Power Marketing 2022: Driving It Home

With nearly 80% of consumer spending on home entertainment now going toward multiple SVOD subscriptions, studio marketers are working harder than ever to drive transactional sales of movies and shows, both physical and digital.

Their overarching goal is to remind consumers that it is still possible to buy (and rent) movies and shows individually, and not just as part of an all-you-can-watch monthly subscription plan. They also need to clearly demonstrate the benefits of ownership, including better quality, a much-wider selection of product, and the reassurance that once you buy something, it’s yours and unlikely to disappear one day, as so many of our favorite movies and shows have vanished without a trace from Netflix.

For the fourth year, Media Play News is honoring the top studio marketing campaigns of the past year (April 2021 through March 2022), and the teams that made them happen.

Thomas K. Arnold: Craig and the Camel May Be Gone, But Transactional Marketing Still Going Strong

The Power Campaigns

■ F9: The Fast Saga
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
UPHE released the $726 million global theatrical blockbuster F9 in home with a premium rental offering just five weeks after the film’s chart-topping run at the box office. Supported widely by digital retail partners and broad national advertising, the PVOD marketing campaign drove home messaging to consumers that the event film was coming straight from theaters into their homes for the first time ever.

As the title transitioned into the traditional home entertainment window, the campaign trained its focus on effectively differentiating from the PVOD release. Delivering a standout collectible offering, UPHE leaned heavily into the value of ownership with an all-new, highly anticipated director’s cut.
Leveraging the film’s massive star power and worldwide franchise appeal, UPHE focused on communicating the exceptional value proposition for this offering by fashioning a full-scale breakthrough marketing campaign designed to further entice and engage fans with two versions of the film and exclusive bonus content with even more spectacular action.

Elevated to the “must-own event of the year,” the campaign advanced with a far-reaching social announce push, supported in part by the film’s own megastars, Vin Diesel and Chris (Ludacris) Bridges, who shared custom content on their Instagram accounts, reaching a combined total of more than 92 million followers.

Publicity efforts were also expansive, anchored by F9 Fest, an immersive, multi-layered experience for domestic, international and multi-cultural press, influencers and fans. Marking a highly awaited return to in-person events since the start of the pandemic, the Fest drew attendees inside the world of F9 with such activities as a press interviews with director Justin Lin, cast members including Jordana Brewster, stunt coordinators, VFX leads and the costume designer; a rooftop zipline stunt experience inspired by the film; an F9 Museum featuring vehicles, costumes and props; an exclusive screening of F9: The Director’s Cut; multiple custom photo ops; and more.

These efforts were bolstered by impactful organic social media, which captured nearly 40 pieces of original content for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, as well as a targeted influencer program and specially hosted trivia nights on UPHE’s own All Access Rewards loyalty channel that were livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube across three separate nights. Cumulative reach across these efforts topped 30 million impressions.

Finally, the campaign was complemented by huge media support across network, cable and digital, resulting in a combined 770 million impressions, and was rounded out by top placements across both digital and physical retail.

■ Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Released in theaters right before Thanksgiving, the home entertainment release in January/February capitalized on the height of awareness and allowed families, who were still leery of going to the theater, to enjoy the film sooner at home.

The global marketing team positioned the ‘PG-13’-rated Ghostbusters: Afterlife as both the follow-up to the franchise that fans had been waiting for and a fun family movie. The team focused on a broad, dual-pronged campaign with focused hits.

Media support included high-profile sports and prime hits. The social media team leaned into both fan content — highlighting Easter eggs and Ghostbusters gadgets — and content targeted toward families, including a “movie night” influencer campaign.

Press opportunities were robust, as many members of the cast did broadcast and radio interviews in support of the home entertainment release. And two Twitter watch parties — planned to the digital release and the physical release, with parent bloggers and an editorial outlet — allowed fans and families alike to join in and watch the movie together.

The immediacy of the home entertainment release, along with this strong, dual-pronged campaign approach, allowed for a very successful result.

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■ The Hunger Games: The Ultimate Steelbook Collection
Lionsgate

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the blockbuster first film in the “Hunger Games” franchise, Lionsgate released a commemorative 4K + BD + Digital Steelbook featuring all four movies in collectible packaging, marketed as The Hunger Games: The Ultimate Steelbook Collection.

Best Buy’s ‘The Hunger Games’ 4K Steelbook Collection

The Lionsgate creative team worked with 10 female artists across the globe to create stunning illustrations of Katniss Everdeen and hand-drawn illustrations of iconic quotes from the franchise. The Steelbook collection announcement received positive feedback on social media and in the press.
Lionsgate followed the announcement with a 10-day organic social campaign highlighting the Steelbook artwork. Lionsgate utilized Instagram’s “Collab” feature to amplify reach and total engagement by cross-posting on the Lionsgate Brand accounts and the “Hunger Games” accounts.

Additionally, in celebration of Women’s History Month, Lionsgate’s production team created and released a 20-minute documentary, titled Women on Fire — The Artists of The Hunger Games: The Ultimate Steelbook Collection about the creation of the collection and the incredible female artists behind it: Flore Maquin, Ise Ananphada, Alice X. Zhang, Tula Lotay, Paige Reynolds, Aracely Muñoz, Gemma O’Brien, Lauren Hom, Meni Chatzipanagiotou and Gia Graham.

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■ The Godfather: 50th Anniversary
Paramount Home Entertainment

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Francis Ford Coppola’s Academy Award-winning masterpiece The Godfather, Paramount and Coppola’s production company undertook a painstaking restoration of all three films in preparation for a limited theatrical run and a first-ever 4K Ultra HD release.

Paramount Home Entertainment launched a year-long campaign to celebrate the landmark anniversary and engage longtime fans while also reaching new generations through unique creative executions, strategic partnerships, multiple publicity events, targeted media and social activations.

The campaign kicked off with a new trailer launch followed by a gala street-naming ceremony on the Paramount lot for Francis Ford Coppola. The event included a red-carpet premiere with members of the cast in advance of the global theatrical re-release in the United States and 18 additional territories.

To generate additional publicity timed to the 4K Ultra HD release, Coppola was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and a screening was held at the new Academy Museum. To entice fans, the product offering included a Limited Collector’s Edition with a hardcover coffee table book, portrait art prints, and extensive new and legacy bonus content.

Efforts culminated on the Sunday following street date in a special celebratory moment during the Academy Awards, which featured an introduction by Sean “Diddy” Combs and appearances by Coppola, Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. In addition to massive publicity around each event, extensive coverage was secured worldwide in hundreds of top outlets through cast interviews, exclusive clip debuts, rare behind-the-scenes photos and more, ultimately generating more than half-a-billion impressions.

(L-R): Francis Ford Coppola, James Caan and Talia Shire discuss ‘The Godfather’ at a 50th anniversary screening at Paramount Studios Feb. 22, 2022.

Media support across broadcast, digital and print included a stand-out billboard in New York’s Times Square and spots promoting the home entertainment release appeared during Paramount Network’s airing of The Godfather Trilogy. Social media amplified all event coverage and created custom content across title and studio channels throughout the campaign to reach a wide array of audiences.

The studio will continue to celebrate the legacy of The Godfather with a dedicated podcast in the summer and a special exhibit at the Academy Museum in the fourth quarter. Ultimately, the global marketing efforts have resulted in a campaign befitting one of the greatest films in cinematic history.

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■ Spider-Man: No Way Home
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

As the entire world enthusiastically embraced the movie in theaters with more than $1.8 billion in box office revenue, the home entertainment campaign started out with a huge bang.

The marketing team launched a global announce on Feb. 23, aligning in key markets all over the world, with a re-creation of the famous “Pointing Spider-Men” meme, featuring Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. Launched on social media platforms across Sony, Spider-Man, Marvel and Tom Holland’s profiles, the meme set the internet on fire, climbing up to be the No. 6 top-performing Instagram post of all time and getting unprecedented press pickup with more than 2.2 billion impressions.

As part of the announce, a sizzle reel highlighting more than 80 minutes of bonus features — including a gag reel, Easter eggs and more of the three Spideys — was released to press and social media channels, amassing more than 4 million views in just one day.

Following the announce, retailers kicked off a “countdown” campaign sale, featuring the entire franchise of “Spider-Man” movies, supported by custom merchandising, CRM, and social developed by the marketing team.

Going into the digital release, key to the marketing campaign was fresh and bespoke content. From a publicity perspective, clips from the bonus materials were strategically released. Two custom assets led by the content and digital marketing teams, “Making of the Meme” and “The Amazing Peter #3,” an insights-based answer to social chatter, generated over 4 million and 8 million views, respectively.

Behind the scenes of Spider-Man: No Way Home (photo courtesy of Sony Pictures)

The media team assembled a massive campaign, activating support across premiere placements in sports, prime, network, cable, CTV and digital programming. They struck up partnerships with sports influencers George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers and Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Kittle created a custom post for his 1.3 million followers on Instagram and Twitter, generating 307,000 IG infeed views and 44,000 Twitter views in one day. Morant filmed a custom 30-second promo, queuing significant social engagement and speculation from fans and generating more than 4 million views in one week.

Custom merchandising takeovers developed by the marketing team, along with prime placements, left no one unaware that the movie was available to own.

To sustain the marketing momentum in the digital release window, the global marketing team launched a watch party, with an introduction by Tom Holland and promoted by influencers receiving “movie night” kits, as well as social support from Marvel and promotional partners.

Prize packs were also given to a limited number of lucky participants.
With a focus on fresh and bespoke, insights-based content, this campaign generated record-shattering results.

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■ Smallville: The Complete Series
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

The 20th anniversary of the premiere of “Smallville” on CW was Oct. 16, 2021. To celebrate this milestone, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment released Smallville: The Complete Series on Blu-ray Disc for the very first time just three days later, on Oct. 19. New packaging with 20th anniversary key art was designed for this boxed set, which includes 40 Blu-ray Discs containing all 218 episodes plus two additional DVDs featuring more than 28 hours of previously released bonus content.

The anniversary date fell on the same day as DC FanDome 2021.To capitalize on this fortuitous timing, a “surprise and delight” campaign was developed, timed to a cast reunion during the big DC virtual event. A new trailer kicked off the reunion, and moderator Tiffany Smith interviewed Tom Welling and Michael Rosenbaum while messages from series actors, including Kristin Kreuk, John Glover, Justin Hartley, James Marsters and many others, were played throughout the nine-minute segment. A longer 20-minute extended reunion video was released on the WBHE YouTube page at the conclusion of the DC FanDome segment, racking up more than 715,000 views. A media blast about the extended cut was sent to the press and talent touted it on their socials.

Welling, Rosenbaum and Kreuk also participated in interviews with top-tier and genre outlets including Yahoo!, EW.com, ET Online, TV Line, TV Insider, IGN, Collider and many more. Interviews were embargoed until after DC FanDome and generated more than 42 million impressions.

A two-week paid media flight began immediately following DC FanDome. Ads were posted on the WBHE Facebook and Instagram pages. At retail, the title was prioritized within the Amazon Always on non-branded ads surrounding the Blu-ray Disc release.

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■ Jungle Cruise
Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution

Just one month after Jungle Cruise arrived in theaters — and simultaneously on Disney+ with Premier Access — the In-Home team made the case for ownership, and helped ensure a successful in-home release across multiple windows.

They began a campaign aimed at families with kids 14 and under, as well as multicultural opportunities with the Black and African-American, AAPI and LGBTQ+ audiences. Marketing strategies included leaning into the Disney brand and paying homage to the theme park ride that inspired the movie in order to engage with families and Disneyphiles.

With the main cast all having made multiple press appearance recently, the In-Home team, while still embracing the playful banter between stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt, pivoted to other creative opportunities. One emphasized the thrilling elements that brought the film to life, including the animals in the Amazon Rainforest. Another differentiation of the in-home push was collectability messaging. Bonus clips and previously unseen footage of the cast were utilized for a series of press exclusives that stressed the must-own nature of the release. As a result, the title attained digital and physical sales well above target.

Campaign highlights included partnering with DisneyBounders — the fashion-forward way for fans to show their love for Disney. Instead of wearing full-on costumes as cosplayers do, DisneyBounders dress up in stylish, everyday outfits (known as DisneyBounds) that are inspired by a particular character. A special Jungle Cruise-themed content day was created at Disney World that provided the perfect platform for key influencers to generate content that created millions of impressions.

‘Jungle Cruise’-themed DisneyBounders at Disney World

A partnership with Trader Joe’s List, the popular social channel that is known for its Trader Joe’s shopping lists, reviews and recipes, also paid dividends. Trader Joe’s List went live on street date for a Jungle Cruise-themed haul at the store, and then created content inspired by the film, including multiple story slides, one giveaway post, and a video post on Instagram and YouTube, reaching the channel’s 1.7 million followers numerous times.

Finally, the October release date offered a few more opportunities. Walt Disney World celebrated its 50th anniversary that month and gift bags were created for the events, which included a digital code for Jungle Cruise. And, in celebration of Halloween, the In-Home team partnered with popular dog influencers and influencers with dogs to share Jungle Cruise-themed content tied to the holiday. To get the influencers in the spooky spirit, they were each sent a themed package, including a dog costume inspired by an animal found in the Amazon, a pumpkin hide-and-seek plush and Amazon-themed animal toys, along with boo-bites snacks and hats for the “paw-rents” to dress up, too. Each influencer also received a Jungle Cruise Boo-ray. The result was an additional 2.6 million estimated impressions.

These varied and inventive approaches not only saw overall sales targets exceeded, but also illustrated that a successful in-home release was possible across multiple windows even with a compressed timeline.

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■ Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: 20th Anniversary
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

November 2021 marked the 20th anniversary of the theatrical release of the beloved Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first film in the tremendously successful film franchise featuring eight Harry Potter films.

The Warner Bros. Home Entertainment marketing team — as managers of the Wizarding World franchise for home entertainment and custodians of its ongoing film lifecycle — worked hand-in-hand with WB’s cross-functional teams to initiate a strategy to celebrate this momentous occasion, secured buy-in from key stakeholders, and supported a year-long, global, enterprise-wide effort.

WBHE commissioned and released Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Magical Movie Mode on digital and physical — a whole new way to experience the film with pop-up commentary from director Chris Columbus, trivia, fun facts, deleted scenes and much more.

WBHE also developed a full suite of creative assets that was shared across all teams, divisions and partners globally via turnkey toolkits that maintained a consistent look and feel. These assets included hero artwork that re-imagined the original theatrical one-sheet, an accompanying line look across all Wizarding World films including Fantastic Beasts, refreshed trailers and spots, a full year of social media assets, and a printable activity packet to accompany movie viewings across various platforms, whether fans chose to watch their own copies at home, stream on HBO Max, or tune into airings on TV.

The culmination of the campaign found WBHE hosting a global press and content day with franchise founding director Chris Columbus that serviced the needs of many partners. WBHE also held an influencer screening, which along with mailers resulted in more than 10 million potential impressions. WB Studio Tours Hollywood’s new Harry Potter exhibits served as the stunning backdrop for the press day and film screening.

Retailers such as Apple supported the campaign with storefront merchandising and on social media. Additionally, an exclusive Anniversary Collector’s Edition with special Hogwarts Express packaging was created for Amazon.

WBHE supported HBO Max strategically with the release of Magical Movie Mode on Nov. 4, timed to the actual anniversary of the original film’s theatrical release. HBO Max, in turn, created an anniversary destination on the platform that leveraged WBHE’s key arts. A selection of extra bonus content throughout the year also was made available to further engage viewers.

The Harry Potter Global Franchise Development team leveraged the 20th anniversary to create a campaign around 20 iconic moments of magic from the film. Wizarding World Digital developed that idea into an online hub for fans on the Wizarding World website. The franchise team also amplified many of the social assets created by WBHE, including two fun filters, for use worldwide.

WB Consumer Products created programs to eventize the moment at retail. Licensee products figured heavily in home entertainment influencer unboxings and in activity packets with recipes and more. Additionally, influencer videos with domino artist and YouTuber Hevesh5, who integrated Magical Movie Mode product into one of her Harry Potter masterpieces, logged 25 million views alone. And Themed Entertainment rolled out cafés in Harry Potter-crazed Japan, using WBHE’s creative assets.

WB’s Alternate Content team re-released the first film with hundreds of screenings worldwide, featuring home entertainment artwork on posters, and included a 10-minute preview of Magical Movie Mode that played after the main feature.

The 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone amounted to a year of truly unforgettable magic.

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■ Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

As the world began to come out from under the heavy weight of the pandemic, and theaters began to open wider, Sony Pictures launched Venom: Let There Be Carnage in theaters in October 2021. This set the stage for a ramped-up home entertainment campaign that focused on the strong franchise and ideal holiday timing.

The global marketing team deftly re-positioned the home entertainment launch to holiday audiences looking for a bit of popcorn entertainment at home over the Thanksgiving and winter holidays. Media and digital marketing created hyper-focused assets to reach all audiences 13 and up.

The social media team leaned heavily into engaging content on key platforms to reach young audiences with tongue-in-cheek campaigns that reflected the lighthearted interplay that audiences loved in the film. Tactics included conversational and seasonal GIFs, AR effects for Instagram and Facebook, with QR code on in-store displays, and custom content like the rom-com spoof which aimed at showcasing the action film as a seasonal rom-com.

Timed to the season, the social team created a 10-hour Venom-themed Yule log where audiences could pop on YouTube and enjoy a crackling fireplace alongside quips and dialogue between Venom and Eddie as they enjoyed hot chocolate. RVOD customers also enjoyed programming the Yule log into their barker channel for added fun and visibility.

A key pillar of the marketing campaign was to showcase more than an hour of behind-the-scenes footage and special features. Part of this was an exclusive deleted scene that grabbed more than 6 million views on YouTube alone.

From a publicity perspective, press and influencers continued to share their love of Venom. To blow out the release, publicity enlisted a popular rage room space in downtown Los Angeles where they themed out multiple rooms to Eddie Brock’s apartment. Upon arrival, all participating press and influencers got geared up with highly desired “Eddie B.” branded coveralls and went into their assigned room to take out their rage like Venom. One of the biggest hits was the creation of Mrs. Chen’s Mobile Convenience Store, where Peggy Lu (as Mrs. Chen) hung out for the entire day and conducted interviews, photo ops, and helped distribute iconic “Chen’s Market” tote bags. This day had a social reach of 69 million.

The media team created massive awareness by taking a data-driven approach that identified and ultimately converted key audiences. Tactics included leveraging first-party data, contextual targeting and affinity targeting. To spike urgency among young males and dads, Sony Pictures marketers activated across key sports events such as NFL Sunday football as well as NBA programming and further broadened out by blanketing networks such as NBC and ABC, and various cable networks.

All these unique ingredients brought the action and fun together and resulted in an immersive movie-watching experience.

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■ Yellowstone: Season 4
Paramount Home Entertainment

Based on the “Yellowstone” season three cliffhanger and the series’ explosive viewership growth, Paramount Home Entertainment was prepared with a season four home entertainment marketing campaign that spanned six months and established Yellowstone: Season 4 as the biggest TV season release since the final season of “Game of Thrones.”

PHE capitalized on the fan frenzy leading up to the November season premiere in multiple ways. Season four was made available for pre-order through digital retailers four weeks before the premiere. Supported by a digital marketing campaign that reached the series’ growing audience via Roku as well as social platforms Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Reddit, season four registered a stunning 100,000 season pass pre-orders in addition to increased sales of the first three seasons.

To promote the disc release, the home entertainment marketing team launched a highly giftable line look with custom decals for seasons one, two and three. The collectible catalog program achieved support equivalent to a theatrical new release across brick-and-mortar and online channels during the season four broadcast window and holiday season.

As the season came to a close in early January, focus shifted to the season four disc campaign. While the DVD and Blu-ray Disc were made available for pre-order after the season premiere, PHE synchronized its release date announcement to the season finale. Online marketing and social media efforts spiked disc pre-orders by teasing the release’s four hours of special features, including never-before-seen featurettes that deliver on “Yellowstone” fans’ desire to delve deeper into the compelling world created by Taylor Sheridan.

As the March 8 release date approached, the marketing campaign targeted both longtime fans of the franchise as well as new viewers just now engaging in the cultural conversation about the series. The media campaign delivered high-profile spots during sports and scripted series, and Paramount Global brought to bear the power of its portfolio with company-wide support from CBS, Paramount+, Paramount Network, CMT, Smithsonian and other networks.

Public relations efforts were supported by cast members Jefferson White (“Jimmy”) and Jen Landon (“Teeter”). An innovative influencer campaign with experienced creators in metal working, glassblowing and farrier work re-imagined the iconic Y brand while champion lassoers and cowboy cocktails created festive moments for the release. Organic social and influencer superfan posts drove awareness for more than 30 million followers and fans of the show.

Grassroots marketing across the country reached radio and podcast listeners, with a targeted focus on country and western. To further bolster word-of-mouth, Yellowstone: Season 4 was featured in pre-show advertising and print programs at world-renowned live music venues such as the Grand Old Opry and the Ryman Theater.

PHE further tapped into sports fans with multiple activations. In addition to grassroots marketing at rodeos and barrel races, a high-profile sports marketing event showcased the release during the NHL’s Nashville Predators games at Bridgestone Arena, the most-ticketed venue in the world.

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The Power Teams

Paramount Home Entertainment

The following worked on both The Godfather and “Yellowstone” campaigns:

  • Michele Bell, EVP, Worldwide Creative Services, oversees all of the division’s product packaging and digital design, in-store and online creative assets, and print, broadcast and online advertising.
  • Alanna Powers, SVP, Brand Marketing, spearheads the division’s global marketing strategies, product development, and management of all feature-length new releases, library titles and acquisitions.
  • Scott Klein, SVP, Brand Marketing, oversees worldwide transactional release strategies, marketing, and management of all television series distributed by Paramount Global.
  • Melinda Froelich, SVP, International Marketing, leads the international marketing teams in developing strategic plans for all titles and products by territory.
  • Hilarie Hildebrandt, SVP, Digital Sales, Global Accounts and Customer Marketing, oversees the strategic vision and execution of consumer-focused marketing programs with all global digital accounts.
  • Michele Rumain, VP, Media, oversees domestic home entertainment media planning for new-release, catalog, acquisitions and television product.
  • Michelle Willey, VP, Worldwide Creative Services, leads creative for new releases, catalog and television campaigns, including product packaging and digital design, in-store and online creative assets, and print, broadcast and online advertising.
  • Lin Park, Director, Global Digital Marketing, leads the division’s global digital and social marketing strategies, creating impactful campaigns for feature-length new releases, library titles, acquisitions and TV series.
  • Dashiell Winston, Senior Manager, Global Digital Marketing, leads the division’s global digital and social marketing strategies, creating impactful campaigns for feature-length new releases, library titles, acquisitions and TV series.

 

The PR team that worked on The Godfather and “Yellowstone” consisted of Kirsten Anderson, Pamela Grant, Alan Meier, Deborah Peters, Sharon Ramirez and Deborah Thompson.

The following people worked on The Godfather campaign:

  • Todd Sokolove, Director, Brand Marketing, oversees home entertainment product development and promotions for Paramount’s film library
  • Irene Bassett, Director, Brand Marketing, oversees home entertainment marketing activations for Paramount’s film library

 

The following people worked on the “Yellowstone” campaign”

  • Laura Kanamori, Executive Director, Brand Marketing, oversees physical home entertainment marketing for television series from all Viacom networks.
  • Jennifer O’Keefe, Director, Brand Marketing, also manages physical home entertainment marketing for television series from all Viacom networks.
  • Emily Guenther, Senior Manager, Brand Marketing, oversees TVOD home entertainment marketing for television series from Paramount Network, Comedy Central, BET, MTV, VH1, CMT, TV Land, Logo and Smithsonian.

 

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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

The marketing team that worked on the Ghostbusters: Afterlife campaign consisted of Lexine Wong, Jennifer Anderson, Katie Ullrich, Abram Lugioyo, Patrick Serrano, Joe Burg, Rene Wilson, Antonio Gimenez-Palazon, Patrick Santiago, Christine Galloway, Kaitlyn Slover, Michael Nixon, Aaron Plourde, Jane Mohon, Jana Simmons, Doug Momii, April Cozart and Courtney Yeh.

The marketing team that worked on the Spider-Man: No Way Home campaign consisted of Lexine Wong, Jennifer Anderson, Katie Ullrich, Gregg Shack, Joe Burg, Derek Mihalik, April Florentino, Eric Kent, Amy Tesser-Marquez, Derek Schulte, Alex Andujar, Tara Rais, Jane Mohon, Jason Rumminger, Dylan Godshall, Christine Galloway, Michael Nixon, Diana Cheng, Jana Simmons, Doug Momii, April Cozart and
Courtney Yeh.

The marketing team that worked on the Venom: Let There Be Carnage campaign consisted of Lexine Wong, Jennifer Anderson, Cynthia Munoz, Abram Lugioyo, Patrick Serrano, Derek Mihalik, Stephanie Wu, Emily Ossip, Nico McManus, Robin Davids, Aaron Plourde, Jane Mohon, Diana Cheng, Rob Czechowicz, Terence Mulcahy, Jana Simmons, Doug Momii, April Cozart and Courtney Yeh.

