inclusive of partnerships, growth marketing, subscriber acquisition and on-channel marketing — giving her 360-degree leadership and oversight over the entire consumer lifecycle for the brand. In the past year alone, she has overseen the teams that lead marketing and publicity for titles including “The Kardashians,” the most-watched unscripted title in Hulu history and the most-watched premiere; “Only Murders in the Building,” the third season of which launched in August, which is Hulu’s most watched comedy original ever; and God Forbid: The Sex Scandal That Brought Down a Dynasty, Hulu’s most-watched documentary film. As part of her brand scope, she oversees initiatives including “Hulu Animayhem,” supporting Hulu’s 20,000-hour library of adult animation and anime content. Under Gruner’s leadership, Hulu was the first company to engage with Threads on a branded creator thread for “Futurama” in partnership with lifelong fan and creator Adam Rose.

Lacey Donohue
SVP, Growth, Engagement, and Retention
Donohue was promoted to her current position in April 2023. Her duties include all aspects of subscriber growth, lifecycle marketing and content programming. She also leads engagement marketing and engagement forecasting for the streamer. She has been promoted several times since joining Hulu in 2016 as a content programming lead, and is a key member of the team responsible for determining content strategies for the future of streaming services across the Walt Disney Co. Since joining Hulu, Donohue has helped define and build content programming tooling and strategy and has established the language and frameworks for measuring engagement. In the past year alone, she has also overseen the teams that led initiatives resulting in historic subscriber growth, industry-low churn, and record-breaking monetizable hours. She’s also developed several soon-to-be released product updates that will drive a continued upward trajectory in brand engagement. Since she joined Hulu, the platform has gone from 12 million subscribers to more than 48 million in 2023, on the heels of multiple campaigns and initiatives in which she played a heavy strategic role. Before joining Hulu, Donohue was executive managing editor of all former Gawker Media websites, including Gawker, Deadspin, Jezebel, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Kotaku and Jalopnik. In this function, she oversaw all editorial operations and strategy in a network with more than 100 million global uniques.

Reagan Feeney
SVP, Live TV Content Programming and Partnerships
Feeney has had a standout year, overseeing the significant expansion of Hulu’s robust live offerings, while continuing to set the vision and strategic direction for Hulu + Live TV. After spearheading a deal with Live Nation to make Hulu the streaming destination for Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2022 and 2023, she closed a deal with iHeartMedia to bring their 2023 iHeartRadio Music Festival and Fiesta Latina live to the platform as well. These iconic music celebrations join Hulu’s extensive live news, sports, entertainment, and cultural programming, cementing it as the go-to destination for on-demand subscribers to stream live events. Reagan has also overseen negotiations with a wide variety of partners to bring new channels to the Hulu + Live TV line-up this year, most recently securing the Tennis Channel, the Game Show Network, the Magnolia Network and PBS Kids.

Angie Kang Park
Deputy Chief Council
In her 10 years with Hulu, Park’s contributions have significantly enhanced the platform’s value proposition to subscribers and solidified its position as a frontrunner in the competitive streaming landscape. While overseeing the company’s legal and business affairs matters, Angie led groundbreaking deals for Hulu’s Original and licensed content, including Award-winning series “The Bear,” “The Dropout” and “Abbott Elementary,” as well as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Great,” “Dopesick” and “Only Murders in the Building.” She also oversees legal matters for Hulu + Live TV, driving negotiations that bring live content to both Hulu + Live TV and SVOD subscribers. At the end of last year, she managed deals with several high-profile partners, resulting in the addition of 14 new channels to Hulu + Live TV’s line-up.

Movies Anywhere

Elissa Brown 
VP, Business Operations 
Brown spearheads day-to-day operations, developing and executing key business and platform strategies to drive growth and deliver operational efficiencies across all facets of the cloud-based digital rights locker Movies Anywhere. This includes finance, strategy, business development, partner management, business intelligence/analytics, customer care and program management. 

Beth K. Baier 
Assistant Chief Counsel 
Baier leads all day-to-day legal and business affairs matters and serves as the senior legal advisor to the company’s business teams. She actively participates in legal analysis, modeling, negotiations and drafting of new strategic business models and high-profile deals involving emerging digital-distribution technologies, distribution platforms, technical operations and marketing strategies.

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BritBox International

Reemah Sakaan
CEO, BritBox International 
Sakaan leads the global streaming service and is responsible for the overall strategy and operations of BritBox in its overseas markets, namely the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. BritBox International is a joint venture between British broadcasters the BBC and ITV, and has 3.2 million subscribers across its markets. Sakaan was appointed to her role in February 2021. Prior to this she served as chief creative officer for BritBox Global and as ITV’s SVOD group director, launching BritBox in the United Kingdom. A seasoned marketing and media executive with a passion for content, she previously relaunched ITV Hub and worked for eight years at the BBC.

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Giant Worldwide

Meri Hassouni
SVP, Business Development
Hassouni is an entertainment executive with 20-plus years of industry experience, pivoting within the industry as it has evolved from physical media to digital media, to the growth of streaming platforms, EST, SVOD, AVOD and FAST channels. Hassouni has played an instrumental role in the significant growth of Giant since the founding of the company 18 years ago. After the merger with Testronic Labs and subsequent reorganization into Giant Worldwide, Hassouni has focused on expanding the company’s reach through new international offices across Europe and an expansion in New York City and Burbank, Calif., offering services including localization and master QC. Hassouni is passionate about working with FAST channels, developing preferred vendor relationships, and advancing work with studios on a global scale, all while simultaneously collaborating with independent distributors to deliver content and execute channel launches in the TVOD, SVOD and AVOD spaces. A member of DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group since 1999, she had been vice chair of Canon Club for four consecutive years, championing women in leadership roles throughout the home entertainment space.

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