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Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

  • Hilary Hoffman, EVP, Global Marketing, 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 overall approach for consumer engagement, including developing and 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.
  • Pam Blum, SVP, Global Marketing, oversees creative marketing services and the development of value-added content for the studio’s physical and digital releases on a worldwide basis. Her responsibilities also extend to include maximizing opportunities cross-divisionally within NBC Universal.
  • Lea Porteneuve, SVP, Global Publicity & Communications, oversees global business, technology and executive communications for UPHE as well as leads strategy and advancement of brand-defining publicity initiatives in support of the studio’s digital and physical in-home offerings around the world.
  • Denise Haro, SVP, Global Consumer Insights & Strategy, oversees 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.
  • Sandy Choi, SVP, Global Brand Marketing & North America Partnerships, manages worldwide marketing for Focus Features’ home entertainment new-release slate as well as all of UPHE’s North American third-party partner relationships. Additionally for all of UPHE’s distribution partners, she oversees the development and execution of all marketing campaigns across both physical and digital platforms and leads the cross-functional team responsible for the overall business.
  • Stephanie Lutjens, SVP, Global Brand Marketing, spearheads 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.
  • Joe Eibert, VP, Digital Marketing, oversees UPHE’s owned media marketing, including CRM, websites, influencers and promotions. Eibert also leads division-wide efforts on innovation and multi-cultural opportunities.
  • Nadia Haney, VP, Emerging Partnerships & Formats, is responsible for Universal’s entrée and advancement of new formats, alternative distribution partner marketing, and airline content licensing. Additionally, she serves as a primary liaison for cross-industry growth initiatives.
  • Ted Chi, SVP, Digital Marketing and Media Strategy, oversees the digital strategy and execution for UPHE’s in-home film releases. His remit includes paid, earned and owned media with an emphasis on data and analytics.

 

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Lionsgate

Lionsgate home entertainment marketing executives who worked on The Hunger Games: Ultimate Steelbook Collection campaign include Amelia Rogers, Erin Carter, Tiffany Olivares, Kathy Arendain and Aaron Gershman.

Top 20 Indie Power Players 2022: The Movers and Shakers in Independent Film Distribution

Welcome to Media Play News’ Top 20 Indie Power Players list, our first-ever salute to distributors of independent film, series and niche content. We’re looking beyond the big-budget theatrical blockbusters and streaming originals,and focusing on what for years been the backbone of the film industry, particularly from a creative perspective.

In selecting our top 20, a panel of judges from the independent film distribution world chose executives who play a key role in bringing indie product to the home market, which has traditionally been its ultimate destination —either disc, digital or streaming.

We also stayed away from so-called “indies” that are owned by studios or big media companies. And we weighed our list heavily in favor of independent distributors rather than film producers —which is why some companies on our list are also involved in bringing to the home market an eclectic assortment of library content, from classic and cult movies to retro TV shows.

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Danny Fisher is CEO of FilmRise, a New York-based film and television studio that is one of the world’s largest providers of content in the AVOD/FAST space. Fisher created a unique data analytics model that set in motion the company’s successful approach to acquisition and distribution of ad-supported content. Fisher has guided the company from a startup in the basement of his Brooklyn residence in 2012 to one of the largest third-party providers of content to streaming platforms, with tens of thousands of FilmRise titles currently streaming all over the world. Fisher also created the FilmRise Streaming Network, one of the world’s largest independently owned portfolios of ad-supported streaming apps and FAST channels. FilmRise offers movies and television shows across all genres, including Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Kitchen Nightmares”; the iconic true crime series “Unsolved Mysteries” and “Forensic Files”; the classic American TV series “The Rifleman,” “3rd Rock From the Sun” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show”; longstanding British favorites such as “Midsomer Murders” and “Doc Martin”; as well as the most-streamed free-TV series of 2021, “Heartland.” Before launching FilmRise, Fisher for nearly 30 years ran the City Lights Media Group, a film and television production and distribution company with one of New York’s largest post-production facilities.

Bill Bromiley is president of Saban Films, the film acquisition and distribution venture from Saban Capital Group. Founded in 2014, the company focuses on commercial, high-quality, talent driven films, boarding projects at all stages of production and through release across multiple platforms in North America and select international territories, including a day-and-date theatrical/VOD release strategy. Saban Films’ successes have run the gamut from theatrical triumphs such as the horror reboot Wrong Turn, starring Charlotte Vega and Matthew Modine, to Brad Furman’s acclaimed City of Lies, starring Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker. Recently acquired Saban titles include Gabe Polsky’s frontier epic Butcher’s Crossing, with Nicolas Cage; K. Asher Levin’s thriller Dig, with Thomas Jane; Jesse Harris’ survival thriller Borrego, starring Lucy Hale; and Julian Gilbey’s mountaineering thriller Summit Fever, with Ryan Phillippe. Prior to joining Saban, Bromiley served as chief acquisitions officer of RLJ Entertainment, where he was responsible for the acquisition of all content, including feature films, television programming, live events, and special-interest titles, and oversaw the development and distribution of the Image, One Village, Madacy, Amity and Slingshot film brands. Bromiley also previously served as president of First Look Home Entertainment, where he launched and oversaw the home entertainment division for First Look Studios, including sales, marketing, and acquisitions.

Chris McGurk is chairman and CEO of Cinedigm, a publicly traded entertainment company with dual headquarters in Los Angeles and New York. There, he leads a team bringing streaming-first content and next-generation technology to myriad partners. Cinedigm holds more than 40,000 film and TV assets with over 33 million monthly active users, more than 700,000 SVOD subscribers and over 900 million unique customer devices. Notable recent releases the company has brought to market include Incarnation, a sinister horror flick starring Taye Diggs, and the upcoming Independent Spirit Award nominee 7 Days, a romantic comedy that marks Roshan Sethi’s feature directorial debut. The company also launched The Bob Ross Channel and Bloody Disgusting TV. McGurk has enjoyed a long and transformative executive career in the film, TV and streaming content industries. Before joining Cinedigm in 2011, McGurk was the founder and CEO of Overture Films, and CEO of Anchor Bay Entertainment. McGurk also served as vice chairman of the board and COO of MGM Studios, where he played a leading role in the iconic studio’s reinvigoration. Earlier in his career, McGurk served in various executive capacities at Universal Pictures, including president and COO, and several senior executive roles at The Walt Disney Studios, including Studios CFO and president of The Walt Disney Motion Picture Group.

Berry Meyerowitz is the co-founder of Quiver Distribution, a film and TV company operating in the United States, Canada and international markets. Quiver acquires, develops, finances and/or produces talent-driven films from both established and emerging stars and filmmakers, in addition to exploiting its library of 700 movies and series. The company produced, and this year will release, Walter Hill’s Western Dead for a Dollar, with Christoph Waltz, Willem Dafoe and Rachel Brosnahan, and Neil LaBute’s Out of the Blue, with Diane Kruger, Ray Nicholson and Hank Azaria. Recently, Quiver released the disaster thriller 13 Minutes with Amy Smart, Thora Birch and Paz Vega. Before launching Quiver with partner Jeff Sackman, Meyerowitz founded Phase 4 Films, where he served as president and CEO and built the company into one of the leading independent U.S. distributors. Following the sale of Phase 4 Films to eOne, Meyerowitz stayed on as president of eOne’s U.S. film business and helped launch its global digital initiative. Meyerowitz previously served as president of Peace Arch Home Entertainment after Peace Arch purchased his company, kaBOOM! Entertainment. Earlier, Meyerowitz worked at 20th Century Fox as marketing director, where he worked on successful campaigns for films such as There’s Something About Mary, The Full Monty and the “Star Wars” trilogy.

Andrew Brown & Kent Sanderson are co-presidents of Decal, a home entertainment distribution company formed in February 2021 as a joint venture between the Neon and Bleecker Street film labels. The company acquires a wide array of independent films and presents them to audiences across multiple platforms. Since launch, Decal has released Mallory Everton and Stephen Meek’s Stop and Go; Jaco Bouwer’s Gaia; and Ride the Eagle, starring Jake Johnson, J.K. Simmons and Susan Sarandon. In addition, the company manages the home entertainment rights of both Neon and Bleecker Street, as well as XYZ’s curated slate of high-profile, thought-provoking films, and is continuing to add other key partnerships. The first film to be distributed through Decal was Bleecker Street’s Supernova. Other recent releases include the much-ballyhooed Spencer, with Oscar-nominated Kristen Stewart as the late Princess Diana; Pig, with Nicolas Cage trying to retrieve his kidnapped truffle pig; The Last Son, with Sam Worthington as a murderous outlaw cursed by a terrible prophecy that he will be killed by one of his own children; and Dream Horse, a feel-good indie hit with Toni Collette. Brown doubles as SVP of digital strategy, marketing and distribution at Neon, which he joined in 2017. Neon is best known for such films as Ingrid Goes West; I, Tonya; Three Identical Strangers; and Parasite, the South Korean black comedy that in 2019 became the first non-English language film in the history of the Academy Awards to win coveted Best Picture prize. Previously, he spent more than a decade at Time Warner Cable (now Spectrum), where he rose to senior director of VOD. Sanderson also serves as president of acquisitions and ancillary distribution at Bleecker Street, which he joined in 2014. after the company was launched by Andrew Karpen, the former co-CEO of Focus Features. Earlier, he spent six years at Focus Features, the acclaimed indie now owned by Comcast. 

Peter Jarowey is a partner and CEO of global independent distributor Vertical Entertainment, where he oversees the acquisitions, sales and marketing operations, as well as the day-to-day distribution of Vertical’s diverse slate of films delivered to audiences across all platforms. As Vertical’s first employee in 2012, he has played an integral role in the company’s impressive growth. Most recently, he led Vertical to the film industry forefront by meeting the unprecedented audience demand with unique distribution models via theatrical and streaming platforms. He has been instrumental in growing Vertical’s worldwide audience to territories such as the U.K., Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America. Vertical’s films include Krystin Ver Linden’s Alice, starring Keke Palmer, Common and Jonny Lee Miller, which premiered in competition at Sundance 2022; Phillip Noyce’s The Desperate Hour, starring Naomi Watts; and Lyle Mitchell Corbine Jr.’s Wild Indian, which received four Independent Spirit Award nominations. Past films include the Gotham Award-winner Miss Juneteenth; the Independent Spirit Award-winner Other People; the BAFTA Award-winner Under the Shadow; and the breakout hits The Hating Game, starring Lucy Hale and Austin Stowell, and Toronto Film Festival Midnight Madness breakout Shadow in the Cloud, starring Chloë Grace Moretz. Prior to joining Vertical, Jarowey worked at ARC Entertainment managing acquisitions and marketing. He is an alumnus of Denison University.

Garson Foos is the CEO and co-founder of Shout! Factory and its filmed entertainment production and distribution arm, Shout! Studios, which specializes in all aspects of distribution, including theatrical, VOD, digital, DVD/Blu-ray Disc and broadcast. Shout! finances, produces, acquires and distributes an eclectic slate of movies, animated features, specialty films and series. Shout! owns and operates content libraries including “Mystery Science Theater 3000” (in partnership with creator Joel Hodgson) and the Roger Corman New Horizons Pictures library, and operates the streaming service Shout! Factory TV and its family of FAST channels. Recent Shout! releases include the acclaimed Western Old Henry, starring Tim Blake Nelson; the dramedy Language Lessons, starring Mark Duplass and Natalie Morales; the comedy-drama Misbehaviour, starring Keira Knightley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw; Standing Up, Falling Down, starring Billy Crystal and Ben Schwartz; the family feature Coppelia, starring ballerina Michaela DePrince; and the action thriller Castle Falls, directed by Dolph Lundgren and starring Scott Adkins and Lundgren. Foos got his start in entertainment while in high school, working at the iconic Rhino Records store run by his older brother, Richard. The two continued to work together at the Rhino Records label, where Garson Foos rose to EVP of marketing. After the company was sold to Warner Music, the Foos brothers and partner Bob Emmer in 2003 launched Shout!

Ed Seaman is CEO of MVD Entertainment Group, a full-service music and movie distribution firm that exclusively represents thousands of audio and visual products for DVD, Blu-ray Disc, CD, vinyl and digital rights, worldwide. Recent and upcoming releases include Where the Red Fern Grows (2003), starring musician Dave Matthews; 1966’s Red Angel, from director Yasuzo Masumura, and Mario Bava’s Shock (1977), both from Arrow Video US; and the 1982 Matt Dillon starrer Liar’s Moon, part of the MVD Rewind Collection; along with collector’s editions of MGM’s Miami Blues and The Fabulous Baker Boys, part of the MVD Marquee Collection. “Serving Artists and Audiences” is MVD ‘s purpose statement and has served as a guiding light for Seaman throughout his career. Founded by industry veteran Tom Seaman in 1987, MVD remains an independent family owned and operated business. Today, MVD’s customer base consists of major retail chains and digital platforms, along with independent retailers and digital sites. At the outset of the pandemic, MVD urged its label partners to continue releasing and promoting content, stressing that home entertainment would benefit from the lockdowns, and that e-commerce and streaming/VOD would be the biggest winners. This led to MVD greatly exceeding the goals and expectations of its key label partners in 2021, driving sales to all-time highs.

Richard Lorber is the president and CEO of Kino Lorber Inc., a leading film distributor that brings more than 350 titles annually to the home entertainment market through physical and digital releases. The company specializes in international, documentary, independent and classic cinema. Recent releases include Man on the Moon, Milos Forman’s acclaimed Andy Kaufman biopic starring Jim Carrey; the Kosovan drama Hive, which won three Sundance Film Festival awards and was Oscar shortlisted for Best International Feature; and four seasons of the Italian gangster series “Gomorrah.” Kino Lorber also releases classics on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, most recently John Sturges’ The Great Escape, Orson Welles’ A Touch of Evil, and the John le Carré adaptation Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. An industry pioneer with more than 40 years’ experience, Lorber co-founded and served as the head of Fox Lorber for 20 years. He later spent six years as president of Koch Lorber Films, partnered with Entertainment One. He acquired Kino International in 2009 to form Kino Lorber. The French government honored Lorber’s cultural contributions by awarding him the “Chevalier de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.” He is a member of the Producers’ Guild of America and the executives branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

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Nolan Gallagher & Michael Murphy: Gallagher is founder and CEO, and Michael Murphy is president of Gravitas Ventures, a worldwide film distributor that connects filmmakers and producers with a global audience of more than 1 billion people. Recent releases include the fantasy adventure film The King’s Daughter, starring Pierce Brosnan and Kaya Scodelario; Queen Bees, with Ellen Burstyn, Ann-Margret, Jane Curtin, James Caan and Loretta Devine; the heartwarming Our Friend, starring Dakota Johnson, Jason Segel and Casey Affleck; the Independent Spirit Award nominee The Killing of Kenneth Chamberlain, starring Frankie Faison; and the powerful documentary Finding Kendrick Johnson. Gallagher founded Gravitas Ventures in 2006; under his leadership, the company has become a global all-rights theatrical distributor that has released more than 3,000 films on VOD. Gallagher has been named a Hollywood New Leader by Variety and was chosen as part of the inaugural Indiewire Influencer class, which recognized leaders in the independent film industry. He has spoken on numerous industry panels, including at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the SXSW Film Festival and the Produced By Conference. Prior to founding Gravitas, Gallagher held various corporate marketing roles at Comcast, Warner Bros. and General Cinema Theatres. Murphy has been instrumental in growing Gravitas Ventures’ distribution footprint. He manages distribution of Gravitas’ library to more than 100 transactional, subscription and ad-sponsored VOD operators on a worldwide basis. Murphy has spoken about film distribution at many industry panels, including at the SXSW Film Festival, the Palo Alto Film Festival, Variety’s BRIC Summit, Variety’s BritWeek Film and TV Summit, and the WestDoc Conference. Prior to joining Gravitas Ventures in 2007, Murphy was a captain in the U.S. Army who won the Bronze Star during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Both men are natives of Cleveland, Ohio.

Andreas Olavarria is president and CEO of Level 33 Entertainment, a global film sales and distribution company he founded in 2010 “to break the mold of the traditional Hollywood movie distribution model,” according to the company. Level 33 distributes and sells content across all media platforms including theatrical, VOD, DVD and television. Olavarria has overseen the acquisition, marketing and distribution of more than 100 independent films, including the action thriller Unleashed, directed by Finn Taylor and starring Kate Micucci and Sean Astin; the survival drama Mountain Man, directed by Cameron Labine and starring Chace Crawford and Tyler Labine; and the romantic drama Copenhagen, directed by Mark Raso and starring Gethin Anthony. Olavarria also has produced and executive produced a number of feature films and TV movies, most recently the family film A Unicorn for Christmas, starring Abby James Witherspoon, Sunny Mabrey and Chuck Wicks. Level 33 has a slate of family friendly feature films in active development. Olavarria has more than 25 years of experience in the development, production and distribution of motion pictures, having worked as an executive at both 20th Century Fox and The Walt Disney Studios as well as in the world of independent film. He is a member of the Producers Guild of America and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Shaun Hill is CEO and owner of Indican Pictures, an independent film distribution company that has released more than 400 films. The primary audiences for Indican’s films are home audiences, and the company currently releases upwards of 30 films annually on DVD/Blu-ray Disc and through digital retailers. The company also has key digital/streaming partnerships with Giant Pictures, Lionsgate Pictures and Magnolia Pictures. Indican films are currently available on Apple TV, Netflix, Tubi, The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Vudu, Vizio, IMDbTV, Xumo, HBO, Hoopla and Showtime Networks. Recent releases include Guest Artist, starring and produced by Jeff Daniels; the recent GLAAD nominee for Best Film Gossamer Folds; and Pond Life, starring Esme Creed-Miles and Daisy Edgar Jones. The company has won NAACP awards, Spirit awards, Image awards and Prism awards, and currently has over 80% female employees. Hill co-founded the company in 2004 with Randolph Kret. She was responsible for The Boondock Saints getting a release by securing a deal with Blockbuster, releasing it into theaters, and overseeing its 10-plus year theatrical run into cult status. Hill started in production and produced seven feature films before working as a programmer for the Hollywood Film Festival and Slamdance. She has three feature films slated to go into production in 2022.

Nick Savva is the VP of content distribution for Giant Pictures, a digital distribution label placing movies, documentaries and episodic TV on VOD and streaming platforms in North America and worldwide. Savva began his film career at BBC Films in his native London and later worked at Tribeca Films. He has specialized in digital distribution for independent movies and documentaries for nearly 20 years. Based in New York, Giant Pictures under Savva over the past 12 months has launched FAST channels for the Tribeca Festival, Kino Lorber and Baby Einstein, with exponential growth in this category projected for 2022. The company has also established itself as a trusted digital aggregator for multiple indie labels, including Drafthouse Films, Abramorama, Utopia, Topic Studios, Participant, Passion River, BMG, Breaker, Indican Pictures, Magic Light and others. Giant Pictures has more than 1,000 titles under management and releases upwards of 40 new indie features annually. The company also has key streaming partnerships with Apple TV, Netflix, Tubi, The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Peacock, Vudu, Vizio, IMDbTV, Xumo, Kanopy and AMC Networks. Recent releases include The End of the Storm, about Liverpool Football Club’s historic win, on Paramount+; 13 Fanboy, about a horror movie super fan, available on demand; and #Like, about a young woman’s search for justice, available on Shudder.

Joseph Amodei is president and CEO of Virgil Films & Entertainment, which he founded in 2003 to develop, acquire, market, distribute and produce movies in the narrative feature film, documentary, episodic television and special interest categories. Under Amodei’s leadership the company has released such award-winning hits as Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock’s notorious take-down of fast-food; Restrepo, an Oscar nominated documentary about a U.S. platoon in Afghanistan; I Am Chris Farley; the plant-based diet documentary Forks Over Knives; and Glen Campbell … I’ll Be Me, a documentary that follows the legendary singer-songwriter on his farewell tour after he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Amodei worked at Turner Home Entertainment and Polygram Video, and in 2000 was named president of USA Home Entertainment. While releasing films such as Traffic, Being John Malkovich and Gosford Park into the home entertainment world, he learned what it took to get these films noticed. The indie spirit that made USA such a success lives on with Virgil, where Amodei has been able to take his own passion and love for “everything movies” and turn it into a way to help talented young filmmakers realize their dream of getting their films seen. Amodei produced the documentary Clarence Clemons: Who Do I Think I Am?, and executive produced the Netflix series “Happy Jail.”

Bill Sondheim is CEO of Greenfield Media LLC, which provides distribution services reaching all digital platforms and physical outlets. He is also involved in executive-producing independent cast-driven films, as well as strategy and management for streaming OTT services. Sondheim has been promoting independent film for more than two decades. He was president of PolyGram Video, where he brought to market such films as Fargo, The Usual Suspects, Four Weddings and a Funeral and The Big Lebowski. He later was president of GoodTimes Entertainment, oversaw the development of Sony Music Entertainment’s dual-disc technology initiative, and headed entertainment and worldwide distribution for Gaiam, later Gaiam Vivendi. In 2013 he began a six-year run as president of Cinedigm, where he oversaw the company’s expansion into OTT and China. Sondheim most recently founded Greenfield Media LLC in 2019 and has grown the client list to more than 30 producers and production companies, streaming OTT services (SVOD, AVOD and FAST), and traditional distribution services. In the past year Greenfield Media has executive-produced four films and secured streaming and broadcast deals with several major cable operators as a producer rep, including The Hallmark Channel and UPTV. Greenfield Media has also secured label deals handling physical sales for The Asylum, Neon and Bleecker Street, Verdugo, and Film Movement.

Ilia Beizerman is SVP of operations and strategic partnerships at Distribution Solutions, a division of Alliance Entertainment that aggregates and distributes product from independent film labels in North America. Distribution Solutions’ distributed labels include Mill Creek, PBS, Vertical and Decal, the year-old joint venture between the Neon and Bleecker Street film labels. Among Distribution Solutions’ recent releases are the critically acclaimed drama Pig, starring Nicolas Cage, from Decal/Neon; the biographical drama Joe Bell, starring Mark Wahlberg, from Vertical; and RLJ Films’ mystery thriller The Dry, starring Eric Bana. Beizerman began his career at Paramount Pictures and later moved to Universal Pictures before embarking on a 12-year run at Sony Pictures, where he ultimately rose to executive director of strategic partnerships. While at Sony, he was a driving force in the 2006 creation of Distribution Solutions. His operations expertise and talent for relationship-building were pivotal in launching the company as a standalone in 2018. Beizerman formed initial partnerships with Criterion and RLJ Entertainment. Under his leadership, the label and studio partner count has hit 38, with more than 8,300 active films in the physical marketplace and more than 3,200 hours of published digital content, available through digital retailers such as Amazon, Vudu, and Redbox on Demand.

Eric Min is GM and head of content for 1091 Pictures, the film distributor launched in 2019 when Sony Music subsidiary The Orchard divested its film and television division. Min joined in November 2020 to spearhead content acquisition, client management and release management, and now oversees the marketing department as well. 1091 offers film and series owners full-service distribution to more than 100 destinations in more than 100 countries, including the major subscription services, digital stores, and AVOD channels such as Pluto TV, Tubi and The Roku Channel. Recent releases include Runt, starring the late Cameron Boyce, about bullied high school seniors seeking revenge; the documentary Pharma Bro, profiling Martin Shkreli, the hedge fund manager who raised drug prices after taking over pharmaceutical companies; Electric Jesus, a music comedy starring Brian Baumgartner and Judd Nelson about a touring Christian heavy metal rock band; and the documentary Clerk., about the career and life of filmmaker and raconteur Kevin Smith. Min was previously at XYZ Films, where he was part of the international sales and distribution team and led worldwide sales, distribution and acquisition of feature films. Prior to joining XYZ, Min served as EVP for film and TV at Aldamisa Entertainment, where he ran international sales, distribution and content acquisitions. Earlier, Min was VP of international sales and distribution for Seven Arts Pictures.

Michael Rosenberg is president of Film Movement, a New York City-based film distributor founded in 2002. The company specializes in world cinema, independent films and documentaries, and releases more than 20 new films each year. Its catalog includes titles by directors such as Hirokazu Koreeda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner, Andrei Konchalovsky, Andrzej Wajda, Diane Kurys, Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. Recent and upcoming releases include Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy; the classic music documentary Deep Blues; the Belgian drama Playground, which won the FIPRESCI Prize in the Cannes Film Festival and was Oscar shortlisted for Best International Feature; and Ang Lee’s first feature film, Pushing Hands. In 2015, Film Movement launched the reissue label Film Movement Classics, featuring new restorations released theatrically as well as on Blu-ray and DVD, including films by such noted directors as Eric Rohmer, Stanley Kwan and Peter Greenaway. Film Movement Plus, a subscription streaming service, is available at FilmMovementPlus.com as well as on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and mobile devices. Rosenberg spent more than 25 years working for Koch Entertainment and its successor company, Entertainment One U.S. He became an owner of Film Movement in 2014. He is a member of the Producers’ Guild of America.

Top 10 for 2021: The Biggest Home Entertainment News Stories

The year 2021 has been an eventful one across the home entertainment landscape as consumers further embraced streaming, while companies operating in legacy transactional markets adjusted their business strategies to survive.

Here are the top 10 home entertainment news stories of 2020 as chosen by the Media Play News editorial staff.

1. The Rise of AVOD and FAST — Numerous new subscription streaming services began to strain home entertainment budgets, with the average consumer, according to a TiVo study, spending $142.20 monthly on high-speed internet and SVOD — significantly more than the average $100 cable bill. Nearly 60% of respondents in a Trade Desk study said they spend too much money on multiple OTT subscriptions, with more than 66% saying escalating fees were a source of frustration. In a Future Today report, 50.6% of respondents said they opted for AVOD to end paying for SVOD. As streaming fatigue and the hit to their wallet began to set in, consumers increasingly turned to free, ad-supported services (FAST, AVOD) such as Tubi. Tubi in fact rose to one of the top 10 apps downloaded by U.S. consumers in 2021 at No. 6, just behind SVOD services HBO Max, Netflix, Disney+, Peacock and Hulu, in order.

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2. Media Mergers: Two bombshell announcements came in May, both geared toward streaming. The first was AT&T and Discovery’s announcement of a plan to  combine WarnerMedia’s Warner Bros., HBO, Turner and CNN media assets with Discovery’s reality TV-based HGTV, Food Network, Animal Planet, Magnolia, Eurosport and international entertainment businesses to create a new standalone global entertainment company focused on streaming video. Discovery CEO David Zaslav was slated to lead the new company, later dubbed Warner Bros. Discovery, with a management team and operational and creative leadership from both companies. A week later came word that Amazon would acquire MGM Studios for $8.45 billion, which CNBC at the time said marked “its boldest move yet into the entertainment industry and turbocharging its streaming ambitions.” Amazon at the time said it wanted to leverage MGM’s filmmaking history and catalog to boost Amazon Studios. “The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team,” Mike Hopkins, SVP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.”

3. Sudden Impact: WarnerMedia made headlines at the end of last year when in response to the coronavirus pandemic, it announced plans to make its theatrical slate through 2021 concurrently available on the HBO Max subscription streaming platform — beginning with Wonder Woman 1984 on Christmas Day 2020. Results were mixed. Under the direction of CEO Jason Kilar, a former chief executive at Hulu, the landmark distribution strategy obliterated the legacy theatrical window. It also caught most of Hollywood off guard, including directors, producers and actors whose compensation agreements revolved around the box office take. Kilar later apologized for the abrupt decision, but doubled down on the strategy, which resulted in $463 million in domestic theatrical revenue through June 30 while growing Max subscriptions and consumer awareness. While the concurrent release strategy appeared to have little negative impact on Warner’s Godzilla vs Kong monster movie release in March, the studio would have to wait until the October release of sci-fi reboot Dune to realize another box office hit. Entering 2022, Kilar’s days seem numbered as Warner Bros. reverts back to a shortened 45-day theatrical window for most movie releases, and corporate parent AT&T awaits regulatory approval for its $43 billion minority stake WarnerMedia asset sale to Discovery.

4. Attack of the ‘+’ Sign: Discovery Jan. 4 launched its own branded SVOD service Discovery+ with little fanfare. Exactly two months later, Paramount Pictures became the latest Hollywood studio seeking to establish a foothold on the SVOD bandwagon with the launch of Paramount+. The erstwhile CBS All Access streaming platform adopted the Paramount Pictures brand to better resonate with consumers worldwide. Paramount+, along with AVOD/FAST platform Pluto TV, embodied corporate parent ViacomCBS’s belated resolve to become all things streaming. Then, in July, WarnerMedia announced plans to launch a branded news subscription streaming video service in early 2022. The name: CNN+.

5. Disc Distribution Shuffle: As physical media sales continued to decline, several studios looked for ways to cut costs and boost efficiencies. April marked the official launch of Studio Distribution Services (SDS), a joint venture between Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment to distribute packaged media in the United States and Canada. The JV, run by former Universal Pictures Home Entertainment president Eddie Cunningham, combines sales, retail marketing and distribution for the two physical home entertainment operations and is responsible for Blu-ray, DVD and 4K UHD distribution for up to 10 years. Both partner studios continue to operate their digital distribution businesses independently and retain content and consumer marketing for both physical and digital. In February, Lionsgate signed a multiyear agreement with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment for the distribution of its DVD/Blu-ray Disc releases in the United States and Canada, beginning in July. Lionsgate still has its own sales and marketing teams, but is leveraging SPHE’s supply chain and distribution services.

6. Out of the Box: Redbox aggressively embraced digital distribution — notably ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) and free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) — to piggyback on its legacy kiosk disc rental brand. The move resulted in numerous content license distribution agreements, as well as further development of Redbox-branded content acquisitions, including feature films. With about 40,000 kiosks in operation across the country, Redbox deployed digital video signage on thousands of boxes as a new way to partner with Hollywood studios to promote new-release movies, promote the company’s free streaming service, and provide a platform for third-party media campaigns. The company signed separate distribution agreements with LG Electronics and Sony PlayStation to include its FAST channels on LG Smart TVs, including their LG OLED Smart TVs, as well as the PS5 and PS4 video game consoles. Taking a page from the Amazon Channels playbook, Redbox also began featuring third-party apps on its digital platform. The company inked separate agreements with Roku and Vewd to pre-load the Redbox app on all new Vewd-powered TVs and set-top boxes in the U.S., including Hisense, Funai and Tivo, as well as pay-TV operators such as Evoca. In October, Redbox made its biggest move: Finalizing a business combination with Seaport Global Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company, and launching Redbox Entertainment as a publicly traded company.

7. TVOD Consolidation: Fandango in August merged its FandangoNow streaming platform with Vudu, which it had acquired from Walmart in 2020. The combined platforms operate under the Vudu brand, which has established itself as a digital transaction market leader, while the Fandango brand is known for theatrical ticket purchases, movie reviews and showtimes. Vudu is available in more than 75 million U.S. TV-connected device households, according to The NPD Group. The service has more than 60 million registered users and serves “millions of consumers daily” across smart-TVs, connected devices, mobile and online. “During a time where consumers have myriad viewing options, we’re proud to deliver a service that presents an unparalleled library of content, many titles that are not available on subscription services, and the flexibility to pay as you go,” said Fandango president Paul Yanover.

8. Free Agent: Sony Pictures Entertainment celebrated its role as the only studio not attached to a big media company with streaming ambitions through a series of deals and a stunning end-of-the-year victory as Spider-Man: No Way Home became the biggest theatrical release of the year. In April, SPE signed a distribution deal with Netflix for exclusive U.S. access to Sony theatrical releases following the box office and home entertainment windows. The agreement, which begins in 2022, replaces Sony’s existing digital deal with Lionsgate-owned Starz. Days later, SPE announced another deal with Disney’s streaming and TV platforms for their Pay 2 window. And in November, Sony Television signed a distribution deal with Redbox that gives the latter streaming access to Resident Evil: Retribution, Underworld: Evolution, We Own the Night and Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning

9. Home Entertainment Consolidation: Paramount Pictures in February became the latest studio to merge its theatrical and home entertainment marketing teams, a move that saw the exit of 23 home entertainment marketing and distribution personnel, including EVP of marketing Vincent Marcais, longtime publicity head Brenda Ciccone, and Dina Marovich, SVP of worldwide media and interactive marketing. In a Feb. 26 memo obtained by Media Play News, Jim Gianopulos, chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, wrote that after an extensive review, “we have concluded that the best path forward for the company is for all home entertainment marketing functions, with the exceptions of brand marketing and customer marketing, to merge into the existing theatrical marketing departments.” The Paramount move followed similar restructurings at Warner Bros. in August 2020, Sony Pictures in October 2020, and Lionsgate in December 2020.

10. Supply Chain Crisis: Toward the end of the year, studios as well as independents were reporting delays in bringing their DVDs and Blu-ray Discs to market due, in part, to the global supply chain crisis. The other factor: limited replication opportunities. Most of the big Hollywood studios use Technicolor to replicate their discs, which is down to a single facility in Mexico. “It’s a huge problem,” said Bill Hunt, who as editor of The Digital Bits website closely monitors disc releases. “Almost every title is getting delayed, and those that aren’t are hard to find on street date.”

40 Under 40 in Home Entertainment, Class of 2021

Welcome to Media Play News’ fourth annual 40 Under 40 — our yearly list of rising stars and powerful young executives involved in home entertainment.

With the proliferation of streaming and the transformation of premium video-on-demand (PVOD) from Hollywood dream to COVID-induced reality, home entertainment has never been more popular — or more significant. The home has truly become the hub for entertainment, and the teams that are driving the ongoing evolution of the business are filled with smart, savvy and strategic up-and-comers as well as young leaders who are already in positions of authority and influence.

This year’s 40 Under 40 also reflects the growing diversity in the workplace, as we recognize that a wide range of viewpoints, knowledge and experiences makes for better business. These individualizing characteristics and perspectives can help a business maximize creativity and innovation.
Our honorees this year are listed alphabetically by last name.

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Aimee Abando, 27

Market Research and Insights Analyst, Fandango/Vudu

Aimee Abando

Abando spearheads quantitative research projects for Vudu, including attitudes and usage surveys, awareness trackers and messaging tests. She also helps on larger strategic projects. She oversees the entire research process of these important projects, from questionnaire development to the analysis and presentation of insights. She also leads syndicated research, oversees the company’s different customer feedback channels across movie/ticketing and streaming properties, and manages Fandango’s online community of film fans, the Movie Inner Circle. Prior to joining Fandango, Abando worked at Variety Media, researching digital premieres and helping compile TrackVision OTT and TV reports.

Susan Agliata, 39

Director, Business Development, Samsung

Susan Agliata

Agliata is responsible for finding and implanting new strategic partnerships in order to drive revenue, enable the development of new products and services, and improve on the user experience while continuing to nurture and grow existing partnerships. Since joining the team in 2020, she’s closed key deals with the largest global streaming services. Agliata’s resumé boasts a litany of industry powerhouses, including Google, The New York Times and Vice Media. While at Google, she worked to ensure YouTube was central to major marketing strategies, and directed the EMEA Branded Content Solutions team.

Jennifer Ajuria, 37

Director, Data and Planning, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Jennifer Ajuria

Ajuria manages Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s North America SKU master data, supporting the physical supply chain end-to-end process. Over the past several years Ajuria has streamlined the master data set-up to automate the process without compromising quality. Recently, she successfully led the title and SKU ingestion of Lionsgate’s physical distribution onboarding. Ajuria also has oversight of aligning various home entertainment departments in meeting critical path milestones for the delivery of marketing components to successfully hit physical street dates. Ajuria is a graduate of UCLA and holds an MBA from Pepperdine Graziadio Business School. She is currently in her ninth year on the Sony Pictures team.

Jared Beck, 35

Manager, Sales Planning, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Jared Beck

Beck leads the formulation and execution of national product and promotional planning strategies for the physical home entertainment business. He supports the business with analysis of key performance indicators and predictive variables, and evaluates and optimizes his models to drive performance results. Through his analytical expertise and understanding of market trends, he delivers comprehensive plans and recommendations on product, pricing and promotional strategies. He started at Sony Pictures in 2017, supporting the digital and rental accounts in a planning role, and was promoted to his current position in 2019. Beck is a graduate of Miami University and holds an MBA from USC’s Marshall School of Business.

Ilan Behar, 34

Director, Brand Marketing, Paramount Home Entertainment

Ilan Behar

Behar leads home entertainment marketing strategy and brand campaigns for Paramount Pictures productions and acquired films. With a passion for content strategy and creative marketing, Behar is charged with maximizing each film’s potential and scaling campaigns for national or global reach. Behar started his career at Paramount working on ViacomCBS television content. He additionally led marketing initiatives for 20th Century Fox, managing global TV brands such as FX Original Series, Showtime’s “Homeland,” and franchise film releases including Deadpool 2 and The Predator. Since 2019 he has overseen marketing for Paramount’s new releases including Sonic the Hedgehog, Rocketman and A Quiet Place Part II.

Jeni Hatfield Benhain, 38

Director, Data Solutions, Whip Media

Jeni Hatfield Benhain

Benhain applies her extensive knowledge of consumer audience analytics to develop data-driven growth strategies for the world’s largest entertainment organizations, including major SVOD services, networks and studios. Whip Media’s enterprise software and data platform enables media companies to efficiently distribute, control and monetize their TV and movie content to drive revenue and direct-to-consumer growth. Benhain helped shape the launch of Whip Media’s B2B consumer insights product, CVM Insights, and has a strong history in developing marketing strategy and events for major trade and professional organizations, including NATPE. Prior to joining Whip, Benhain spent 15 years working in the B2B marketing space.

John Bennet, 38

Executive Director, Sales, Paramount Home Entertainment

John Bennet

Bennet leads a high-performing sales team on the physical home entertainment business, focused on driving Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray sales through e-commerce, distribution and key brick-and-mortar retailers. Prior to his promotion to executive director, Bennet helped run the Walmart business for Paramount Home Entertainment, where his insights-based approach to selling and strong customer relationships led to several big wins. Collaboration and teamwork define his leadership style, and in a category that has faced just about every imaginable challenge, Bennet and his team have continued to drive sales and deliver results.

Shilpa Bisaria, 34

VP, Strategy, WarnerMedia Sales & Distribution

Shilpa Basaria

Bisaria leads macro-strategy for the revenue group at WarnerMedia, which includes distribution, content sales, advertising and the Otter Media portfolio. She focuses on reimagining existing linear and theatrical businesses, and fueling the growth of new DTC initiatives (including HBO Max and CNN+). To achieve these dual goals, Bisaria leads a team of 10 in conducting financial analyses, assessing unmet consumer needs, identifying and evaluating new business models, and collaborating with the business units to launch game changing strategies in market. Prior to joining WarnerMedia in 2017, Shilpa was an engagement manager at Innosight, a global strategy and innovation consulting firm.

Lauren Bixby, 39

VP, Acquisitions and Co-Productions, Lionsgate

Lauren Bixby

Bixby builds a slate of more than 12 feature films each year, curating a pipeline of programming across a wide range of genres for a variety of distribution strategies and platforms. She handles both the business side, making offers and negotiating deals, and the creative side, often pre-buying projects before production. Building relationships with producers, she champions high-concept thrillers, action, comedy, romance and horror films, and shepherds projects through to release. A 16-year veteran of Lionsgate, Bixby assumed her present position in March 2018 after serving for two years as director of acquisitions.

Jeanifer Clarke, 36

Director, Retail Marketing, Lionsgate

Jeanifer Clarke

Clarke works with sales, creative and marketing to create unique items, promotions and line looks. She also uses sales planning data to pull together items to drive promotions at retail. Clarke joined Lionsgate in May 2021. She previously served in similar capacities at Pebblekick Inc., where she led the strategy for the platform as well as its content catalog of movies, TV shows, games and music, and at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, where she developed multi-channel retail strategies as well as retail-specific programs for key partners including Walmart, Target, Best Buy and specialty accounts. Earlier in her career she was a reporter for E! Entertainment.

Bryce Copeland, 38

Director, Digital Distribution, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Bryce Copeland

Copeland is a strategic business leader who has increased profitability across multiple lines of business for Sony Pictures Distribution. Copeland currently manages key retail partners Apple and Redbox, but over his 13 years he has managed multiple accounts such as Amazon, Walmart and Target. Copeland also serves on the Sony Pictures Action subcommittee, dedicated to increasing minority-owned partnerships/vendors, as the professional development chair of Employee Business Resource Groups, and participates in Sony’s mentorship program. Copeland majored in International Business at U.C. Berkeley.

Pete Corona, 38

Director, Original Series, Netflix

Pete Corona

Promoted into his present position in December 2020, Corona is known for identifying and cultivating genre-bending shows that entertain, are thought-provoking and push the boundaries of imagination. He is a member of LALIFF’s Latino Film Institute (LFI) Industry Advisory Board and a frequent speaker on industry panels, giving back to and raising the profile of the Latino creative community. Prior to joining Netflix in 2018 as manager of scripted original series, Corona was executive director of development for Marvel Television Studios at The Walt Disney Co. and, before that, director of development at All3Media.

Julie Dansker, 35

Head of New Content Sales, Shout! Factory

Julie Dansker

Dansker oversees new content sales and strategy for Shout! Factory and its distribution and production arm, Shout! Studios. She spearheads streamer and broadcast sales for Shout’s tentpole movies and has helped propel many films to industry and press acclaim, most recently the box office success Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, which won a Critic’s Choice Award. Prior to joining Shout! in November 2020, Dansker was VP of sales of marketing at The Orchard, and in 2019 was promoted to chief revenue officer when the company was rebranded 1091. Earlier, Dansker managed global digital sales at MGM Studios and worked in development and production at Spyglass Entertainment and New Line Cinema.

Laura Delahaye, 34

Director, UCAN Scripted Series, Netflix

Laura Delahaye

Delahaye is a senior leader on the Overall Deals team. She came to Netflix four years ago from Fox21Studios and made an immediate impact by overseeing the Marvel live-action slate. She’s also been an essential partner to the producing team on “Ozark” and played a critical role in the success of The Queen’s Gambit. Early in her tenure, Delahaye identified horror as a programming white space and aggressively built a slate of projects to help fill that gap. Most notably, she became a trusted partner for Mike Flanagan on Haunting of Hill House and Haunting of Bly Manor. She’s also behind the new horror series “Archive 81,” which launches in early 2022.

Dianna DiPrimio, 37

Manager, Global Creative Content, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Dianna DiPrimio

DiPrimio has been a standout performer in content development and production during her years at Sony Pictures, supporting properties across all studio lines of business such as Little Women (2019), A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as well as shows such as “Better Call Saul,” “Outlander,” “The Good Doctor,” “Seinfeld,” “The Blacklist,” “Underground” and more. She has played a critical role in navigating innovative and engaging content during the pandemic by leaning into new technologies to create cast reunions and table reads with shows such as “Happy Endings,” “King of Queens,” “Underground,” “Stripes,” Norman Lear’s collection of shows and more.

Lindsey Emerson, 37

VP, Product Management, HBO Max

Lindsey Emerson

Emerson oversees the team that manages the kids and family and accessibility experience. She has more than a decade of experience in product management, building streaming platforms across educational and entertainment spaces. She joined WarnerMedia in May 2019 and was promoted into her present position in June 2020. Previously, Emerson served as director of product management for The Bouqs Company and managed the growth of the marketplace at DogVacay, which was acquired by Rover in March 2016. Emerson started her career working with several EdTech startups in Seattle, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., where she facilitated growth for video streaming and instructional content platforms, and at Pluto TV, where she served as a founding product leader.

James Frank, 39

Director of Systems and Support, PBS Distribution

James Frank

Frank leads the oversight and support services of the PBS Distribution’s technical infrastructure. He is charged with ensuring that all systems are up and running, and optimized and scalable for the company’s future growth. Since joining the systems and support team in 2017, he has led technology advances that prepared the company to thrive in the new digital landscape, including ERP and royalties system transitions, moving into a cloud infrastructure, implementing DevOps principles, moving to infrastructure as code, and optimizing large data sets from digital. Prior to joining PBS Distribution, Frank was a consultant with Eagle Hill Consulting and a developer with Sapient.

Robbie Giles, 32

Director of Performance Marketing, Fandango/Vudu

Robbie Giles

Giles oversees paid media and studio solutions for Fandango and Vudu. As the first member of Fandango’s Performance Marketing team in 2018, he has worked diligently to make data-driven marketing a focus for both Fandango’s ticketing and Vudu’s TVOD businesses. His team of eight manages all advertising campaigns and supports a variety of data-driven solutions that Fandango extends to its studio and home entertainment partners, with the goal of boosting the performance of their advertising campaigns. Before joining Fandango in 2018, Giles spent the first eight years of his career managing campaigns for Disney’s digital media, licensing and retail businesses.

David Graber, 36

SVP, Cable, SVOD and Emerging Platforms, WarnerMedia

David Graber

Graber manages U.S. strategy for SVOD/AVOD distribution. He manages deals for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Roku and more than 100 SVOD and AVOD buyers, executing new business for shows including “Lucifer,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Friends” and “Animal Kingdom.” Prior to joining Warner Bros. in September 2013, Graber served in the Office of the Chairman for NBC Entertainment, managing key relationships and working with producers on shows including “The Voice,” the Super Bowl and the London Olympics. He began his career in the entertainment industry as an agent trainee at WME and as an agent at The Stellar Group in London, where he managed professional athletes.

Maura Gray, 39

Senior Director, Content Partnerships and Programming, Redbox

Maura Gray

An eight-year Redbox veteran, Gray plays an integral role on the marketing team. She helped launch the company’s digital businesses including TVOD, FAST channels and AVOD, and led marketing efforts that included working with content partners and device/CE manufacturers. In addition, she launched the company’s media network sales business while developing custom partner opportunities. Currently, she is developing an enterprise strategy positioning Redbox as an entertainment destination through acquisition and customer paths. Prior to joining Redbox, Gray was at the National Geographic Channels, where she helped launch Nat Geo Wild.

Emily Guenther, 30

Senior Manager, Brand Marketing, ViacomCBS

Emily Guenther

Guenther manages brand marketing for the domestic TV electronic sellthrough business across nine diverse ViacomCBS brands, including the Paramount Network, home to “Yellowstone,” one of the largest home entertainment franchises in the industry. Her responsibilities include developing strategy and business plans for the TV electronic sellthrough business, providing thought leadership on windowing, delivering forecasting guidance, planning paid marketing campaigns and communicating brand priorities to key internal stakeholders. Guenther joined ViacomCBS in 2017 and managed the relationships between ViacomCBS brands and 12 digital sellthrough partners. She assumed her current position in July 2021.

Alissa Gury, 35

VP and Global Controller, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Alissa Gury

A key member of the UPHE finance leadership team, Gury has controller responsibilities for both physical and digital distribution. She leads a central team that provides domestic and international technical accounting support and policy. Gury joined UPHE in November 2016 as director, and two years later was promoted into her present position. Most recently she was instrumental in helping establish the global strategic partnership with WarnerMedia, including the formation of Studio Distribution Services (SDS), a domestic joint venture to distribute physical media. Prior to joining UPHE, Gury spent more than three years as a corporate finance manager at Sony Pictures Entertainment. She began her career in 2008 in the assurance practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Jeff Jopa, 38

Senior Director, Sales Operations, Redbox

Jeff Jopa

Jopa leads the team at Redbox that drives the strategy of the company’s retailer relationships for the kiosk network. The team enables account management success through best-in-class store-level field support, data analysis, kiosk network planning and long-term partnership alignment. Jopa assumed his present position with Redbox in August 2015. He previously served as business development manager for Outerwall, Redbox’s former parent company, and regional business manager for Coinstar, Outerwall’s predecessor company. Earlier, Jopa was client business manager at Redbox from 2006 to 2010.

Ana Kehrberg, 37

VP, Partnership Management, WarnerMedia Sales & Distribution

Ana Kehrberg

Kehrberg oversees a portfolio of global platform partnerships and drives revenue and engagement for all of WarnerMedia’s content offerings, including HBO Max, Warner Bros. and Turner networks. Prior to assuming her present position in April 2021, Kehrberg was director of partnership management. In that position, she and her team were instrumental in building high-impact go-to-market strategies for the launch of HBO Max with global platform partners. Prior to joining WarnerMedia, Kehrberg was associate director of global digital accounts at 20th Century Fox. She began her career in consumer marketing and brand management at Hasbro.

Caroline Kelly, 32

Director, Product and Market Development, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Caroline Kelly

Kelly oversees market development for UPHE’s alternative distribution business, seeking out new monetization opportunities for the studio’s film and TV content and advising on innovative technology solutions to support new growth channels. Key accomplishments include securing strategic partnerships to help expand Universal’s distribution network, including a landmark agreement with 1-800-Flowers to bring digital movies into the company’s suite of add-on gifting options. She also designed and launched a consumer-facing e-commerce platform for digital movie code sales to enable brand partnerships, innovation opportunities and exploration of emerging digital currencies. Kelly assumed her present position in July 2021, three years after she joined the company.

Maggie Leyden, 36

Director, SVOD Channels, PBS Distribution

Maggie Leyden

Leyden leads content distribution and programming strategies for a portfolio of six SVOD channels, including PBS Masterpiece, PBS Kids and PBS Documentaries. She drives initiatives across content, marketing, production and distribution partners to drive subscriber acquisition and engagement. Leyden has been instrumental to the launch and growth of the SVOD Channels business for PBS Distribution since she joined the company in 2018. She is an astute content strategist who drives results and excels at making business recommendations. Prior to joining PBS Distribution, Leyden held roles in sales and distribution at Sesame Workshop and producer relationship management in the film and TV division at The Orchard (now 1091 Pictures).

Dave Lindsay, 39

Senior Director, Product Management, Disney Streaming

Dave Lindsay

Lindsay leads a team responsible for the live and VOD digital media supply chains that power Disney+, Hulu, Star+ and ESPN+. An expert in media supply chains, Lindsay has collaborated with peers at competing studios and streaming platforms to tackle industry-wide problems through working groups within the Digital Supply Chain Alliance, the DEG’s Technology Operations Committee and the Streaming Video Alliance. Throughout previous roles in Disney’s studio division, Lindsay oversaw implementations of standards-based initiatives including component-based packaging, title and version management, descriptive content metadata, and standardized content availability notices.

Kenesha Luney, 35

Director, Digital Operations, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Kenesha Luney

Luney oversees systems development and workflows across multiple teams to ensure film and TV content gets to consumers through digital platforms. She was promoted into her present position in February 2021, five years after she joined the company as digital operations manager. A key player in the division’s digital supply chain, Luney was instrumental in helping UPHE operationalize PVOD under intense time pressure last year and has continued to refine the process to make it more sustainable to get to market in time as the studio’s windowing approach evolves. Prior to joining UPHE, Luney worked as a chemist and spent some time volunteering overseas.

Natalie Martin, 33

VP, Growth and Development, Premiere Digital

Natalie Martin

Martin assumed her present position in January 2020 and is charged with driving revenue by nurturing key industry relationships, ensuring client success through smooth onboarding and skilled cross-functional supply chain support, and building new revenue streams, including the company’s rapidly expanding aggregation business that increases scale and efficiency between digital platforms and content owners. Martin joined Premiere in 2010 in the Mastering QC department and quickly rose in the company by serving in a series of senior leadership positions of increased responsibility in sales, business development and client services, establishing herself as an expert in how the company’s capabilities and solutions anticipate the needs of a fast-growing industry.

Carrie Moore, 33

SVP, Product Development, Premiere Digital

Carrie Moore

Moore oversees all software-as-a-service innovation and advancement on Storefront and PDX, expanding the products’ presence in the market and driving a more streamlined digital supply chain experience. Moore joined Premiere in 2009 as the company’s seventh employee, working in quality control on video assets. Since then, she has served in virtually every department and has helped expand Premiere Digital’s global footprint by helping launch the office in Bangalore. She also developed a product support infrastructure for all software used at Premiere Digital. In 2014, Moore began working in software development, eventually taking ownership of the company’s flagship SaaS solutions, Storefront and PDX.

Molly O’Connor, 30

VP, Business Planning and Strategy, WarnerMedia Distribution

Molly O’Connor

O’Connor is responsible for developing and executing a comprehensive strategy to deliver subscription volume and revenue for WarnerMedia’s Distribution business across HBO Max, Cinemax, the upcoming CNN+ service and Basic Networks. As part of the team launching HBO Max in 2020, she built the strategy to transition HBO/HBO Now subscribers to HBO Max across all key subscription channels. She has deep expertise in subscription math, acquisition and retention strategies, streaming platforms and ecosystems, distribution deal economics, content valuation and engagement, and subscription budgeting and forecasting. Prior to joining HBO in 2018, O’Connor worked in strategy and business development at film and television studio A24. Earlier in her career, she was a management consultant in the TMT sector.

Jenny Payne, 33

Senior Marketing Manager, PBS Distribution

Jenny Payne

Payne develops strategy for, and directs, multiple digital marketing channels including social media, YouTube and SEM, as well as press and communications focused on growing PBS Distribution’s SVOD Channels in the United States and Canada. She has significantly grown the SVOD Channels digital brand footprint and developed new and strategic ways to connect with untapped consumers in a way that generates buzz and engagement while simultaneously driving SVOD channel subscriptions. Prior to joining PBS Distribution in 2018, Payne spent nearly a decade with advertising agencies, focused on growing direct-to-consumer brands and managing multi-million-dollar advertising budgets.

Mandy Rodgers, 35

VP, Client Services, Think Jam

Mandy Rodgers

Rodgers has spent more than a decade leading publicity and digital marketing campaign strategy and execution across the home entertainment spectrum, in partnership with all the major studios as well as indie film distributors such as Gravitas and Cinedigm. She has led more than 500 VOD, digital and DVD/Blu-ray Disc release campaigns, from top blockbusters to independent films, TV shows and catalog-title anniversaries. In 2020, she worked with Universal on its entry into PVOD, quickly pivoting plans for The Invisible Man, The Hunt and Emma. to promote the premium rental concept to consumers. Since then, she has worked with partners and clients to pivot existing strategies, rethinking and differentiating marketing campaigns across all release windows.

Xenia Shevnina, 39

Executive Director, Digital Distribution, Paramount Home Entertainment International

Xenia Shevnina

Shevnina oversees digital distribution of all film and television content handled by Paramount to digital transactional partners in territories including Russia, Israel, Turkey and Poland. She played an instrumental role in championing premium windows in Russia, including a recent premium digital release of Snake Eyes 28 days after its theatrical bow. Before joining Paramount in 2015, Shevnina pursued a diverse career in media and entertainment companies, including several start-ups, where she held executive positions in media analysis, marketing and sales.

Ed Silla, 30

Producer, Rotten Tomatoes OTT

Ed Silla

Silla played a key role in the launch of Fandango’s popular new OTT channel for Rotten Tomatoes and continues to help expand the company’s 24/7 linear programming across The Roku Channel, Peacock, Samsung TV Plus, Xumo TV and other virtual multichannel programming distributors. Clips from The Rotten Tomatoes Channel recently started airing on Reach TV, a live streaming network available in airport lounges, departure gates and concourses across the U.S. and Canada. Silla joined the company as senior video editor and within a year was elevated to producer, orchestrating every stage of production for multiple shows. His portfolio of video content has included “Scene Breakdown” and “Oral Histories,” collectively garnering more than 10 million views.

Valerie Torres, 35

Director, Theatrical Sales and Exhibitor Relations, Shout! Factory

Valerie Torres

Torres heads theatrical sales and exhibitor relations at Shout! Factory and Shout! Studios. She also manages non-theatrical sales, including festivals, airlines, nonprofit, corporate and educational screenings. In addition, Torres serves as the Shout! lead on awards qualifications and submissions and directs grassroots outreach on behalf of the studio. She joined Shout! in June 2021 with a wealth of experience and knowledge, having previously worked in theatrical and exhibitor relations at A24, Greenwich Entertainment and Kino Lorber. During her time at Greenwich Entertainment, she executed meaningful grassroots marketing efforts that contributed to the success of music docs Echo in the Canyon and Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice.

Katie Ullrich, 38

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

Katie Ullrich

Ullrich is charged with developing high-impact, innovative marketing campaigns for the studio’s tentpole franchises — focusing on the home entertainment transactional space, which delivers significant revenue to the studio. She has a well-rounded background in home entertainment, retail and TV distribution marketing. Ullrich joined Sony Pictures in July 2014 after seven years at Paramount Pictures and has since been instrumental in campaigns behind films such as Jumanji: The Next Level, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and the “Ghostbusters” franchise. She was promoted to her current position in June 2019 and is a graduate of C.S.U. Long Beach.

Benedikt Weber, 34

Head of Marketing for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, Paramount Home Entertainment

Benedikt Webe

Based in Munich, Weber heads up Paramount’s Home Entertainment marketing team for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, working on digital and physical campaigns for new releases, catalog and television titles. Weber has been with Paramount since 2016 and assumed his present position in September 2019. Before joining Paramount, he worked for German movie and television production companies and on Apple’s European iTunes team. He holds a degree in production and media economics from the University for Television and Film (HFF) in Munich.

Christy Willingham, 36

Senior Director, Head of Product Marketing, DTS

Christy Willingham

Willingham oversees product marketing strategy across DTS parent Xperi’s consumer electronics businesses, including mobile and gaming, connected car, pay-TV and content (including cinema and streaming). Her team oversees the DTS Freshman Class of Twitch streamers and gamers, and she also participates with the DTS Craft Masters program that works with current and future content creators. Willingham has spent 15 years championing the importance of audio in home entertainment. After four years at Warner Music Group she joined the DTS content team, driving DTS Audio to become a standard on Blu-ray Disc. In 2020, she worked with the DEG to transform its gala into a successful virtual event.

Michelle Woo, 30

Encoding Specialist, Vudu Content Operations, Fandango

Michelle Woo

Woo oversees the digital asset management workflow for the Vudu content operations team, managing one of the industry’s largest libraries of content from delivery status, ingestion, approval, and release to production. A queer woman of color, Woo also serves as a board member for Palette, Fandango’s diversity, equity and inclusion business council, supporting parent company NBCUniversal’s ongoing pledge to address social justice, gender equality and inclusive leadership. Woo enjoys engaging with her community by taking part in ecological clean-ups throughout the Bay Area, and hopes to make the workspace more inclusive where everyone can bring their authentic selves to the office.

Women in Home Entertainment 2021: The Teams

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

The industry also has many other talented women leaders at independent content distributors, digital retailers, streaming services and ancillary service providers.

Here are some of the standouts.

SEE ALSO: WOMEN IN HOME ENTERTAINMENT 2021 — THE CAPTAINS

Amazon

JENNIFER SALKE
Head of Amazon Studios
Salke leads all aspects of television and film development, as well as production for Amazon’s entertainment division. This includes implementing an overall long-term content strategy for both units along with launching upcoming series and films, as well as ongoing support of current series. High-profile projects include the pending “The Lord of the Rings” series debuting in September 2022.

MARIE DONOGHUE
VP, Global Sports Video
Donoghue heads up Amazon’s global sports content business, as well as its sports strategy, enabling customers to access live and on-demand sports content, on hundreds of devices, in more than 200 countries and territories. She was responsible for Amazon acquiring exclusive rights to “NFL Thursday Night Football,” in addition to expanded professional soccer league rights in Europe. Prior to joining Amazon, Donoghue served as EVP of global business and content strategy at ESPN, leading the ongoing development and implementation of its enterprise-wide business and content strategy. Donoghue oversaw all digital dealmaking for ESPN, including ESPN’s relationship with Disney-owned BAMTech, the home of ESPN’s first direct-to-consumer (OTT) streaming platform.

BritBox

EMILY POWERS
EVP and Head , BritBox North America
Powers launched the BritBox business in 2017 and spent the next four years overseeing the commercial side of the business, growing it to more than
2 million subscribers. Due to her success in this role, Powers was appointed head of BritBox North America last year with the task of continuing to drive growth domestically and also play an important role in expanding the business globally (Australia/South Africa). In her short tenure heading up BritBox North America, she has greenlighted two already buzzed about 2022 Emmy contenders — Hugh Laurie’s adaptation of Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?, which he is appearing in and directing, and The Long Call, an adaptation of Ann Cleeves’ “Two River” series.

Discovery+

LISA HOLME
Group SVP of Content and Commercial Strategy, Discovery

Holme leads programming and partnership for Discovery’s aggregated, direct-to-consumer streaming service, Discovery+. In this role, she oversees the editorial vision, working closely with the company’s content and programming teams to source original content and license third-party programming. She also collaborates with the affiliate and ad sales teams to prioritize, structure and negotiate distribution deals for direct-to-consumer products, with the goal of driving subscriber growth. Holme is based out of Discovery’s Los Angeles office and reports directly to CEO David Zaslav. Prior to joining Discovery, Holme led the investigation and strategy for Hulu’s international expansion, which followed several years of leading Hulu’s content acquisition team, where she was responsible for negotiating tens of billions of dollars’ worth of content deals, helping to expand the service from zero to roughly 30 million subscribers.

VIKKI NEIL
EVP, Global Brand, Originals Marketing & Creative
After leading the Lifestyle Digital Group for many years and most recently overseeing the launch of Food Network Kitchen in 2019 in partnership with Amazon, Neil pivoted in 2020 to lead the marketing efforts for Discovery’s largest initiative to date, the Discovery+ streaming service. Neil and her team were responsible for conceptualizing and executing a number of marketing campaigns across all mediums to drive subscription rates. Anchored by Discovery’s investments in content, beloved personalities and brands with huge consumer appeal, Neil has helped Discovery+ grow nationally in subscriber additions, customer engagement, and retention. In April 2021, Discovery announced that they have now surpassed 15 million total paying direct-to-consumer subscribers globally.

 

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution

KRISTEN FINNEY
EVP, Content Distribution Strategy and Development, Disney Platform Distribution
Finney is responsible for overseeing key support functions for global content sales including content portfolio management, deal support and analysis, and formats and rights management for both the sales and direct-to-consumer teams. In this role, Finney advises on key strategic initiatives companywide, working in close collaboration with sales colleagues across all regions. In addition, her team acts as a liaison between the sales and direct-to-consumer acquisition teams and the company’s creative content organizations.

LINDSEY GREEN
SVP, Content Sales Disney Platform Distribution

Green is responsible for licensing of feature films and television content across domestic and global SVOD and AVOD platforms, West Coast-based cable networks and select pay-TV networks. She and her team also manage the company’s distribution of content to its direct-to-consumer streaming services — Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu. Her client roster includes Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and Facebook, to name a few.

CHRISTEN HARRIS
SVP, Platform Distribution, Disney Platform Distribution
LAUREN MORRISEY
SVP, Platform Distribution, Disney Platform Distribution
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 VOD and transactional sales, and DTC app penetration among digital aggregators, MVPDs, devices, wireless providers and social media applications. Between the two of them, they oversee more than 100 key accounts, such as Apple, Comcast, Google, Roku and Verizon.

LORI LeBAS
SVP, Business Operations, Disney Platform Distribution

As head of Disney Platform Distribution’s business operations team, 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.

SUMMER IMAI, VP, Rights and Content Management, Platform Distribution
BROOKE JOHNSON, VP, Platform Distribution
JANE KIM, VP, Distribution Planning and Analysis, Platform Distribution
JENNIFER LOURIE, VP, Product Management, Platform Distribution
LORI COHEN-ELIAS, VP, Product Management, Networks
JAIME GORMAN, VP, Creative Development, Networks
SUZANNE KAMENIR, VP, Global Creative Marketing, Networks
MICHELLE LEVISOHN, VP, Creative Development, Networks
KIMBERLY WILSON, VP, Multi-Platform Marketing, Networks

Disney+/Disney Streaming Services

JAYA KOLHATKAR
EVP, Data, Disney Streaming Services
Kolhatkar oversees customer intelligence and all data- and analytics-related efforts at Disney Streaming. In her role, she is responsible for elevating customer intelligence, implementing strong data governance and driving a culture of objective, data-driven decision-making. Previously, Kolhatkar served as the SVP of global data and analytics platforms at Walmart Labs, where she built data and analytic platforms that provided data and tools for making business decisions.

ALISA BOWEN
SVP, Business Operations, Disney Streaming Services

Bowen is in charge of ensuring operational effectiveness for The Walt Disney Company’s direct-to-consumer video streaming businesses, including Disney+ and ESPN+. As part of her oversight, Bowen is responsible for overall program management, including the rollout of Disney+ across international markets, identification and implementation of Disney+ internal synergy opportunities, and leading global customer support for ESPN+ and Disney+.

MOLLY BRADY
SVP, Growth Marketing, Disney Streaming Services

Brady oversees a team that is responsible for growing the subscriber base for The Walt Disney Company’s direct-to-consumer video streaming businesses, including Disney+, ESPN+ and the Disney Bundle. As part of her oversight, Brady is responsible for launching and rolling out customer acquisition initiatives and optimizing performance of media investments globally across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. In the three years since she started at Disney, ESPN+ has grown to more than 13 million paid subscribers and Disney+ has acquired more than 100 million subscribers in 59 countries in the 18 months since it launched.

LEAH ASHLEY, VP, Paid Media, Disney+
PAULA BECK, VP, Operations, Disney+
JESSICA CASANO-ANTONELLIS, VP, Communications, Disney+ and Hulu
BILLIE SUE CHAFFINS, VP, Software Development, Disney Streaming Services
CYNDI CRUZ, VP, Acquisitions & Licensing, Disney+
ANDREA CUTRIGHT, VP, Product Marketing, Disney+
JACQUELINE DONALDSON, VP, Product Strategy, Disney Streaming Services
NATALIE MARGULIES, VP, Deputy Chief Counsel, Disney Streaming Services
PAULA MCMAHON, VP, Integrated Marketing, Disney+
CLAISIAN PHILLIPS, VP, Marketing, ESPN+
JUDY SCHWAB, VP, HR, Disney Streaming Services

Dolby Labs

JACLYN PYTLARZ
Staff Researcher, Applied Vision Science

Pytlarz plays a key role at Dolby as a lead engineer keenly focused on Dolby Vision display technology and development. Her research includes vision science surrounding color mapping and display management algorithms for high dynamic range and wide color gamut displays. By integrating knowledge of human vision, her designs help ensure that a consumer, on any display in any environment, can experience the director’s creative intent. Pytlarz’s innovative work is one of the drivers of the technology behind the thousands of titles and millions of devices that define the Dolby Vision ecosystem for the home entertainment industry, now and in the future.

Fandango

DANA BENSON
SVP, Communications, Fandango

Benson spearheads all corporate communications and public relations functions across the company’s ticketing, e-commerce and editorial content portfolio, including Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster, MovieTickets.com and its leading TVOD service, Vudu. She also oversees public relations for subsidiary Ingresso.com in Brazil. Prior to joining Fandango, Benson was director of public relations at Disney Interactive. Benson has held senior positions at top family entertainment and technology companies, including Hasbro, Mattel and Broderbund Software, and public relations agencies Edelman, B/HI and The Lippin Group.

REMA MORGAN-ALUKO
Senior Director, Software Engineering, Fandango

With more than 15 years of experience in technology, engineering leadership and software development, Morgan-Aluko leads the technology group for Fandango’s leading TVOD service, Vudu. She oversees the development of Web, mobile apps, OTT applications and services, as well as application program interfaces (APIs). To improve diversity and inclusion across the technology industry, Morgan-Aluko co-founded Fandango’s TECHWomen chapter, which aims to advance opportunities for female technologists within the company and beyond. Previously, Morgan-Aluko led the development and implementation of several initiatives across Fandango’s verticals, including trailers (Movieclips), video and editorial content, movie and entertainment metadata, commerce, user profiles, CRM, marketing campaigns, and programs, as well as advertising and monetization.

LORI PANTEL
Chief Marketing Officer, Fandango

Pantel directs all brand and marketing strategies across the company’s e-commerce and editorial content portfolio, including Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster, MovieTickets.com, Fandango Movieclips and its leading TVOD service, Vudu. Throughout her career, Pantel has effectively redefined and executed strategies for global consumer brands, with a focus on ensuring a cohesive global brand DNA that resonates with consumers, retailers and partners. Before joining Fandango, Pantel served as SVP and global GM for Mattel’s girls’ brands, overseeing global teams responsible for worldwide brand and marketing strategy, creative execution and product development for Mattel’s “Monster High” and “Ever After High” brands, as well as the company’s “DC Super Hero Girls” line. Prior to that, Pantel served as VP of marketing for Mattel’s North America division, VP of global brand marketing, and associate brand manager on the “Barbie” brand.

JENNI READIO
Senior Director, Merchandising and Licensing, Vudu

Readio is a 17-year entertainment industry veteran. For the past 10 years she has led merchandising, licensing and content acquisition strategy at Vudu (acquired from Walmart by Fandango in April 2020), where her team continues to successfully grow revenue and content partnerships annually. Under her ideation and leadership, Vudu launched the exclusive merchandising functionality “Mix & Match.” Prior to joining Vudu, Readio managed the Walmart music business, including its brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce and digital downloads storefronts, and original music content platform Walmart Soundcheck.

PRIYA SINGHEE
VP, Analytics and Data Science, Fandango

Singhee is a seasoned analytics leader with more than 15 years of experience across both enterprise and consumer tech startups. Her team drives optimizations in the customer lifecycle using data and machine learning. Prior to joining Fandango, she led customer analytics at Vudu, delivering deep insights into consumer behavior across the tens of millions of devices that stream premium home entertainment content on Vudu. Prior to joining Vudu, she held key analytics roles at various consumer tech startups, such as Smule, GoFundMe and Flipboard. Relevant areas of expertise include managing growth roadmaps, identifying growth KPIs, predictive modeling, A/B testing, data visualization, funnel optimization, UX research, customer segmentation and media mix modeling.

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Fox Weather

SHARRI BERG
President, Fox Weather
Chief Operating Officer, Fox Television Stations
Berg joined Fox News Channel at its inception in 1996, and currently serves as the president of Fox Weather, Fox News Media’s pending ad-supported streaming weather service launching in the third quarter. She is also the chief operating officer of news and operations for Fox television stations. A founding member of the Fox News Channel launch team, Berg has held several senior management positions throughout the past 24 years of its existence, including serving in a dual role spanning FNC and FTS since 2005. In 2016, she was named chief operating officer of news and operations at FTS, while maintaining her role as the EVP of news operations at FNC.

Google/YouTube TV

CHRISTINA AVITABILE
Head of Content Distribution and Licensing, YouTube/Google Play

Avitabile oversees business development and partnerships for Google’s
transactional movies and TV stores (on Google Play and YouTube) as well as licensing and acquisition deals for YouTube. Before joining Google in 2014, Avitabile spent a year in content acquisition, digital video, at Amazon.

KELLY MERRYMAN
VP, Global Content Partnerships, YouTube

Merryman is a veteran in the streaming entertainment space. She oversees the platform’s largest partners across the creator and media ecosystems across televisions, movies, sports, news, gaming, lifestyle, fashion, beauty, food, learning, family and health. Merryman manages a team of 300 people across the Americas, with employees in five countries. Prior to joining YouTube, Merryman served as VP of content acquisition at Netflix from 2007 to 2014. She also held positions in digital distribution and business development at Sony Pictures.

Gravitas Ventures

SOPHIA FIELDS
Senior Director, Operations

On more than 300 releases per year, Fields oversees technical onboarding from filmmakers and delivery to Gravitas Ventures’ vast network of domestic and international distribution partners, including digital, linear (broadcast and cable), theatrical and home entertainment. With more than 20 years of content distribution experience, she leads the Gravitas operations team, maximizing internal efficiencies and streamlining workflow 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.

LINDSEY MOFFAT
Director, Business Affairs and Filmmaker Relations

Moffat oversees communication between Gravitas Ventures and its partners, overseeing and conveying distribution strategy in both domestic and international markets throughout each film’s lifecycle. Additionally, she serves as rights manager and maintains the database of Gravitas’ robust catalog of films. She has built up a wide variety of institutional knowledge across operations, marketing and global sales throughout her tenure with Gravitas and is passionate about her role as an educator for both her team internally as well as supporting the next generation of filmmakers.

HBO Max

SUSANNA FELLEMAN
EVP, Business Affairs, HBO, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and truTV

Felleman is responsible for overseeing business and legal negotiations for the networks’ programming, including talent deals, co-financing and licensing arrangements, and business strategy. Felleman joined HBO in April 2001 as associate counsel, legal, West Coast; was named senior counsel, legal, West Coast, in April 2003; was promoted to director of business affairs, West Coast, in August 2005; and was elevated to VP of business affairs in December 2006. She was promoted to her current position this year.

MEREDITH GERTLER
EVP, Content Strategy and Planning, HBO and HBO Max

Gertler is responsible for shaping the HBO Max portfolio and developing overall content and programming strategies for Max and all HBO and Cinemax streaming and on-demand platforms, and linear networks. In addition, she oversees content and promotion scheduling for Max and all HBO platforms. She joined HBO in 2004 on HBO Video’s marketing team, where she developed and executed strategic business and marketing plans for original programming on DVD. In 2012, she made the move to program strategy and planning and helped craft the content planning and scheduling framework in support of the launch of the HBO Now direct-to-consumer product in 2015.

JANET GRAHAM BORBA
EVP, Production, HBO and HBO Max
Borba is responsible for supervising production on all HBO and HBO Max programming. She shares production oversight of TBS, TNT and truTV with Brett Weitz, GM, TBS, TNT and truTV. Prior to this role, Borba was SVP of West Coast production, overseeing films and miniseries, where she worked on “Game of Thrones” from the pilot stage onward. She also worked on the multiple award-winning miniseries “Olive Kitteridge,” “The Pacific,” “John Adams” and “Angels in America,” as well as films such as Paterno, Lackawanna Blues, Something the Lord Made, Iron Jawed Angels and Wit.

SARAH LYONS
EVP, DTC Global Product Management, HBO Max

Lyons helps define the vision for the HBO Max product’s features, user experience and product roadmap. She is shaping the app experience across all major platforms, defining how users discover content they care about, as well as paving the way for innovation on how content is viewed and experienced globally. Prior to this, Lyons held various positions within AT&T/DirecTV, including VP of OTT Media Products, responsible for the DirecTV Now product, and the launch of their next-generation video platform.

SU KELSAY
SVP, Marketing Technology and Operations, HBO Max
Kelsay is driving strategic growth, retention and engagement for the worldwide launch of HBO Max through innovative marketing strategies, technology and analytics. She has helped Max successfully increase engagement and decrease churn by establishing tools to measure and monitor customer lifecycle patterns. Under Kelsay’s leadership, her team was pivotal in growing HBO/Max domestic subscriber count from 33 million to 47 million since Max’s launch, surpassing AT&T’s projected figure for 2022. The 14 million is more growth in subscribers than HBO had in the United States in the past 10 years combined. Following the launch of Max in 39 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Kelsay’s team will play an instrumental role in onboarding colleagues in Europe later this year by serving to streamline data collection efforts and processes.

MELISSA WEINER
SVP, Product Management, HBO Max

Weiner leads a global team across various focus areas, including portfolio prioritization and roadmap, product innovation, budget and operational processes, app store go-to-market strategies, and measurement and experimentation. Seasoned at launching new products and revamping existing business models, Weiner is also responsible for managing the HBO Max international product roadmap starting with the platform’s rollout in Latin America and across Europe. Weiner’s team will help facilitate a uniform experience in new regions around the world, including localization with capabilities to accept new payment methods for each region, provide local language support and more. She previously oversaw product planning efforts for the platform’s May 2020 launch, including the app replacement strategy that helped facilitate the transition of HBO Now to HBO Max.

DUAN PENG
SVP, Data and Artificial Intelligence, WarnerMedia/HBO Max

Peng leads the global data and AI group including data science, data engineering, machine learning engineering, business intelligence and analytics, data product, and data governance to support the launch and growth of HBO Max across multiple countries. In her role, she powers strategy and decision-making across product, marketing, content, revenue management and operations. Her team analyzes consumer behavior and data to provide insight into audiences and in effect builds out personalized experiences for Max customers, which has helped grow the service to 41.5 million HBO/Max U.S. subscribers at the end of 2020, surpassing AT&T’s projected figure for 2022.

LINDSEY EMERSON
VP, Product Management, HBO Max, Kids and Family

Emerson has more than a decade of experience in product management building streaming platforms across educational and entertainment spaces. Since joining HBO Max as a founding team member, her team launched the Kids & Family experience, offering kids an autonomous and age-appropriate experience while giving parents transparent controls. Prior to joining WarnerMedia in 2017, Emerson served as director of product management for The Bouqs Company. There she drove e-commerce platform optimization and improved distribution effectiveness. Emerson also managed the growth of the marketplace while at DogVacay, which was acquired by Rover in March of 2016. As a part of the acquisition, she was tapped to help manage the integration of the DogVacay marketplace onto the Rover platform.

Hulu

REAGAN FEENEY
SVP, Live TV Content Programming and Partnerships
Feeney is responsible for setting the vision and strategic direction for Hulu’s live-TV distribution, including managing partnerships with national channels, regional sports networks and local broadcast affiliates. Her team also leads the strategy surrounding premium add-ons, ESPN+ on Hulu, and ABC News Live specials. Previously, she was VP of content at AT&T’s DirecTV, where she was responsible for identifying and negotiating general entertainment and sports programming acquisitions, as well as maintaining external business relationships for linear cable channels, out-of-market sports subscribers.

BRITTANY HVEEM
Head of Business Affairs
Hveem leads negotiations of development and licensing deals related to Hulu’s slate of original series, documentaries, international co-productions and specials. She oversees the business and production relationships with studio suppliers such as Warner Bros., Universal Television, Sony and Lionsgate, approving production budgets and negotiations with talent. Prior to joining Hulu in 2016, Hveem was most recently VP of business affairs for Warner Horizon Television and was previously counsel at ABC Studios.

ANGIE KANG
VP, Business and Legal Affairs and Deputy Chief Counsel
Kang oversees the company’s legal and business affairs matters. Since
starting at Hulu about a decade ago, she has led numerous high-profile deals and initiatives that have grown Hulu’s content library to include some of the most in-demand, premium content in the market. Before joining Hulu, Kang was an associate at Latham & Watkins, where she was responsible for mergers and acquisitions, public company representation and corporate finance transactions across a wide range of industries including technology, media and entertainment.

ANNIE LUO
SVP, Business Development and Operations

Luo is responsible for driving expansion efforts and relationships with partners and connecting business operations across the organization. Prior to joining Hulu, Luo worked at McKinsey & Company, where she was a founding member for their consumer tech and media practice, leading operations and strategic alliances globally. She spent six years as the head of media, entertainment and information practice at the World Economic Forum and held various roles across top media brands, including BBC Worldwide (Asia), CNBC and Bloomberg Media Group.

IMDb TV

LAUREN ANDERSON
Co-Head of Content and Programming
Anderson oversees all programming for IMDb TV, including creative development, production, licensing, scheduling, research and strategy. She joined Amazon Studios in 2019 as the head of strategic content, managing such series as “The Savage x Fenty Show” for Prime Video. Anderson was named to Next TV’s 2020 “The Watch List” as well as Business Insider’s “AVOD Industry Leaders.” Early accomplishments for IMDb TV include bringing the iconic Judge Judy Sheindlin to a streaming audience, shepherding Amazon’s first partnership with prolific creator Dick Wolf — his only half-hour crime procedural — and developing the AVOD spinoff of Prime Video’s longest-running series, “Bosch.”

Lionsgate

CHASE BRISBIN
EVP, International Television and Digital Distribution

Brisbin was promoted to EVP in May. A skilled strategist, she’s responsible for licensing Lionsgate’s TV and film content, both library and first run, to an expanding international SVOD marketplace. She helped negotiate the syndication of “Mad Men” and works closely with the Starz team to support their international expansion. She joined Lionsgate in 2012 and has negotiated some of its most innovative deals.

KATE NEXON
EVP, Domestic Television and Digital Distribution

Nexon was promoted to EVP in May and is an invaluable member of the domestic distribution team. A 12-year Lionsgate veteran, she’s responsible for licensing the studio’s TV and film properties across hundreds of SVOD, AVOD and linear platforms in the United States. She leads domestic sales, overseeing strategic planning and execution of multi-platform initiatives. She helped negotiate the syndication of “Mad Men,” and she also helped secure Lionsgate’s Pay 1 theatrical output deal with Starz.

JILL ANDERSON
SVP, Home Entertainment Sales

Anderson oversees Lionsgate’s home entertainment business for retail’s
largest accounts. She continually looks for new opportunities to uniquely position Lionsgate’s 17,000-title library, driving her team to do the same. Anderson is a consummate team player who is dedicated to finding win-win solutions. She’s extremely proud to be an 18-year veteran of Lionsgate’s entrepreneurial culture, its commitment to innovation, and its passion for bold, original, relatable entertainment.

ERIN CARTER
SVP, Marketing
Carter is a 14-year veteran of Lionsgate and predecessor company Anchor Bay, part of the studio’s acquisition of Starz. She oversees the marketing and distribution strategy for Lionsgate’s 17,000-title film and television library, one of the largest in the world, which achieved a record $780 million in revenue during the past 12 months. She continues to be at the forefront of content licensing initiatives to an expanding array of new and traditional buyers around the world. Carter also spearheads content lifecycle planning for Lionsgate’s distribution partners, including Roadside Attractions, Grindstone Entertainment and A&E Television. She joined Lionsgate in 2017 from Anchor Bay, where she spent a decade leading the
company’s strategy for its independent theatrical releases.

KENYA HART
SVP, Procurement and Inventory Operations
Hart oversees the daily operations of the materials management, inventory
reconciliation and procurement/demand planning teams to ensure timely finished good product delivery in support of new release, catalog and promotion deadlines for U.S. and Canadian distribution. As the SAP super user/departmental systems manager, she works closely with IT to test, implement and validate systemic upgrades and enhancements. Additionally, she handles cost analysis and business acquisition onboarding.

AMELIA McPARTLON ROGERS
SVP, Marketing, Global Content Strategy

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 multiplatform release slate, as well as for the company’s vast library and third-party distribution companies.

LAUREN BIXBY
VP, Acquisitions and Co-Productions

Bixby builds a slate of 12-plus feature films per year, curating a pipeline of programming across a wide range of genres for a variety of distribution strategies and platforms. She handles both the business side, making offers and negotiating deals, and the creative side, often pre-buying projects before production. Building relationships with producers, she champions high-concept thriller, action, comedy, romance and horror films, and shepherds projects through to release.

KATHY ARENDAIN, VP, Creative Marketing, Digital and Social
MELISSA CLARKE, VP, Retail Operations
TIFFANY OLIVARES GIRARDI, VP, Publicity and Digital Engagement
LINDSAY LEFRANCOIS, VP, Procurement
SHANNON PARKER, VP, AV Creative Services
HELEN REICH, VP, Sales Administration

Movies Anywhere

KARIN GILFORD
SVP, Digital Media, The Walt Disney Co., and GM, Movies Anywhere
Gilford oversees a portfolio comprised of cloud-based digital library service Movies Anywhere, an independent, dedicated, cross-functional team that includes product, technology and marketing professionals, 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.

ELISSA BROWN
VP, Finance and Operations
Brown leads day-to-day operations, developing and executing key business and platform strategies to drive growth and deliver operational efficiencies across all facets of Movies Anywhere. This organization 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. She was instrumental in developing Movies Anywhere’s Screen Pass and co-viewing features that were launched during the pandemic, including advising on compliant functionalities, business rules, branding and consumer messaging.

NBCUniversal/Peacock

Maggie McLean Suniewick
President, Digital Enterprises, NBCUniversal Media
President, Business Development and Partnerships, Peacock
Suniewick leads NBC Universal’s digital business strategy and partnerships with new-media and technology companies to deliver premium content to emerging platforms. She previously served as SVP of strategic integration, where she was charged with identifying creative, technological and strategic opportunities between Comcast Corp. and NBCUniversal. She led Symphony, the companywide marketing initiative that promotes NBCUniversal TV programming, movies and events, including the Olympics, and Comcast’s products and services across the entire portfolio to drive awareness and help connect with consumers.

Netflix

TRACEY PAKOSTA
VP, Comedy, Original Series
Pakosta was named head of comedy on the original series team at Netflix in November 2020. She oversees both development and current programming for Netflix’s slate of scripted comedy series, including adult animation and live-action family comedies, as well as the stand-up and comedy formats team. Prior to joining Netflix, Pakosta had served as co-president of scripted programming at NBC Entertainment since 2018. In this role, she was responsible for comedy development, drama development, current programming, casting and diversity programming initiatives for NBC. Previously, Pakosta served as EVP of comedy development at NBC Entertainment. While in a leadership role with the network, she developed a number of acclaimed series, including “The Good Place,” “Superstore” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

AMY REINHARD
VP, Studio Operations

Reinhard was named VP of studio operations in 2020. Since joining Netflix in 2016 as VP of content acquisition, she has led global studio licensing for films and television series as well as local language acquisitions from Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India. In addition to global licensing, Reinhard oversees physical production, production facilities management, consumer products and creative services, including casting, literary scouting, IP management and music business development. Prior to joining Netflix, she was the president of worldwide TV licensing and distribution for Paramount Pictures, where she held various roles for over 10 years.

BOZOMA SAINT JOHN
Chief Marketing Officer
Saint John was named CMO of Netflix in June 2020. She previously held the same role at Endeavor after serving as the first-ever chief brand officer at Uber. Her 20-year marketing career also includes tenures as head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes, and head of the music and entertainment marketing group at Pepsi-Cola North America. Saint John has been recognized for her breakthrough work by both the industry and her peers, having been inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement in 2014. Additionally, she serves on the boards of Girls Who Code and Vital Voices, and in March 2017, she was named as a Henry Crown Fellow by the Aspen Institute.

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Paramount Pictures

MELINDA FROELICH
SVP, International Marketing, Paramount Home Entertainment
Froelich handles international marketing, advertising, public relations, promotions and release strategy for all transactional windows post-theatrical. She also oversees global marketing for all worldwide television partners. Froelich joined the studio in 2005, having previously worked at The Walt Disney Company for eight years.

HILARIE HILDEBRANDT
SVP, Global Accounts and Customer Marketing, Paramount Home
Entertainment
Hildebrandt oversees customer marketing and sales for global digital accounts with a focus on aligning strategic initiatives across new-release, catalog and television product. Her responsibilities include executing consumer-focused programs with each retail client to maximize sales and drive growth formats including 4K Ultra HD, digital sellthrough and VOD. Hildebrandt and her team work to leverage the continually evolving digital retail environment to ensure Paramount and its partners reach their core objectives. Hildebrandt previously served as VP of retail marketing at 20th Century Fox, and also held sales director positions at Fox and Polygram Filmed Entertainment in Canada.

NANCY POPE
SVP, Human Resources, Paramount Pictures
Pope supports the home entertainment, theatrical marketing and TV licensing divisions. Early in her career she worked for AT&T as both an operations manager and HR professional. Upon earning her master’s degree in industrial psychology, Pope left AT&T and joined Nestle USA, where she became the director of training and development. In 1999, she joined EMI Music North America to become VP of human resources, and in 2007 she joined Paramount Pictures.

ALANNA POWERS
SVP, Brand Marketing, Paramount Home Entertainment
Powers leads the division’s global marketing strategies, product development, and management of new releases, acquisitions and library titles. She and her teams develop campaigns for physical and digital distribution channels that align with cross-divisional partners to maximize the studio’s full portfolio of titles. Prior to joining Paramount, Powers held senior marketing positions at Redbox and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment after starting her career at FCB.

AUBREY THOMASON
SVP, Business Affairs and Legal, Paramount Pictures
Thomason focuses on acquisitions for distribution primarily through television and home entertainment channels, related security agreements, interparty agreements and theatrical services agreements, as well as domestic video sublicensing matters. Prior to joining Paramount, Thomason was an associate at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP (2000-05), where she primarily worked on corporate finance and real estate transactions, but also served as outside counsel to Paramount Pictures between 2003 and 2005.

LEDA CHANG, VP, Digital Marketing, Paramount Home Entertainment
MICHELE RUMAIN, VP, Advertising (Media), Paramount Home Entertainment
PAMELA SIVULA, VP, Financial Planning, Paramount Home Entertainment

PBS Distribution

GERMAINE DEAGAN SWEET
Managing Director, Content Acquisitions
A TV industry veteran, Sweet has worked her way across the globe, from her homeland in Australia to London and the United States. As head of the acquisitions unit, she is responsible for ensuring a significant and consistent pipeline of quality drama for PBS Distribution and, with key internal partners, the larger PBS system. Additionally, she focuses on increasing and solidifying co-production partnerships and financing for a wide range of productions developed by PBS, WGBH, WETA and WNET, as well as programs from independent producers such as Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and well-known U.K. producers. Prior to joining PBS Distribution in 2017, Sweet held key executive positions at Fox Network Group, where she launched its international sales unit and merged the Fox International Channels and National Geographic content sales businesses. She also launched and led the National Geographic Channels global content sales business.

JILL GREENBLATT
Senior Director, Production Operations
Greenblatt directs the production operations department at PBS Distribution. Her department is responsible for the acquisition, creation and distribution of assets for streaming media, Blu-ray and DVD, and broadcast worldwide. She developed and implemented an end-to-end media supply chain and overhauled technical specifications and developed other day-to-day operational processes. Her efforts have increased production output for the company by more than 40%. Greenblatt previously worked at 21st Century Fox, Sony Pictures and numerous other companies in a variety of post-production, operations and
engineering positions.

Premiere Digital

MICHELE EDELMAN
Head of Growth
With more than 20 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/EST 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.

EVELYN ARTEAGA
Executive Director of Operations
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 her current position, she has improved and developed processes that efficiently adapted 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.

BETH ARCHER
Director of Mastering
Since joining Premiere Digital, Archer has risen from an entry level position in ingest and mastering to director of mastering. She 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 alongside the rise of digital media in entertainment.

ABIGAIL HUGHES
VP, Growth, EMEA
Hughes is a well-respected global supply chain and operations expert with significant experience at top entertainment companies, working with sales teams and customers to optimize end-to-end content distribution. Her career includes stints at BBC Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Endemol Shine where she led multiple efforts including digital supply chain transformation and global technical operations. At Premiere Digital, she leads global expansion in Europe, growing the company’s presence worldwide and establishing the company as a media and technology solution for global industry leaders.

NATALIE MARTIN
VP, Growth and Development
Martin 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 with innovative strategies and solutions that maximize profitability. In her current role, she 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.

CARRIE MOORE
VP, Product Development
Moore is the quintessential Premiere Digital success story. Since joining the company as the seventh employee, she 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.

Redbox

KAVITA SUTHAR
CFO
Suthar assumed her current role in 2020. From 2015 to 2020, she served in various finance positions at Redbox, including VP of finance, strategy and analytics and senior director of financial planning and analysis. Before joining Redbox, Suthar worked in positions in finance, strategy and audit at U.S. Cellular from 2004 to 2015. In addition, she worked as an auditor for Grant Thornton from 2002 to 2004. Suthar received a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a licensed CPA.

KRISTIN BOWSER
VP, Operations
Bowser leads the company’s field support group of 1,000 employees across the U.S. who service and stock Redbox kiosks. She and her team also provide service and support to third parties through Redbox’s service business including Amazon Lockers, ECO ATM and other kiosk businesses. During the pandemic, she played a pivotal role for Redbox and its third-party service business ensuring millions of customers were able to enjoy new-release movies, easily access purchases and recycle electronics safely. She joined Redbox in 2009 in the machine support department and quickly moved through the organization to her current role. Prior to joining Redbox, Kristin worked as district manager for Family Video.

LAURA FLORENCE
Senior Director, Content Partnerships and Programming
Florence leads Redbox’s digital partnerships and programming teams, handling content acquisitions and programming for TVOD/EST, AVOD and FAST Channels. A more than 14-year veteran of the entertainment industry, with extensive experience in both the physical and digital categories of content distribution, Florence has partnered with some of the largest digital distributors and retailers in the industry, including Walmart, Amazon, Vudu and iTunes. Most recently, she worked at Gravitas Ventures running North American sales and marketing for theatrical, TVOD/Cable/Satellite, home entertainment and AVOD Sales.

LORI FLYNN
VP, Content
Flynn is focused on revenue-growth strategies, including exclusive and original content opportunities for the movie business. Prior to joining Redbox, she spent more than 17 years at Blockbuster Video, where she was responsible for managing the rental/merchandising group for corporate stores and online.

MAURA GRAY
Senior Director, Consumer Marketing and Partnerships
Gray helps Redbox’s 40 million customers discover and enjoy entertainment across all the products the company offers, from transactional to ad-supported free content. She oversees multiple large-scale brand initiatives and was tasked with building awareness for the launch of Redbox’s most recent services, Free Live TV and Free On Demand. Prior to joining Redbox, she focused on ad sales and partnership marketing at the National Geographic Channels.

NICOLE HENRY
Senior Director, Financial Planning and Analysis
Henry oversees the financial strategy and analytics team at Redbox, including budgeting, payments, content analytics and deal support. She has also handled financial planning and analytics for Redbox’s digital transactional business as well as its ad-supported free content platforms. Prior to joining Redbox, Henry served as manager, corporate financial planning and analysis for Outerwall. She began her career in the public and educational sectors.

Sling TV

MELISA ORDONEZ BODDIE
VP, Programming
Boddie heads up the local broadcast, public interest and pay-for-carriage business for Dish Network and Sling TV. Her responsibilities include local, core and paid-programming acquisitions, including contract negotiations.

LIZ RIEMERSMA
VP, Sling and Dish International Programming

Riemersma oversees programming, marketing and operations for both Dish International and Sling International. She is responsible for acquiring and marketing international content, and driving subscriber growth across 27 languages at Dish and Sling TV.

Shout! Factory

MELISSA BOAG
SVP, Family Entertainment
As head of the family entertainment division — a significant part of the company’s business — Boag develops North American marketing, distribution, acquisition and sales strategy in the physical and digital business. She oversees the company’s key partnerships with Sesame Street, Hasbro/eOne Entertainment, Gkids, Laika Studios, Anime Limited, Eleven Arts, ​and other notable filmmakers and producers. Under her management, the studio’s animated entertainment business has seen significant growth each year showcasing key lines, including Studio Ghibli classics with Gkids, Laika Studios specialty releases, the classic “Transformers” movies and series, Gkids’ wide range of acclaimed animated and anime films, “Digimon Adventure Tri.” movies, and other top anime properties and critically acclaimed family films.

LAUREN BLUM
Associate VP, Publicity
Blum is an accomplished PR strategist, with a great passion for communication, journalism, business and leadership. She has delivered outstanding film, digital and home entertainment campaigns over the years. Recent highlights include campaigns for the comedy drama Misbehaviour, documentary features A Crime on the Bayou and Linda and the Mockingbirds, and home entertainment releases from Gkids, Studio Ghibli and the upcoming Laika Studios editions.

JULIE DANSKER
Head of New Content Sales
A seasoned entertainment executive with long-standing relationships with esteemed content creators, content buyers, multichannel video programming distributors, digital and streaming platforms, studios and networks, Dansker oversees the new content sales and strategy for Shout! Factory. She leads the efforts to distribute premium theatrical new releases and sell content directly to key global partners, leveraging her strong relationships with the buyers at major streaming services and digital channels. She collaborates with the film acquisitions team to acquire and distribute new movies and series to streaming and broadcast partners. She also works closely with Shout! Studios’ original productions team to develop original content across television, feature films and podcast, actively pitching and setting up original productions as well.

KATHY CALLAHAN
VP, Special Market Sales and E-Commerce
Callahan is a 30-plus year veteran of entertainment media sales and marketing. She joined the company in 2006. Since 2012 she has served as the GM of Shout! Factory’s e-commerce businesses, which include ShoutFactory.com, the MST3Kstore.com, and Shout!’s Amazon Marketplace business. Callahan also handles Shout! Factory specialty sales and non-traditional sales in general.

KARRIE STOUFFER
VP, Creative Services
Stouffer is the head of creative, specializing in entertainment properties. Her expertise spans numerous functions, including leading and managing creative campaigns, art direction, design, key art/logo/brand/title treatment development, and project management. Most recently, Stouffer has helped spearhead the branding/merchandising of the reboot of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” in step with Shout! Factory’s leap into original content.

Sony Pictures

JILL ALLEN
SVP, Digital Distribution
Allen heads up U.S. digital distribution across all new-media and MVPD platforms, including Amazon, Apple TV, Fandango and Comcast. She oversees sales and sales-planning teams to drive business across the studio’s new-release and catalog properties. Allen began her career at Disney and LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) before joining the Sony team 15 years ago. During her time at Sony, she has held both sales and business development roles, always with a focus on the intersection of content and new technologies.

JENNIFER ANDERSON
SVP, Global Brand Marketing
Anderson leads the global brand management 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-home, and delighting content-hungry consumers with a wide range of catalog titles that continue to shine.

GERI BLUEROCK
SVP, Sales and Operations, North America
Bluerock leads the sales and operations organization for the domestic physical business. Her scope includes sales, supply chain, planning, reporting and administration. She has led the evolution of the sales team to integrate data-driven insights addressing retailer and consumer opportunities. 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.

ANJA DANG
SVP, Global Audience Analytics, Data Science and Business Insights
Dang is responsible for identifying and developing Sony Pictures’ capabilities to become a more consumer-centric, data-driven organization. Her team builds, sources, connects, and manages consumer and audience-level data assets and capabilities; understands and creates consumer segments for activation; designs activation solutions for Sony Pictures Entertainment audiences; and delivers insights. Her team utilizes advanced data analytics and machine learning to develop models and apps to enable SPE to make informed decisions that drive and fulfill consumer appetite for film and television content across the theatrical, home entertainment and television release windows.

JACQUI MARSHALL
EVP, Legal Affairs
Marshall heads up the corporate legal team for Sony in the EMEA region. She is responsible for legal matters for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, including physical and digital rights distribution and acquisition, joint ventures, operational and retailer arrangements, and all other corporate and commercial initiatives. Marshall has looked after SPHE’s legal requirements in EMEA for more than a decade after starting her career at Universal Pictures.

JANE MOHON
SVP, Media
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.

DINA WIGGINS
SVP, Legal
Wiggins has been overseeing legal affairs worldwide for SPHE marketing for nearly 25 years, closely collaborating with all departments throughout SPHE. Her work also includes legal compliance in all aspects of the licensing, distribution, sales, manufacturing, and other exploitation of movies and television series in home entertainment for domestic and international territories, excluding EMEA.

CATHY GOLDMAN
SVP, Global TV Distribution and International Production Marketing
Goldman has been overseeing marketing for Sony Pictures Television International Distribution for the past seven years, and just recently expanded her purview to include the U.S. television distribution business as well as the global transactional business for television product. Alignment of the transactional TV business with distribution allows for a holistic marketing approach across the lifecycle. 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 “Outlander,” “The Crown,” “Better Call Saul” and “The Blacklist,” as well as key franchises such as “Seinfeld” and Norman Lear favorites.

ALLIE CARSIA-TALBOTT, VP, Digital Distribution
SUZANNE EMERSON, VP, Legal
JUDY GUEVARA, VP, Global Brand Marketing
HELENA KU, VP, Business Affairs
JANET SCHACKMAN, VP, Customer Operations
JANA SIMMONS, VP, Global Customer Experience
JOAN VILLAROS, VP, Production Services, North America

STXfilms

AMY ELKINS
President, Media and Marketing Innovation
Elkins has pioneered a results-driven direct-to-consumer ad model. She is the strategic media architect behind all STX releases, including such hits as the “Bad Moms” franchise, The Upside, Hustlers and Greenland. She created a comprehensive data-driven specialty unit to tackle effective business solutions via audience understanding and advanced analytics and insights, while also leading campaign innovation and inventive partnership success.

CHRISTINE MANNA
EVP, Digital Distribution
Over the past 15 months, Manna and her team created new strategies for STX films to reach the new stay-at-home audience, negotiating new terms with each of the top PVOD platforms. Manna and her team created bespoke release models for such STX films as Greenland (one of the top films in the PVOD category), Songbird, Horizon Line, The Mauritanian, The Secret Garden and Me, You, Madness.

KERI MOORE
President, Marketing
Moore oversees all marketing, branding and communication strategies for all STX films and is involved in marketing from the films’ inception through all lifecycles. With such recent releases as Greenland, The Gentlemen, Songbird, My Spy, The Mauritanian and Horizon Line, and the upcoming Queenpins, the company has maximized success and profitability through deal making and release strategies in the home entertainment corridor.

CAROLYN STEINMETZ
EVP and Head of Content Finance
Steinmetz’s team is critical to the company’s dealmaking, licensing and distribution of film entertainment on all platforms. She has driven the deals behind such hits as Bad Moms and I Feel Pretty, which became even bigger wins in home entertainment. More recently, she has arranged deals for Greenland, Songbird and My Spy. She is president of the nonprofit women’s industry organization FEME (Female Executives in Media and Entertainment).

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

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

SANDY CHOI
SVP, Brand Marketing
Choi manages UPHE’s North American third-party partner relationships. She oversees the development and execution of all marketing campaigns for the partner releases across both physical and digital platforms. She also leads the cross-functional team responsible for the overall business.

DENISE HARO
SVP, Worldwide Consumer Insights and Strategy
Haro oversees 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, windows, 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 oversees 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.

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
ERICA MARIE DIONNE, VP, Product Development and Strategy
LEIGH DUNLEAVY, VP, Digital Platforms
ALISSA GURY, VP, Global Controller
NADIA HANEY, VP, Emerging Partnerships and Formats
TRACY KIM, VP, Digital Distribution and Digital Platforms
SANDY LE BIHAN, VP, Global Projects
STEPHANIE LUTJENS, VP, Global Brand Marketing
MARIAN MANSI, VP, Global Creative Content
JENNA WEBB, VP, Global Tech Operations

ViacomCBS/Paramount+

TANYA GILES
Chief Programming Officer, ViacomCBS Streaming
Giles oversees and executes a holistic programming strategy for the global content offering across the company’s streaming services Paramount+ and Pluto TV, maximizing mix, prioritization, timing and impact of ViacomCBS resources, franchises and brands to drive sustained audience acquisition and engagement. With more than 20 years of experience, Giles is widely respected across the entertainment industry and has a proven track record of applying research-driven insights to make high-impact programming decisions. Prior to joining ViacomCBS Streaming, Giles served as GM for the ViacomCBS MTV Entertainment Group, where she led content strategy, programming, and research and insights for leading entertainment brands such as MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, VH1, TV Land and others.

NICOLE CLEMENS
President, Paramount Television Studios and Paramount+ Original Scripted Series
Clemens oversees a robust slate of shows including original scripted content for Paramount+. Upcoming projects include “The Offer” (Paramount+) starring Miles Teller, and “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” (Paramount+). Previously, Clemens was a producer at Anonymous Content, where she set up both film and television projects. Prior to joining Anonymous Content, Clemens was EVP and head of series development for FX Networks, where she guided a coveted roster of critically acclaimed original series including “Atlanta,” “Better Things,” “You’re the Worst,” “Baskets,” “Snowfall,” “Tyrant” and “Mayans MC.” Before that, Clemens was a partner and head of the motion picture literary department at ICM Partners for 16 years. Prior to her tenure at ICM Partners, Clemens ran Rod Holcomb Productions and was a television executive at Spelling Television.

CATHERINE HOUSER
EVP, Paramount Pictures, Worldwide Human Resources and ViacomCBS Streaming
Houser has managed human resources teams in the entertainment industry for 30 years. Prior to overseeing Paramount Pictures HR, Houser 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.

ELIZABETH WRIGHT
EVP, Finance, ViacomCBS Streaming
Wright steers financial strategy for both Paramount+ and Pluto TV. Prior to joining ViacomCBS Streaming, Wright was at CBS for more than 10 years. As an SVP of financial planning and analysis, Wright ran annual budget processes, managed monthly KPIs, and drove initiatives for new business partnerships for CBS’s digital division.

AMY KUESSNER
SVP, Content Strategy and Global Partnerships, ViacomCBS Streaming
Kuessner is responsible for growth strategies, partnerships, content licensing and international expansion for Pluto TV and focused areas of Paramount+. In this role, Kuessner brings her expertise, creative vision and strategy to identify, bridge and scale symbiotic content partnerships across the multiple streaming platforms. Since its onset, Kuessner has been instrumental in the development and oversight of Pluto TV’s content acquisitions team, responsible for establishing nearly 400 global content deals with major Hollywood studios, TV Networks, distributors, major sports leagues, news organizations and publishing outfits.

SUSAN LUNDGREN
SVP, Communications, ViacomCBS Streaming
Lundgren oversees all external and internal communications and public relations efforts for the division as well as its streaming service Paramount+. She has more than 20 years of communications experience working with some of the top brands within tech and media. Prior to joining ViacomCBS Streaming, Lundgren was with Apple, where she was responsible for managing global strategic communications for legal, government affairs and industrial design as a part of the corporate communications team.

Warner Bros. Entertainment

NICOLE COLEMAN
SVP, Analytics, Planning and Marketing Operations
Coleman leads analytics, business planning, distribution marketing and operational teams in support of maximizing revenue for the sales and distribution organization.

KRISTINA FUGATE
SVP, Marketing, Film
Fugate handles all theatrical new-release and catalog brand marketing efforts across disc and digital platforms, which also includes creative advertising, franchise lifecycle management and global strategy. She’s responsible for developing strategies resulting in strong performances of brands and franchises, including “DC,” “Harry Potter,” “Godzilla,” “Wonder Woman” and the “Lego” films and recent titles including Tenet, Scoob!, Wonder Woman 1984 and Godzilla vs. Kong, as well as the 4K UHD slate and virtual reality experiences.

LAURA LUPINETTI
SVP, Partner Marketing
Lupinetti is responsible for maximizing Warner Bros. content exposure across the distribution landscape (digital and physical) to drive revenue for the full transactional portfolio using price variability, content exclusives/creative differentiation and co-marketing opportunities.

MARY ELLEN THOMAS
SVP, TV and Originals Product and Brand Marketing
Thomas leads home entertainment global marketing and creative for all non-theatrical content from Warner Bros., TNets (Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TBS, TNT, truTV, CNN) and HBO. She is responsible for driving the overall strategy, product development, creative, marketing and lifecycle management for originals and episodic product lines. In addition, Thomas manages talent and studio relationships and is responsible for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s portfolio brand partners, including Rooster Teeth, Peanuts, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, WWE and Viz Media.

KRISTIN ANDERSON, VP, TV Marketing
TRACI CARROLL, VP, Creative Advertising
AMY-BETH CHAMBERLIN, VP, Sales Services
SANDRA S. KIM, VP, Global Product Planning
TINA DEPASS LUJAN, VP, TV Marketing, TV Series
ANGIE LAI MAKHOUL, VP, Film Marketing
ZANDRA PALMER, VP, Trade Marketing
BETH WETZEL, VP, Creative Advertising

Blockbuster Plots IPO, Offers to Buy Netflix — and Other Fake News for Your April Fool’s Day Enjoyment!

In a series of shocking moves, bankrupt/shuttered Blockbuster Video LLC April 1 filed papers with the Securities Exchange Commission seeking to go public in 2021 — and headed by 72-year-old former CEO John Antioco. Blockbuster, which at its peak operated more than 9,000 locations worldwide, is looking to sell 100 million Class A common shares with an opening price of $10 per share.

In an exclusive interview with Media Play News, Antioco says the funds would be used to acquire SVOD behemoth Netflix for a purchase price of $1 trillion — the largest corporate acquisition in history. Netflix co-founder/co-CEO Reed Hastings will assume the title of honorary president, while co-CEO/CCO Ted Sarandos will be tasked with revitalizing Blockbuster’s retail footprint. Sarandos, a former video store manager before joining Netflix when it was primarily a by-mail disc rental service, was not immediately available for comment.

The merger comes 21 years after the infamous Dallas meeting where Hastings and former Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy came looking to sell Netflix to Blockbuster for $50 million. Hastings and McCarthy were reportedly laughed out of the conference room by Blockbuster executives. Netflix now has a market cap around $250 billion. Blockbuster shuttered all remaining corporate-owned stores in 2013.

“I’m not laughing now,” Antioco said, adding Hastings has an interest in jumpstarting vinyl record sales at the new Blockbuster stores. “[Hastings] told me the only way to really appreciate Billie Eilish is on vinyl. Whatever Reed says, I’m listening.”

India Buys Disney; CEO Bob Chapek Relocates to Tibet

The Walt Disney Co. April 1 announced it has agreed in principle to an acquisition offer from the government of India. While financial details of the extraordinary deal have not been disclosed, scuttlebutt suggests the price tag exceeds $1 trillion.

India has become a focal point among studios and over-the-top video platforms seeking to tap into the world’s No. 2 population. With 1.4 billion people, including 1.1 billion on portable media devices such as smartphones, India is fertile ground for SVOD platforms looking for growth to justify multibillion-dollar infrastructure/content investments and the future of their movie/TV program distribution.

When Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, included in the deal was Hotstar, an Indian SVOD platform offering exclusive access to Indian Premier League cricket. Hotstar is now part of Disney+, and accounts for 30% of the platform’s 95 million subscribers.

“The transaction represents a new world order in entertainment and changing consumer dynamic,” said CEO Bob Chapek, who will continue to run what will be known as Mumbai Disney from an office in a Bangalore office park.

In an exclusive interview with Media Play News, Chapek says he will open a second office in Tibet. “I hear the skiing’s great,” he says.

Mitch Lowe Returns to Roots With VHS-Only Rental Store

Mitch Lowe is returning to his video rental roots by opening a VHS-only video rental store in Sausalito, Calif.

Lowe, best known as one of the founders of both Netflix and Redbox — as well as the spectacularly unsuccessful MoviePass — announced his latest venture in an April 1 news release.

He is resurrecting the name of the video store he ran before his other ventures — Video Droid — and in a nod to MoviePass is offering customers the chance to rent as many videocassettes as they like for a monthly subscription fee of $9.99.

“The only stipulation is they have to sign a contract agreeing to rewind all rented videocassettes,” Lowe said.

As for returns, “I don’t care if they bring them back or not,” he says.

His opening inventory includes such classics as New Line’s Poison Ivy, with a young Drew Barrymore; MGM’s original 50th anniversary release of The Wizard of Oz, with a completely unrestored version of the classic film and absolutely no bonus content; and 1993’s Snapdragon, one of many erotic thrillers released in the 1990s by Prism Entertainment.

The new store even has a slogan: “Make it a Video Droid night.”

Resurrected Fox Home Video Bows New Windowing Strategy

Former Fox Home Video executives Mike Dunn, Pat Wyatt and Steve Feldstein on April 1 announced a hostile takeover of what’s left of the original 20th Century Fox film operation acquired, and subsequently absorbed, by the Walt Disney Co.

With funding from private equity firm Lieberfarb & Associates, the reborn studio says it will release all of its films simultaneously in theaters and on DVD.

The three executives won’t comment publicly, citing pending litigation, but sources suggest projects in the pipeline include an updated version of the famed Star Wars holiday special and a belated Die Hard sequel set in the iconic Fox Tower now owned by Dunn, who since leaving Fox has made a fortune in the craft brewery business.

Paramount+ Revamps Logo, Changes Blue to ‘Tickled Pink’

The new Paramount+ subscription streaming is changing the color of its logo from blue to “Tickled Pink” in honor of Paramount Home Entertainment president Bob Buchi’s iconic home office.

The office, seen by millions through Buchi’s frequent appearances on DEG virtual conferences, is an extra bedroom in a rented house. The unique, eye-catching color has become a symbol of home entertainment’s resilience during the pandemic.

The color has become so popular that other executives whose home offices are frequently seen by DEG conference attendees, including Warner Bros. Home Entertainment president Jim Wuthrich, PBS Distribution president Andrea Downing, and Google Play’s Jonathan Zepp, are considering similar shades of pink for their home offices.

Trade Publication ‘Media Play News’ Gets New Owner, Focus

Media Play News has been sold.

The publication – one of five Hollywood trades and the only one to focus exclusively on home entertainment – has been picked up by publishing giant Conde Nast in a deal reportedly valued in the billions.

Existing staff members John Boezinger, John Latchem and Stephanie Prange, along with reporter Erik Gruenwedel, will be kept on board as the publication transitions into a consumer magazine aimed at tropical fish aficionados.

Publisher Thomas K. Arnold is leaving immediately to open a combination vinyl LP and rare book store near his Carlsbad, Calif. home.

“I’ll also be selling 30 years’ worth of tchotchkes on eBay, in partnership with the DEG’s Amy Jo Smith,” Arnold said. “We’ve got all sorts of cool collectibles, from Gone with the Wind watches to Eminem 8 Mile skull caps — and an unlimited supply of SpongeBob stickers and coloring books.”

“I’ve got quite a few DEG-Deloitte bags,” Smith said. “It will be nice to no longer have to pay for that storage unit.”

Top 10 of 2020: The Biggest Home Entertainment News Stories

With the coronavirus pandemic raging, the big Hollywood movie studios made unprecedented changes in their film-release strategies in 2020, rushing top-tier titles into the home and boosting new and existing streaming services.

It truly was a year like no other.

Here are the top 10 home entertainment news stories of 2020 as chosen by the Media Play News editorial staff.

1. Blockbusters Enter the Stream: With movies theaters shuttered during the pandemic, Walt Disney Studios and Warner Bros. took the unprecedented move to send top tier theatrical releases to their sister streaming services.

First, Walt Disney Studios offered the live-action blockbuster Mulan exclusively to Disney+ subscribers over the Labor Day weekend as a $29.99 add-on to unlock access to the movie months before its regular availability — marking Disney’s first-ever Premier Access (PVOD) release and a sea change in studio window strategy. The studio defended the decision — which was followed by sending Pixar Animation’s Soul to the Disney+ streaming service, this time at no additional cost, on Christmas — as a reality of the times. “We thought it was a really nice gesture to our subscribers during the holiday period to provide [Soul] as part of the service,” said Disney CEO Bob Chapek. “I think what we’ve learned with Mulan is that there’s going to be a role for [PVOD] strategically with our portfolio of offerings.”

After debuting such top-tier titles as Roald Dahl’s The Witches on its new streaming service HBO Max, WarnerMedia in December shocked the industry by announcing that the streaming service would offer subscribers free access to all Warner Bros. theatrical releases through 2021 concurrently with their box office debut.  The new strategy rankled exhibitors and creators, while offering moviegoers an alternative to the cineplex during the pandemic. The studio bowed Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max and in theaters Christmas day. Notably, WW84 posted the largest opening weekend domestic box office during the pandemic with $16.7 million — driven in part by 10,000 watch parties, or small groups renting out theaters for private screenings.

2. HBO Max Debuts: WarnerMedia in May launched its much-anticipated HBO Max subscription streaming service at $14.99 per month — the most-expensive SVOD platform on the market — with several glaring problems. The platform, which promised an ad-supported edition in 2021, bowed without consumer access via the Roku or Amazon Fire TV platforms (reportedly representing 70% of Internet access), which contributed to stalling the Max sub growth out of the gate. The fact that existing services HBO Go and HBO Now were also still available didn’t help matters, confusing consumers about what they were actually getting with an HBO Max subscription. (Both were mercifully laid to rest two months after HBO Max’s launch.) WarnerMedia eventually inked distribution deals with Roku and Amazon, helping it generate 38.6 million combined HBO/HBO Max subscribers through Sept. 30.

3. Peacock Launches: NBCUniversal April 15 launched its own streaming video platform, Peacock, the media giant’s first over-the-top video platform and an SVOD service with an ad-supported option. The company initially made the premium service available at no cost to Comcast’s X1 and Flex (Internet-only) customers before rolling it out nationally in July. It quickly generated 20 million subscribers. To boost the offering, NBCUniversal wrestled away exclusive streaming rights to the popular comedy series “The Office” from Netflix. The series, to begin streaming in a tiered plan on Peacock Jan. 1, 2021, had been a longtime draw for Netflix.

4. TVOD Has Its Moment: After it and other studios rushed titles to early digital release during the pandemic, Universal Pictures made the bold move to drop Trolls World Tour from its theatrical slate to distribute the animated sequel directly to consumers in April via premium VOD. The strategy generated $100 million in revenue in 28 days and helped revive the PVOD business model — and the transactional VOD business at large — as other studios soon joined suit by rushing titles to PVOD. Soon, titles that might have topped the box office were heading up the charts of such transactional services as Redbox On Demand, FandangoNow and Vudu.  The latter two TVOD services in April became sister services when NBCUniversal’s Fandango acquired the 10-year-old Vudu from Walmart.

“All the press is about SVOD and AVOD services, ad-supported or subscription, but transactional sort of quietly had a moment in 2020,” said Fandango VP of home entertainment Cameron Douglas during a November panel.

5. If You Can’t Beat ‘Em … : In a peace offering to theater chains, Universal Pictures inked pacts with AMC Theatres and Cinemark affording the studio early PVOD access for select theatrical releases in exchange for splitting the home entertainment revenue with exhibitors. Universal and subsidiary Focus Features picked up the right to offer consumers PVOD access to movies with less than $50 million in domestic opening weekend ticket sales. Under the pact, movies with a higher box office could be released on PVOD 31 days after their theatrical bow. As a result, Universal maintained a steady year-end theatrical slate, spearheaded by The Croods: A New Age, Freaky and News of the World, among other titles.

6. Hail to New Chiefs: In February, former Disney home entertainment head Bob Chapek was named CEO of The Walt Disney Co., with previous boss Bob Iger assuming executive chairman duties. Chapek, who most recently headed Disney’s Parks & Recreation unit, said he was well-suited directing Disney’s renewed focus on direct-to-consumer business.

In another big studio shift, ex-Hulu boss Jason Kilar became CEO of WarnerMedia in the spring and proceeded to announce layoffs — among them longtime executive Ron Sanders — and other shifts to refocus the studio on streaming.

Meanwhile, Netflix in July announced that 20-year veteran and chief creative officer Ted Sarandos would share co-CEO duties with co-founder/co-CEO Reed Hastings. The move appeared to signal a reduction in executive duties and possible retirement for Hastings, who quickly downplayed the shared corporate duties as a strategic maneuver. “Let me be really clear: I’m in for a [another] decade,” Hastings said.

7. Movie Theaters Face Existential Crisis: Movie theaters worldwide shuttered in mid-March due to the expanding coronavirus pandemic. The situation caused havoc for exhibitors, with the world’s largest, AMC Theatres, struggling to remain solvent and later opening some theaters with limited seating and strict safety protocols. Indeed, No. 2 exhibitor Regal Cinemas threw in the towel in the fall, remaining closed indefinitely. Meanwhile, studios shifted blockbuster movies online, a further blow to the exhibition business.

8. AVOD Marches on: Ad-supported VOD upped its growth trajectory with Pluto TV (owned by Viacom) and Tubi (acquired in March by Fox Corp.) expanding distribution worldwide — the latter with first-run Fox Entertainment programming such as “The Masked Singer,” among other programs. Redbox increased its digital presence, launching an ad-supported VOD platform called Redbox Free On Demand.

9. Catalog in the Spotlight: Catalog titles topped the charts on disc and digital as the new-release pipeline slowed due to the coronavirus. Studios polished catalog titles for 4K Ultra HD release, such as Paramount’s Coming to America and Beverly Hills Cop, Sony’s six-film “Resident Evil” collection, and Warner’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies. With the pandemic raging, resonating and topical titles such as Sony’s Groundhog Day and Warner’s Contagion caught on with consumers. “It’s uncanny how it kind of mimics what’s going on in the real world today,” Jim Wuthrich, president of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and Games, said of Contagion.

10. Streaming Short Timer: It wasn’t all good news for digital delivery. Quibi, the $1.7 billion mobile device-centric, short form-content video streaming service, announced just six months after starting operations that it was shuttering. Launched by DreamWorks Animation founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and eBay founder Meg Whitman, in the end Quibi reportedly had fewer than 1 million subscribers willing to pay $4.99 monthly for ad-supported content no longer than 10 minutes.

40 Under 40 in Home Entertainment, Class of 2020

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

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

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

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

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Alexandra Schutz, 37

Director, Project Management, PBS Distribution

Alexandra Schutz

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

Aliona LeSchack, 35

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

Aliona LeSchack

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

Amir Al-Shreideh, 38

Senior Director of Engineering, Vudu

Amir Al-Shreideh

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

Bill Wee, 39

SVP, Original Animation, HBO Max

Bill Wee

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

Brandon Pierce, 39

VP, Creative Director, Hulu

Brandon Pierce

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

Brian Day, 35

SVP, Global Strategy & Licensing, Lionsgate

Brian Day

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

Camila Clifton, 36

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

Camila Clifton

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

Charmane Bethune, 30

Customer Service Manager, FandangoNow

Charmane Bethune

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

Chase Brisbin, 35

SVP, Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution, Lionsgate

Chase Brisbin

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

Christian Coladilla, 38

Executive Director, Finance Planning, Paramount Home Entertainment

Christian Coladilla

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

Cole Galvin, 30

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

Cole Galvin

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

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Deepa Gopinathan, 37

Senior Digital & Partner Marketing Manager, Vudu

Deepa Gopinathan

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

Eddie Medranda, 39

Executive Director, Brand Marketing, Paramount Home Entertainment

Eddie Medranda

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

Irene Lee, 31

Director, Original Series (Drama), Netflix

Irene Lee

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

Jason Peterson, 39

CEO, GoDigital Media Group

Jason Peterson

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

Jeremy Glassman, 38

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

Jeremy Glassman

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

Jimmy Zasowski, 33

SVP, Platform Distribution Strategy, Disney Media Distribution

Jimmy Zasowski

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

Jude Fitzmorris, 32

Senior Product Manager, Prime Video, Amazon

Jude Fitzmorris

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

Katie Soo, 34

SVP, Growth Marketing, HBO Max

Katie Soo

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

Konstantin Rimarchuk, 37

Senior Director, FP&A, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Konstantin Rimarchuk

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

Laura Florence, 37

Director, Content Partnerships, Redbox

Laura Florence

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

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Lindsey Green, 37

SVP, Content Sales, Disney Media Distribution

Lindsey Green

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

Lizzie Fox, 35

SVP, Nonfiction Programming, HBO Max

Lizzie Fox

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

Lourdes Munoz, 36

Executive Director, TV Marketing, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Lourdes Munoz

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

Marissa Le, 30

Manager, CRM Strategy, FandangoNow

Marissa Le

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

Megan Zamyatin, 37

VP, Accounting & Finance, PBS Distribution

Megan Zamyatin

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

Nia King, 37

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

Nia King

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

Nicholas J. Stannard, 39

Executive Director, Business Analysis, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Nick Stannard

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

Rahul Bansal, 27

Manager, Original Series, Netflix

Rahul Bansal

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

Rashad Qasem, 31

Senior Director, Content Licensing & Strategy, Shout! Factory

Rashad Qasem

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

Rebecca Brown, 32

Director, Global Strategic Projects, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Rebecca Brown

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

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Rema Morgan-Aluko, 35

Senior Director of Software Engineering, FandangoNow

Rema Morgan-Aluko

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

Sarah J. De Bruin, 36

Director of Publicity, Shout! Factory

Sarah DeBruin

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

Sarah Shepard, 39

VP, Original Scripted Content, Disney+

Sarah Shepard

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

Shaina O. Yee, 39

Executive Director, Market Insights, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Shaina Yee

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

Shavonne Wieder, 39

Senior Director, Global Brand Marketing, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Shavonne Wieder

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

Suzie Hyun, 39

Senior Manager, Studio Relations, Samsung

Suzie Hyun

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

Tanya Cornejo, 34

Director, Customer Success, Premiere Digital

Tanya Cornejo

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

Tiffany Hawthorne, 36

Director, Original Series, Netflix

Tiffany Hawthorne

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

Valerie Zapata, 34

Director, Subscriber Partnerships and Growth, Hulu

Val Zapata

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

See a photo gallery of all 40 Under 40 honorees

Women in Home Entertainment 2020: The Teams

The “captains” profiled in the third annual Media Play News Women in Home Entertainment issue need smart, savvy and strategic teams who work with them. And then there are other women providing valuable leadership in the home entertainment space at independent content distributors, digital retailers, streaming services and other companies helping the industry continue to evolve.

SEE ALSO ‘WOMEN IN HOME ENTERTAINMENT 2020: THE 12 CAPTAINS’

Here’s a look at the rest of the Women in Home Entertainment, class of 2020 …

 

Amazon

JENNIFER SALKE
HEAD OF AMAZON STUDIOS
Salke is in charge of all aspects of television and film development, as well as production for Amazon’s entertainment division. This includes implementing an overall long-term content strategy for both units along with launching upcoming series and films, as well as ongoing support of current series. High-profile projects include “Lord of the Rings” and “Cortes,” from Steven Spielberg and starring Javier Bardem, and the Emmy-winning comedy series “Fleabag.”

MARIE DONOGHUE
VP, GLOBAL SPORTS VIDEO
Donoghue oversees Amazon’s global sports content business, as well as its sports strategy, enabling customers to access live and on-demand sports content, on hundreds of devices, in more than 200 countries and territories. Prior to joining Amazon, Donoghue served as EVP of global business and content strategy at ESPN, leading the ongoing development and implementation of its enterprise-wide business and content strategy. Donoghue oversaw all digital dealmaking for ESPN, including ESPN’s relationship with Disney-owned BAMTech, the home of ESPN’s first direct-to-consumer (OTT) streaming platform.

 

AMC/RLJ Entertainment

SYLVIA GEORGE
EVP AND GM, URBAN MOVIE CHANNEL

George oversees the management and operation of the UMC subscription streaming service across all platforms and available markets. Under her leadership, the service has seen a 200% increase to its subscriber base in the past 12 months and has developed an impressive slate of original programming that includes popular series “Craig Ross Jr.’s Monogamy,” “A House Divided,” and the latest breakout, “Double Cross.” Prior to that she was the company’s first chief marketing officer after serving as president, U.S., managing North American distribution and spearheading integration of Acorn Media and Image Entertainment, which were acquired by RLJ Entertainment in 2012. During this time, George helped to build Acorn’s brand profile as the “chief curator of the best Brit TV,” according to Time Magazine.

CATHERINE MACKIN
MANAGING DIRECTOR, ACORN MEDIA ENTERPRISES
Mackin previously worked at the BBC to run UKTV Gold, TV3 in Ireland as deputy director of programming, and again at the BBC in 2009 as UKTV’s director of programming acquisitions for nearly nine years. Since 2018, she has led Acorn Media Enterprises, British content SVOD service Acorn TV’s co-production and commissioning arm. She has overseen the commissioning or co-producing of dramas and mysteries including British mystery “Queens of Mystery,” Irish period drama “Dead Still,” British crime drama “London Kills,” New Zealand thriller “The Sounds,” British mystery “Agatha Raisin,” Australian drama “Mystery Road,” BBC drama “Keeping Faith,” Irish drama “Blood,” and Irish comedy “Finding Joy,” among several others, which have exclusively premiered on Acorn TV.

 

CBS All Access

JULIE MCNAMARA
EVP, HEAD OF PROGRAMMING
McNamara in February was promoted to head of programming for CBS All Access, reporting to ViacomCBS chief digital officer and CBS Interactive CEO Marc DeBevoise and chief creative officer David Nevins. McNamara’s expanded duties include spearheading programming strategy for the streaming platform, including current and future original series, acquisitions and bringing in content from other ViacomCBS properties, including BET, Comedy Central, Paramount, Nickelodeon, MTV, TV Land, VH1 and Smithsonian.

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Disney+/Disney Streaming Services

LINDA BAGLEY
DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL, DISNEY DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER & INTERNATIONAL
Bagley leads a global team of lawyers responsible for matters relating to company priorities such as Disney’s subscription streaming services and international media businesses.

ALISA BOWEN
SVP, OPERATIONS, DISNEY STREAMING SERVICES
Bowen is responsible for ensuring operational effectiveness for The Walt Disney Company’s direct-to-consumer video streaming businesses, including Disney+ and ESPN+. As part of her oversight, Alisa is responsible for overall program management, including the rollout of Disney+ across international markets, identification and implementation of Disney+ internal synergy opportunities, and leading global customer support for ESPN+ and Disney+.

LAURA EVANS
SVP, DATA SCIENCE AND ANALYTICS, DISNEY STREAMING SERVICES
Evans is responsible for overseeing analytics, data science and insight capabilities for the company’s portfolio of direct-to-consumer services, including ESPN+ and the Disney+ streaming service.

KAREN HOBSON
SVP, COMMUNICATIONS, DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER & INTERNATIONAL
Hobson oversees global communications and public affairs strategies across the Disney Direct-to-Consumer segment, including the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming businesses: Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu. She also oversees communications strategies for Disney’s international media operations stretching from Europe to Asia to Latin America.

TEHMINA JAFFER
SVP, BUSINESS AFFAIRS, DISNEY+
Jaffer leads all aspects of business affairs strategy, policy and procedure for the Disney+ content and marketing team. She oversees the coordination and negotiation of development, production and talent deals and contracts, as well as rights, acquisitions, clearances and content agreements. She also collaborates with content groups across the Walt Disney Company that are developing and producing original content exclusively for the service — including the Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm — as well as external third-party production entities.

ROBYN ARONSON, VP, business affairs, unscripted content, Disney+
MOLLY BRADY, VP, customer acquisition, Disney Streaming Services
JESSICA CASANO-ANTONELLIS, VP, communications, Disney Streaming Services
JENNIFER JONES, VP, business affairs, Disney+
PAULA MCMAHON, VP, integrated marketing, Disney+
SARAH SHEPARD, VP, originals — scripted content, Disney+

 

Disney Media Distribution

APRIL CARRETTA
SVP, COMMUNICATIONS
Carretta leads communications for Disney Media Distribution, which includes domestic channel distribution, global platform distribution, content licensing in the U.S. and Canada, and global in-home transactional sales. DMD licenses content to a wide range of high-profile platforms and third-party distribution channels, including linear (broadcast and cable), MVPDs, PVOD, SVOD, AVOD, digital and physical retailers, hotels and airlines. Carretta and her team manage content licensing announcements, consumer-facing campaigns and talent relations for the company’s portfolio of theatrical and television content. She also spearheads all corporate and executive communications on behalf of the division and its senior leaders.

CHRISTEN HARRIS, SVP, PLATFORM DISTRIBUTION
LAUREN MORRISSEY, SVP, PLATFORM DISTRIBUTION
LINDSEY GREEN, SVP, PLATFORM DISTRIBUTION
Green, 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 VOD and transactional sales for theatrical and television content from The Walt Disney Studios and Disney Media Networks across digital aggregators, MVPDs, devices and social media applications. Between the three of them they oversee a roster of well over 100 accounts, which also includes global airlines and hotels. In addition, they are heavily involved in the negotiations for Movies Anywhere with its digital retail partners.

CHERYLYN CARR, assistant general counsel
LORI COHEN-ELIAS, VP, marketing strategy
CYNDI CRUZ, VP, sales planning and administration
ELIZABETH DUKE, assistant chief counsel
JAIME GORMAN, VP, creative development
CHRISTINE HUPALO, VP, marketing
SUMMER IMAI, VP, content management
SUZANNE KAMENIR, VP, global creative marketing
JANE KIM, VP, business development and strategic partnerships
MICHELLE LEVISOHN, VP, creative development
JENNIFER LOURIE, VP, product management
KIMBERLY WILSON, VP, affiliate marketing account management

 

Dolby Labs

GRAEF ALLEN
MANAGER, TECHNICAL OPERATIONS
Allen manages Dolby’s Burbank-based technical operations department. She is one of the industry’s most experienced and knowledgeable resources for Dolby Vision mastering/delivery and has become a key technical driver in the growth of Dolby Vision since its 2015 launch. Allen works closely with both Dolby software as well as third-party products and partners. She has also spoken at several Dolby-supported events encouraging girls and young women to participate in STEM fields.

TINA ECKMAN
DIRECTOR OF CONTENT RELATIONS
Eckman leads the Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos account management effort for streaming content from Netflix, Apple, Showtime and several others. Passionate about inspiring the creative community for more than 25 years, she has been working on a global level with storytellers and their use of technology. Motivated to bring new women into entertainment technology, Eckman co-leads the Women in Post annual event at NAB, which has led to post-production job opportunities for women, by women.

 

Fandango

LORI PANTEL
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
Pantel directs all brand and marketing strategies across the company’s e-commerce and editorial content portfolio, including Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster, MovieTickets.com, Fandango Movieclips and TVOD service FandangoNow. Throughout her career, Pantel has effectively redefined and executed strategies for global consumer brands, with a focus on ensuring a cohesive global brand DNA that resonates with consumers, retailers and partners. Before joining Fandango, Pantel served as SVPD and global GM for Mattel’s girls’ brands. In this role, Pantel oversaw global teams responsible for worldwide brand and marketing strategy, creative execution and product development for Mattel’s “Monster High” and “Ever After High” brands, as well as the company’s “DC Super Hero Girls” line. Prior to that, Pantel served as VP of marketing for Mattel’s North America division, VP of global brand marketing, and associate brand manager on the Barbie brand.

DANA BENSON
SVP, COMMUNICATIONS
Benson directs all corporate communications and public relations functions across the company’s ticketing, e-commerce and editorial content portfolio, including Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster, MovieTickets.com and TVOD service FandangoNow. She also oversees public relations for subsidiaries Ingresso.com in Brazil, and Fandango Latin America.

PENNY ALBERTS
SENIOR DIRECTOR, CRM, STRATEGY AND CUSTOMER GROWTH PLANNING
Alberts leads cross-channel, journey-based retention strategies for Fandango, FandangoNow and Rotten Tomatoes. She crafts integrated business plans to align stakeholders around key beats throughout the movie lifecycle. She also drives incremental revenue across brands and franchises, and develops personalized contact strategies across email, push notifications and inbox that support business goals at brand, segment and genre levels.

REMA MORGAN-ALUKO
DIRECTOR, SOFTWARE ENGINEERING
With more than 15 years of experience in technology, engineering leadership and software development, Morgan-Aluko leads the technology group for FandangoNow. She oversees the development of Web, mobile apps, OTT applications and services, as well as application program interfaces (APIs) for the service. In pursuit of her goal to improve diversity and inclusion across the technology industry, Morgan-Aluko co-founded Fandango’s TECHWomen chapter, which aims to advance opportunities for female technologists within the company and beyond. Previously, Morgan-Aluko led the development and implementation of several initiatives across Fandango’s verticals, including trailers (Movieclips), video and editorial content, movie and entertainment metadata, commerce, user profiles, CRM, marketing campaigns, and programs, as well as advertising and monetization.

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Hulu

REAGAN FEENEY
VP, NETWORK PARTNERSHIPS
Feeney manages Hulu’s strategic relationships and carriage agreements with networks and operators. Previously, she was VP of content at AT&T’s DirecTV, where she was responsible for identifying and negotiating general entertainment and sports programming acquisitions, as well as maintaining external business relationships for linear cable channels, out-of-market sports subscription packages, regional sports networks and on-demand sports content.

BRITTANY HVEEM
HEAD OF BUSINESS AFFAIRS
Hveem leads negotiations of development and licensing deals related to Hulu’s slate of original series, documentaries, international co-productions and specials. She oversees the business and production relationships with studio suppliers such as Warner Bros., Universal Television, Sony and Lionsgate, approving production budgets and negotiations with talent. Prior to joining Hulu in 2016, Hveem was most recently VP of business affairs for Warner Horizon Television and was previously counsel at ABC Studios.

ANGIE KANG
VP, BUSINESS AND LEGAL AFFAIRS
Kang has led numerous deals that have built out Hulu’s content library. She led efforts to lock in the first official content provider for Hulu’s online TV service. Kang negotiated a multiyear deal with AMC Networks for “Fear the Walking Dead.” She closed a deal with 20th Century Fox Television Distribution for exclusive SVOD rights to new and upcoming FX and FXX primetime comedies, dramas and miniseries. She led all of Hulu’s legal efforts on an output agreement to new shows from Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TNT and TBS, among others.

JAYA KOLHATKAR
CHIEF DATA OFFICER
Kolhatkar oversees customer intelligence and all data- and analytics-related efforts at Hulu. She is responsible for elevating Hulu’s customer intelligence, implementing strong data governance and driving a culture of objective, data-driven decision making across the company. Kolhatkar manages a team of more than 100 across strategic analytics, data engineering, data science and business intelligence. Prior to joining Hulu, Kolhatkar served as the SVP of global data and analytics platforms at Walmart Labs, where she built data and analytic platforms that provided data and tools for making business decisions.

ANNIE LUO
SVP, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATIONS
Luo is responsible for driving expansion efforts and relationships with partners and connecting business operations across the organization. Prior to joining Hulu, Annie worked at McKinsey & Company, where she was a founding member for their consumer tech and media practice, leading operations and strategic alliances globally. She spent six years as the head of media, entertainment and information practice at the World Economic Forum and held various roles across the top media brands including BBC Worldwide (Asia), CNBC and Bloomberg Media Group.

GAUDE LYDIA PAEZ
SVP, HEAD OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
Paez oversees the team responsible for all communications efforts in support of Hulu’s brand, subscriber growth and engagement, product and technology, content strategy, monetization, and overall market position. She joined Hulu in April 2016 from Fox Broadcasting Co., where she served as SVP of corporate communications and digital publicity for the network.

BEATRICE SPRINGBORN
VP, CONTENT DEVELOPMENT
Springborn, who joined Hulu in 2014, has played an integral role in developing and greenlighting straight-to-series orders for Hulu’s slate of originals, including the Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning “The Handmaid’s Tale,” as well as “The Looming Tower,” “Future Man,” “Castle Rock,” “Catch-22” from George Clooney, and the limited series “Little Fires Everywhere” from Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.

 

Google/YouTube TV

CHRISTINA AVITABILE
HEAD OF CONTENT DISTRIBUTION AND LICENSING (TVOD/SVOD/AVOD), YOUTUBE AND GOOGLE PLAY
Avitabile oversees business development and partnerships for Google’s transactional movies and TV stores (on Google Play and YouTube) as well as licensing and acquisition deals for YouTube. Before joining Google in 2014, Avitabile spent a year in content acquisition, digital video, at Amazon.

KELLY MERRYMAN
VP, GLOBAL CONTENT PARTNERSHIPS, YOUTUBE
Merryman is a veteran in the streaming entertainment space. Prior to joining YouTube, she served as VP of content acquisition at Netflix from 2007 to 2014. She also held positions in digital distribution and business development at Sony Pictures.

 

Lionsgate

AGAPY KAPOURANIS
PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL TELEVISION AND DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION
A nine-year veteran of Lionsgate, Kapouranis spearheads international distribution, acquisitions, sales and marketing for Lionsgate’s television and catalog feature slate. She oversees a sales and distribution team responsible for a broad range of global and regional licensing deals encompassing the company’s films, television series and Starz original programming with nearly all leading digital and linear platforms around the world.

DANIELLE COHEN
EVP, WORLDWIDE TECHNICAL OPERATIONS AND INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION
With the help of her teams, Cohen oversees technical operations and quality assurance for all incoming worldwide theatrical titles, home entertainment, TV series, outgoing deliveries to Lionsgate’s international distributors, and the company’s digital and physical asset management. In addition, she oversees the remastering of library titles to 4K, asset migration, and screening room activities.

SANJANA NAIKSATAM
EVP, PROCUREMENT AND DISTRIBUTION OPERATIONS
Naiksatam oversees the end-to-end home entertainment operations in the United States and Canada for the packaged-media business. This includes evaluating the supply chain and striving for continuous improvements and efficiencies, as well as managing and providing direction on system enhancements relating to home entertainment and metadata management.

JILL ANDERSON
SVP, HOME ENTERTAINMENT SALES
Anderson oversees Lionsgate’s home entertainment business for some of retail’s largest accounts — specifically Walmart and Best Buy — the latter where she started her career. Anderson is continually looking for new retail opportunities to uniquely position Lionsgate’s new-release and catalog content in stores as well as online for DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD titles. She is the consummate team player who is dedicated to finding win-win solutions. Anderson is committed to Lionsgate’s passion for original, daring and groundbreaking entertainment and driving her team to support that vision.

CHASE BRISBIN
SVP, GLOBAL SVOD SALES
Brisbin overseas Lionsgate’s global SVOD licensing across both TV and film, including partnerships with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu as well as emerging platforms. She and her team also work closely alongside Starz to support their impressive international expansion strategy. Since joining Lionsgate in 2012, she has touched all areas of TV distribution, from digital home entertainment to traditional linear sales, and now keeps her focus on the evolving streaming landscape.

ERIN CARTER
SVP, MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION
Carter focuses on partnerships, catalog marketing, research and retail marketing. In this role, she leads the lifecycle planning for content from Lionsgate and its distribution partners, along with driving retail marketing efforts. Carter joined Lionsgate from Anchor Bay in 2017, where she spent a decade leading the marketing strategy for all its independent film and theatrical releases.

KENYA HART
SVP, PROCUREMENT AND INVENTORY OPERATIONS
Hart oversees the day-to-day operations of the materials management and demand planning (procurement) teams in the United States and Canada for packaged media. As the super user/departmental systems manager, she works closely with IT to test, implement and validate systemic upgrades and enhancements. Additional functions include cost analysis and business acquisition onboarding.

ANGELA HENRY
SVP, HOME ENTERTAINMENT SALES
Henry is instrumental in managing daily sales with a particular focus on the Walmart account. She helped launch the Summit Home Entertainment division in 2007, which was acquired by Lionsgate in 2012. Prior to joining Summit, Henry started her career at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in 2001 as a sales manager, covering a wide variety of retailers.

KATE NEXON
SVP, NORTH AMERICAN TV AND DIGITAL SALES
Nexon is responsible for licensing Lionsgate’s current and library television and film properties across U.S. linear and digital platforms. She leads the strategic planning, release, and analysis of multi-platform domestic sales initiatives driving to market-leading sales. Nexon joined Lionsgate in 2009 shortly before completing her MFA in Film Directing from Columbia University School of the Arts. She also holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

AMELIA MCPARTLON ROGERS
SVP, MARKETING, HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION
Rogers oversees overall marketing strategy, publicity, social media, research and paid media initiatives across all Lionsgate home entertainment and digital platforms. She leads her teams to develop a full 360-degree marketing strategy for the entire limited theatrical and multiplatform release slate; traditional 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and digital releases of Lionsgate and Starz films and television programming; as well as the company’s third-party distribution companies.

KATHY ARENDAIN, VP, creative marketing, digital and social
MELISSA CLARKE, VP, retail operations
TIFFANY OLIVARES GIRARDI, VP, publicity and digital engagement
LINDSAY LEFRANCOIS, VP, procurement
SHANNON PARKER, VP, AV creative services
HALLIE PRINCE, VP, integrated marketing
HELEN REICH, VP, sales administration

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Movies Anywhere

KARIN GILFORD
GM
Gilford leads an independent, dedicated, cross-functional team that includes product, technology and marketing professionals. She oversees product development, business strategy and long-term growth of all aspects of the Movies Anywhere brand, and serves as key liaison, working with participating studios and retailers.

BETH K. BAIER
ASSISTANT CHIEF COUNSEL
Baier heads up 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.

ELISSA BROWN
VP, FINANCE AND OPERATIONS
Brown supervises day-to-day operations, developing and executing key business and platform strategies to drive growth and deliver operational efficiencies across all facets of Movies Anywhere. This organization includes finance, strategy, business development, partner management, business intelligence/analytics, customer care and program management.

 

MVD Entertainment Group

RACHEL NORDMARK
VP, SALES
Nordmark oversees MVD’s U.S. physical and digital home entertainment business, including sales, account management and customer marketing. She also helps establish and maintain positive relations with vendors and customers, and assists in product acquisitions and social media. She assumed her present position in 2014, after serving as sales and marketing representative, account manager and vendor manager. Nordmark began her career in film and music distribution with MVD in 1999 as a sales representative.

 

NBCUniversal/Peacock

MAGGIE MCLEAN SUNIEWICK
PRESIDENT, DIGITAL ENTERPRISES, NBCUNIVERSAL MEDIA, AND
PRESIDENT, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND PARTNERSHIPS, PEACOCK
Suniewick leads NBC Universal’s digital business strategy and partnerships with new-media and technology companies to deliver premium content to emerging platforms. Suniewick previously served as SVP of strategic integration, where she was charged with identifying creative, technological and strategic opportunities between Comcast Corp. and NBCUniversal. She led Symphony, the companywide marketing initiative that promotes upcoming NBCUniversal programming, movies and events, including the Olympics, and Comcast’s products and services across the entire portfolio to drive awareness and help connect with consumers.

 

Netflix

BELA BAJARIA
VP, LOCAL-LANGUAGE ORIGINALS
Bajaria, who joined Netflix in November 2016 as VP of content, oversees all non-English original series around the world. In her previous role, Bajaria oversaw Netflix’s push into unscripted programming, including “Queer Eye” and “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” as well as talk series with David Letterman and Hasan Minhaj. Bajaria also oversaw scripted originals “You,” “Locke and Key” and “Daybreak,” among others.

MELISSA COBB
VP, ORIGINAL ANIMATION
Cobb leads the content team responsible for bringing animated series and feature films to Netflix members in 190 countries around the world. Prior to joining Netflix, Cobb was chief creative officer for Oriental DreamWorks, where she oversaw development and production, business strategy and production strategy for animated feature films targeted to a global audience. She also served as a producer at DreamWorks Animation.

CHANNING DUNGEY
VP, ORIGINAL SERIES
In her role, Dungey partners with VP of original content Cindy Holland in setting strategic direction as well as in overseeing a large portion of Netflix’s slate, including some of the company’s overall deals with high-profile, prolific producers.

JESSICA NEAL
CHIEF TALENT OFFICER
Neal is a 14-year veteran at Netflix, starting at the company in 2006 when DVD was king and streaming just a dream. She has been heavily involved in improving the Netflix culture as the company has grown. She oversees HR for the 2,000-person product engineering team responsible for improving the Netflix consumer experience. Neal also serves on the board of directors of the Association for Talent Development.

AMY REINHARD
VP, CONTENT ACQUISITION
Reinhardt has held this role since joining the company in 2016. She oversees global studio licensing for films and television series as well as local-language acquisitions from Latin America, Europe, Africa, The Middle East and India. In addition to global licensing, Reinhard negotiates international distribution rights on major studio films.

BOZOMA SAINT JOHN
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
Saint John took her position at Netflix in June 2020. She previously held the same role at Endeavor after serving as the first-ever chief brand officer at Uber. Her 20-year marketing career also includes tenures as head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes, and head of the music and entertainment marketing group at Pepsi-Cola North America. She has been recognized for her breakthrough work by both the industry and her peers, having been inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement in 2014.

JANE WISEMAN
VP, COMEDY SERIES
Wiseman joined the Netflix original programming team in 2014 and over the past six years has built out Netflix’s scripted comedy department. Today, Wiseman oversees a curated, diverse lineup of content, from dark comedies and multi-cam sitcoms to Netflix’s growing slate of adult-animated comedies.

 

Paramount Pictures

MICHELE BELL
SVP, WORLDWIDE CREATIVE SERVICES, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Bell is in charge of all of the division’s creative advertising materials including all packaging, menu design, and print, broadcast, VOD and online advertising. She previously was VP of home entertainment creative services for Universal Studios. There, she oversaw and managed creative advertising objectives for the feature, catalog, TV and specialty brand groups. Bell also oversaw the development of creative marketing concepts for all consumer and trade materials.

BRENDA CICCONE
SVP, WORLDWIDE PUBLICITY AND COMMUNICATIONS, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND TV LICENSING
Ciccone supervises all publicity and corporate communications for the home entertainment and TV licensing divisions on a global basis. She is responsible for the public relations campaigns on behalf of all of the studio’s home entertainment labels and distribution partners, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Television, Paramount Players, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and CBS. Ciccone also manages domestic and international trade show activity at markets including MIPCOM, ATF, NATPE and more.

MELINDA FROELICH
SVP, INTERNATIONAL MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Froelich is responsible for international marketing, advertising, public relations, promotions and release strategy for all post-theatrical transactional windows. She also supervises global marketing for all worldwide television partners. Froelich joined the studio in 2005, having previously worked at The Walt Disney Co. for eight years.

HILARIE HILDEBRANDT
SVP, CUSTOMER MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Hildebrandt oversees customer marketing for both physical and digital retail accounts with a focus on aligning strategic initiatives across new-release, catalog and television product. She is responsible for executing consumer-focused programs with each retail client to maximize sales and drive growth formats, including 4K, electronic sellthrough and VOD. Hildebrandt previously served as VP of retail marketing at Fox and also held sales director positions at Fox and Polygram Filmed Entertainment in Canada.

DINA MAROVICH
SVP, WORLDWIDE MEDIA AND INTERACTIVE MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
With more than 20 years of advertising experience, Marovich is responsible for overseeing all media planning and buying for the home entertainment division. She joined Paramount in 2006 as VP of media for Paramount Home Entertainment. She previously served as the head of the Paramount Home Entertainment account at MEC, where she was responsible for all advertising on behalf of the division. Prior to that, she was assistant media director for Starcom Worldwide, where she managed the media planning for all Buena Vista Home Entertainment releases and worked as a media planning supervisor for Buena Vista Theatrical.

NANCY POPE
SVP, HUMAN RESOURCES, PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Pope is responsible for supporting the home entertainment, theatrical marketing and TV licensing divisions. Early in her career she worked for AT&T as both an operations manager and HR professional. Upon earning her master’s degree in industrial psychology, she left AT&T and joined Nestle USA, where she became the director of training and development. In 1999 Pope joined EMI Music North America as VP of human resources, and in 2007 she joined Paramount Pictures.

ALANNA POWERS
SVP, BRAND MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Powers heads up Paramount’s film catalog business globally across digital and physical distribution channels where she develops marketing and distribution strategies that align with cross-divisional partners to maximize the studio’s full portfolio of titles. Prior to joining Paramount, Powers held senior marketing positions at Redbox and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment after starting her career at FCB.

AUBREY THOMASON
SVP, BUSINESS AFFAIRS AND LEGAL, PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Thomason primarily focuses on acquisitions for distribution through home entertainment channels, theatrical services agreements for acquisitions and domestic video sublicensing matters. Before joining Paramount, she was an associate at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP (2000-05), where she primarily worked on corporate finance and real estate transactions, but also served as outside counsel to Paramount Pictures between 2003 and 2005.

ROZITA TOLOUEY
SVP, WORLDWIDE BRAND MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
An industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience in entertainment marketing, Tolouey is responsible for driving the division’s marketing strategies across the new-release and acquisitions business globally for both physical and digital markets. Prior to joining Paramount, Tolouey held marketing positions with video game developer Konami Digital Entertainment and with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

LEDA CHANG, VP, digital marketing, PHE
JACQUELINE GUSTAFSON, VP, home media content, PHE
ANNE MASUDA, VP, digital distribution (U.K.), PHE
MICHELE RUMAIN, VP, advertising (media), PHE
JULIA SALTER, VP, digital distribution (AU), PHE
PAMELA SIVULA, VP, financial planning, PHE
MICHELLE VEN DANGE, VP, international marketing, PHE

 

PBS Distribution

AMY LETOURNEAU
SVP, STRATEGY AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS
Since joining WGBH in 2000, Letourneau has worked in various organizations across public media, including stints focused on public television system media strategies at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and as a production manager on “Antiques Roadshow.” Since joining PBS Distribution in 2010, she has significantly expanded the home entertainment content pipeline across genres including such programs as “The Great British Baking Show,” the PBS Kids hit “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” Masterpiece’s “Victoria,” and the recent Academy Award nominated For Sama, in partnership with PBS’s “Frontline.”

REBECCA CARR
VP, OPERATIONS, PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY
Carr has worked in operations for PBS Distribution since its inception and heads operations, production and technology for all the unit’s business divisions. She oversees all aspects of the digital supply chain for direct-to-consumer and SVOD channels, SVOD and TVOD, as well as operations and production for hardcopy distribution. Combining her strategic and tactical strengths, Carr is responsible for asset and data management, evolving systems and processes, product execution and vendor management.

LIZ LIEBMAN
SENIOR DIRECTOR, DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION — DTC
Liebman’s experience across all digital distribution areas of the business allows her to successfully lead complex strategic initiatives. Never satisfied with the status quo, Liz sets high standards for her team and leads by example. She welcomes new challenges and opportunities, most recently stepping up to lead the newly created Direct-to-Consumer Subscription Video-on-Demand (DTC-SVOD) business to manage a growing portfolio of channels, including PBS Masterpiece, PBS Kids, PBS Living and PBS Documentaries.

 

Premiere Digital

MICHELE EDELMAN
HEAD OF GROWTH
With more than 20 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/EST 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 intentional market plans across media services, distribution and SaaS disciplines.

 

Quibi

MEG WHITMAN
CO-FOUNDER/CEO
In 2018, Whitman became the first employee and CEO of new video streaming platform Quibi with co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg. The app-based service, which launched in April for $4.99 monthly with ads, $7.99 without, features original, short-form content designed specifically for smartphones. The start-up is backed by $1.7 billion in funding from investors Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony, Viacom, and WarnerMedia. Whitman previously served as CEO of eBay from 1998 to 2008. During her tenure, Whitman oversaw its expansion from 30 employees and $4 million in annual revenue, to more than 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue. In 2014, Whitman was named No. 20 on Forbes’ list of the 100 most powerful women in the world.

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Redbox

KAVITA SUTHAR
CFO
Suthar oversees the company’s long-term financial health, which includes setting financial direction, implementing strategies to drive revenue growth and profitability, and deal support. She previously held long-term strategy and analytics roles at U.S. Cellular.

MAURA GRAY
SENIOR DIRECTOR, CONSUMER, BRAND AND PARTNERSHIP MARKETING
Gray has led multiple, large-scale brand and marketing initiatives since joining Redbox, including the Redbox On Demand and Free Live TV launches. Prior to joining Redbox, she focused on ad sales and partnership marketing at the National Geographic Channels.

LAURA FLORENCE
DIRECTOR, CONTENT PARTNERSHIPS
Florence leads the company’s digital content relationships with studios and independent partners and is responsible for the growing lineup of channels available on Redbox’s Free Live TV service. She has more than 14 years of experience in both the physical and digital categories of content distribution, including a tenure at Gravitas Ventures, where she ran North American sales and marketing for theatrical, TVOD/cable/satellite and home entertainment and AVOD sales.

LORI FLYNN
VP, CONTENT
Flynn is focused on revenue-growth strategies and new content opportunities for the movie business. Prior to joining Redbox, she spent more than 17 years at Blockbuster Video, where she was responsible for managing the rental/merchandising group for corporate stores and online.

NICOLE ZINNO
VP, HUMAN RESOURCES
Zinno leads human resources, overseeing all functions of HR, payroll, benefits, recruitment and internal communications that attract, retain and engage Redbox’s employee base of corporate and nationwide field team members.

 

Shout! Factory

MELISSA BOAG
SVP, FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT
As head of the family entertainment division — the biggest portion of the company’s business — Boag creates marketing and distribution strategy and oversees partnerships with GKIDS, Anime Limited, Eleven Arts, Hasbro and Sesame Street. She has led the strategy, marketing and acquisition work to grow this business to more than $30 million annually. She steers implementation on key lines, including “My Little Pony,” “Transformers,” “Power Rangers,” “Digimon Adventure” and GKIDS’s wide range of critically acclaimed animated movies and Studio Ghibli classics. She also collaborates on acquisitions and the production of new animated films.

LAUREN BLUM
ASSOCIATE VP OF PUBLICITY
Blum is a smart and well-respected PR strategist and has delivered many outstanding campaigns over the years. Recent home entertainment campaign highlights include “Sesame Street,” Studio Ghibli classics, “When Calls the Heart,” “The Carol Burnett Show” on ShoutFactoryTV, and cult movie releases from Scream Factory.

KATHY CALLAHAN
VP, SPECIAL MARKET SALES AND E-COMMERCE
Callahan is a more than 30-year veteran of entertainment media sales and marketing. She joined Shout! Factory in 2006. Since 2012, she has served as the GM of the company’s e-commerce businesses, which include shoutfactory.com, the MST3Kstore.com, and its Amazon Marketplace business. Kathy also handles specialty sales and non-traditional sales in general.

KARRIE STOUFFER
VP, CREATIVE SERVICES
Stouffer is a creative director and designer specializing in entertainment properties. In this role, she oversees key art and packaging development for a slew of music, film, television, digital and home entertainment projects. Her expertise spans numerous functions, including leading and managing creative campaigns, art direction and design, key art/logo/brand/title treatment development, and project management.

 

Sling TV

LEAH ASHLEY
VP, DIGITAL MARKETING
Ashley leads a team of 30 marketers across all digital tactics for Sling TV and Dish. Prior to joining Dish in 2019, she worked at Condé Nast as the executive director of consumer revenue for Allure and GQ. Ashley’s previous media experience includes positions at Birchbox, Castanea Partners and Bain & Co.

MELISA BODDIE
VP, PROGRAMMING
Boddie manages the local broadcasting, public interest and pay-for-carriage business units for Dish and Sling TV. Her responsibilities include local, core and paid-programming acquisitions.

DANA MCLEOD
VP, PROGRAMMING, PROMOTION AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
McLeod oversees content acquisition, strategy, curation and promotion for Sling TV. She also manages programmer relationships and business development. Previously, she served as director of finance for Sling TV, where she was responsible for its finances, in addition to programming and media sales for both Dish and Sling TV.

LIZ RIEMERSMA
VP, SLING AND DISH INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMMING
Riemersma oversees programming, marketing and operations for both Dish International and Sling International. She is responsible for acquiring and marketing international content and driving subscriber growth across 27 languages at Dish and Sling TV.

 

Sony Pictures

JILL ALLEN
SVP, DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION
Allen leads U.S. digital distribution across all new-media and MVPD platforms, including Amazon, Apple TV, Fandango and Comcast. She oversees sales and sales planning teams to drive business across the studio’s new-release and catalog properties. Allen began her career at Disney and LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) before joining the Sony team 14 years ago. During her time at Sony, she has held both sales and business development roles, always with a focus on the intersection of content and new technologies.

JENNIFER ANDERSON
SVP, MARKETING
Anderson leads the strategic development and execution of brand marketing, promotions and creative for all SPHE new-release and catalog business, establishing key consumer messaging, aligning marketing tactics to core brand strategy and ensuring that product marketing efforts are in line with studio business goals. She oversees a cross-functional team that includes brand and product marketing, promotions and creative advertising.

GERI BLUEROCK
SVP, SALES AND OPERATIONS
Bluerock heads up the sales and operations organization for the domestic physical business. The scope of her responsibilities includes sales, supply chain, planning, reporting and administration. She has led the evolution of the sales team to integrate data-driven insights addressing retailer and consumer opportunities. 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.

ANJA DANG
SVP, ANALYTICS AND BUSINESS INSIGHTS
Dang is responsible for identifying and developing Sony Pictures’ capabilities to become a more consumer-centric, data-driven organization. Her team sources, connects and manages consumer and audience level data universes, understands and builds consumer segments for activation, designs activation solutions, and delivers insights. Her team utilizes advanced data analytics and machine learning to develop models and apps to enable SPE to make informed decisions that drive and fulfill consumer appetite for film and television content across the theatrical, home entertainment and television release windows.

JACQUI MARSHALL
EVP, LEGAL AFFAIRS
Marshall heads up the corporate legal team for Sony in the EMEA region. She is responsible for legal matters for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, including physical and digital rights distribution and acquisition, joint ventures, operational and retailer arrangements, and all other corporate and commercial initiatives. Marshall has managed SPHE’s legal requirements in EMEA for more than a decade after starting her career at Universal Pictures.

JANE MOHON
SVP, MARKETING SERVICES
Mohon is responsible for data-driven consumer strategy, overseeing digital and social media marketing, traditional and digital media planning, and buying as well as publicity. Utilizing social and digital insights as well as traditional research to identify consumer demand and voice, she helps set paid, owned and earned media strategies for SPHE releases. A champion of an analytics-led strategy, Mohon leverages consumer lifecycle data to drive multi-channel paid media strategies to drive transactions.

DINA WIGGINS
SVP, LEGAL
For more than 20 years Wiggins has been overseeing legal affairs worldwide for SPHE marketing, closely collaborating with all departments throughout the division. Her work also includes legal compliance in all aspects of the licensing, distribution, sales, manufacturing, and other exploitation of movies and television series in home entertainment for domestic and international territories, excluding EMEA.

ALLIE CARSIA-TALBOTT, VP, digital distribution
SUZANNE EMERSON, VP, legal
JUDY GUEVARA, VP, international marketing
HELENA KU, VP, business affairs
JANET SCHACKMAN, VP, customer operations
JANA SIMMONS, VP, TV and customer marketing
JOAN VILLAROS, VP, production services, North America

 

Universal Pictures

HELEN PARKER
EVP, UNIVERSAL PICTURES CONTENT GROUP
Parker is responsible for spearheading UPHE’s global content business. Based in London, she oversees both content acquisitions and productions for all media and manages a roster of international and U.S. talent and content distributed by NBCUniversal, spanning documentaries, live events, music and theater, films, live-comedy shows, anime, TV, Korean drama, sport and fitness, and children and family, among others. Since assuming her position in 2007, Parker has successfully launched and developed this business for Universal and successfully positioned the company as an industry leader within the sector.

PAMELA BLUM
SVP, GLOBAL MARKETING, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Blum manages creative marketing services and the development of value-added content for the studio’s Blu-ray, DVD and digital releases on a worldwide basis. Her responsibilities also extend to include maximizing opportunities cross-divisionally within NBC Universal.

SANDY CHOI
SVP, BRAND MARKETING, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Choi oversees UPHE’s North American third-party partner relationships. She handles the development and execution of all marketing campaigns for partner releases across both physical and digital platforms, as well as leads the cross-functional team responsible for the overall business.

ELLEN COCKRILL
SVP, ANIMATION PRODUCTION, UNIVERSAL 1440 ENTERTAINMENT
Cockrill oversees development and production of animated movies and TV fare for Universal 1440 Entertainment for distribution in all media worldwide. She produced the PBS/Hulu animated series “Curious George,” garnering her two Daytime Emmys. Additionally, she has spearheaded numerous feature-length productions including multiple “Curious George” and “The Land Before Time” movies, The Little Engine That Could, and more than 300 television episodes.

NANCY EAGLE
SVP, BUSINESS AND LEGAL AFFAIRS, UNIVERSAL 1440 ENTERTAINMENT
Eagle is responsible for the business and legal affairs for Universal 1440 Entertainment, the entity that develops and produces live-action and animated projects for distribution across various media platforms worldwide. Her duties include supervision of all business and legal issues on all of the group’s development and production slate, including rights and talent acquisition, negative pick-up distribution agreements, foreign co-productions, intellectual property matters, and litigation management. She also handles the group’s soundtrack partnerships and is responsible for selling certain ancillary rights.

DENISE HARO
SVP, WORLDWIDE CONSUMER INSIGHTS AND STRATEGY, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Haro oversees 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, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Iwata manages 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.

LEA PORTENEUVE
SVP, GLOBAL PUBLICITY AND COMMUNICATIONS, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Porteneuve manages business, technology and executive communications for UPHE. She additionally spearheads all strategic publicity initiatives, 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.

HEIDI TURK
SVP, SUPPLY CHAIN, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Turk oversees technical operations, customer operations, master data, release and production planning, distribution, logistics, retail inventory management, and business insights for Universal’s Blu-ray and DVD releases in the United States and Canada. She also plays a vital role in the development and implementation of the company’s eco-friendly initiatives and serves as a primary liaison to Universal’s distribution partners, including Paramount Home Entertainment, Entertainment One, Funimation, Shout! Factory, STX, Bleecker Street and Neon, among others.

JENNIFER ADOLPH, VP, sales strategy, Canada
STACY BARGER, VP, global creative services
STEPHANIE BAYER, VP, global creative services
JENNIFER BLACK, VP, global publicity
HEATHER BRIGGS, VP, finance
ERICA MARIE DIONNE, VP, product development and strategy
LEIGH DUNLEAVY, VP, digital platforms
LISA GOODING, VP, live-action production
ALISSA GURY, VP, global controller
NADIA HANEY, VP, global marketing, emerging technology
KELLY HARRINGTON, VP, global brand marketing
TRACY KIM, VP, digital distribution and digital platforms
SANDY LE BIHAN, VP, global projects
BRIGITTE LIFSON, VP, business and legal affairs
STEPHANIE LUTJENS, VP, global brand marketing
MARIAN MANSI, VP, global creative content
LINDA MARTINEZ, VP, legal rights and clearances
LISA MELBYE, VP, animation production
SHARE STALLINGS, VP, development
MARY TREZIA, VP, operations
EVE WALDMAN, VP, human resources
JENNA WEBB, VP, global tech operations

 

Vudu

JENNI READIO
SENIOR DIRECTOR, MERCHANDISING AND LICENSING
Readio is a 16-year entertainment industry veteran. For the past nine years she has led merchandising, licensing and content acquisition strategy at Vudu (acquired from Walmart by Fandango in April), where her team continues to successfully grow revenue and content partnerships annually. Under her ideation and leadership, Vudu launched the exclusive merchandising functionality Mix & Match. Prior to joining Vudu, Readio managed the Walmart music business, including its brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce and digital downloads storefronts, and original music content platform Walmart Soundcheck.

GIGI SHANG
DIRECTOR, TECHNICAL PROGRAM MANAGEMENT
Shang leads Vudu’s technical program management office, overseeing large-scale technology and development programs for the past six years. During her tenure, she has driven strategic company initiatives by leading alignment on program vision, scope, resource allocation and release management, managing the full lifecycle from ideation to product delivery. Her mandate also includes the operations strategy of the business. Prior to joining Vudu, Shang led technical program management and software development at Sony Electronics for 13 years.

 

WarnerMedia Entertainment/HBO Max

JORI ARANCIO
EVP, COMMUNICATIONS, HBO MAX, TNT, TBS AND TRUTV
Named to her current position in December 2019, Arancio is responsible for overseeing all communications for the three networks and streaming platform. Prior to joining WarnerMedia, she worked for the Walt Disney Company for 21 years, most recently as SVP of communications for ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios, where she was responsible for all strategic corporate communication efforts, consumer press campaigns, awards outreach and talent relations for the two business units.

MEREDITH GERTLER
EVP, CONTENT STRATEGY AND PLANNING, HBO AND HBO MAX
Gertler is responsible for shaping the HBO Max portfolio and developing overall content and programming strategies for HBO Max and all HBO streaming and on-demand platforms, as well as the HBO and Cinemax linear networks. In addition, she oversees program and promotion scheduling for HBO Max and all HBO platforms. Gertler joined HBO in 2004 on HBO Video’s marketing team, where she developed and executed strategic business and marketing plans for original programming on DVD. In January 2009, she was named VP of product management, operations and production for HBO Home Entertainment, responsible for the short- and long-term planning and profitability for all the company’s home entertainment product lines in North America. In 2012, she made the move to program strategy and planning and helped craft the content planning and scheduling framework in support of the launch of HBO Now in 2015.

LINDA LOWY
EVP, CASTING, HBO MAX, TBS, TNT AND TRUTV
Named to her current position in July 2019, Lowy is responsible for overseeing casting for scripted series, feature films, docudramas, animation and unscripted. Lowy’s projects for HBO Max include “The Flight Attendant,” “Love Life,” “Americanah,” “Julia Child,” “Raised by Wolves,” “Tokyo Vice,” “Made For Love,” “Station Eleven” and “Generation.” Prior to joining WarnerMedia, Lowy consulted on TNT dramas including “Snowpiercer,” “Claws,” “The Alienist” and “Animal Kingdom.” Lowy also collaborated with Shonda Rhimes in a partnership spanning nearly 17 years on “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Private Practice,” “For the People” and “Station 19.”

PIA CHAOZON BARLOW
SVP, PROGRAM MARKETING, HBO MAX
Barlow is responsible for guiding the overall marketing strategy, including creative, media, events, partnerships and social media, for HBO Max Originals alongside Peter Sherman. She was named to this position in January. She began her career at HBO, where she worked for nine years launching consumer marketing campaigns for award-winning series, films and documentaries. In 2014, Barlow joined Netflix as director of originals marketing, building and growing that team and overseeing global marketing campaigns across all programming genres and titles. From 2015 to 2017, she expanded her role and was appointed as the key marketing executive on the team focused on the expansion of international originals for Netflix.

KATIE SOO
SVP, GROWTH MARKETING, HBO MAX
Soo was the first member of a core HBO Max team tasked with building key disciplines from the ground up. She currently oversees growth marketing for the WarnerMedia direct-to-consumer platform. Her areas of focus include subscriber acquisitions, consumer engagement, digital campaigns, social media and audience development, and retention strategies. Soo’s direct-to-consumer portfolio includes DC Universe, Ellen Digital Ventures, Stage 13 and Uninterrupted. Soo previously served as head of marketing at Warner Bros. Digital Networks.

SOFIA CHANG
PRESIDENT, WARNERMEDIA DISTRIBUTION, THE DOMESTIC
DISTRIBUTION/MARKETING ARM OF WARNERMEDIA ENTERTAINMENT
Chang oversees distribution efforts for WarnerMedia’s domestic linear TV networks, premium channels, digital brands and direct-to-consumer services, including CNN, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network, TCM, Adult Swim, truTV, HLN, Boomerang, HBO, Cinemax and HBO Max. She is responsible for oversight of the revenue, marketing and distribution strategy of WarnerMedia’s business across cable, satellite, telco and digital affiliate partners. She is based in New York and reports to Gerhard Zeiler, chief revenue officer of WarnerMedia, and president of WarnerMedia International Networks. Most recently, Chang served as EVP of global digital distribution and content licensing at HBO, where she oversaw $2 billion in annual global revenue for HBO and Cinemax.

SANDRA DEWEY
PRESIDENT, PRODUCTIONS AND BUSINESS OPERATIONS, WARNERMEDIA ENTERTAINMENT
Dewey oversees the business affairs and production teams for DTC Originals, for which she also leads the day-to-day operational responsibilities in partnership with DTC head of content Sarah Aubrey. Dewey and her team have been establishing policy and process for the DTC Originals and the new areas of business, including features and documentaries, as well as entering into strategic partnerships with new content partners. Additionally, Dewey oversees the business side of WarnerMedia Entertainment’s linear networks, TBS, TNT and truTV. At TBS and TNT, Dewey has played a key role in the networks’ ongoing transition from linear television to omni-platform media brands with numerous revenue streams, including the WarnerMedia joint venture with Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco.

RONNI COBERN-BASIS
EVP, TALENT RELATIONS, EVENTS AND AWARDS, WARNERMEDIA ENTERTAINMENT AND DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER
Named to this role in October 2019, Cobern-Basis is responsible for all talent relations, events and awards efforts on behalf of the entire portfolio, spanning HBO, HBO Max, TNT, TBS and truTV. Cobern-Basis has not only set the gold standard for excellence within the industry, but she has also led the charge in producing promotional events during the coronavirus pandemic. Under her leadership, her team has been credited with reinventing virtual events with interactive experiences.

JESSICA L. HOLSCOTT
EVP/CFO, WARNERMEDIA ENTERTAINMENT
Holscott is responsible for overseeing all aspects of finance and supporting the CEO with all strategic decisions. Her responsibilities include HBO, HBO Max, TBS, TNT, truTV and Otter. Prior to taking this role, Holscott served as EVP and CFO for HBO. Before that, she spent more than two years as SVP of investor relations for Time Warner. In this role, she worked to develop and execute the company’s investor relations initiatives and served as one of the primary day-to-day contacts for the investment community. Holscott also led Time Warner’s cross-company merger planning efforts with AT&T.

JACQUELINE JOURDAIN HAYES
EVP AND GENERAL COUNSEL, WARNERMEDIA ENTERTAINMENT
Named to this role in August 2019, Hayes is responsible for all of WarnerMedia’s legal affairs, including the linear businesses, Otter Media and HBO Max. Hayes joined Warner Home Video in 1998, providing legal support for the then nascent DVD business. She went on to become a primary legal steward of Warner Bros.’ transactional and subscription digital businesses — leading the first content clearance, digital licensing and content protection initiatives for the online distribution of WB titles — and was eventually named SVP and general counsel of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in 2015.

LUCINDA MARTINEZ
EVP, MULTICULTURAL MARKETING, BRAND AND INCLUSION STRATEGY, WARNERMEDIA ENTERTAINMENT
Martinez is responsible for developing a distinct and inclusive brand narrative across WarnerMedia Entertainment’s marketing campaigns, including HBO, HBO Max, TNT, TBS, and truTV, among others. In addition, Martinez leads the development and expansion of talent development and emerging artist programs across all company brands. Martinez joined HBO more than 17 years ago and most recently served as EVP of brand marketing where she was responsible for all HBO, HBO Latino, Cinemax and Cinemáx branded targeted marketing efforts to the African-American, Latino, Asian and LGBTQ+ audiences.

SARAH LYONS
SVP, PRODUCT EXPERIENCE, WARNERMEDIA ENTERTAINMENT
Lyons helps shape the app experience across all major platforms, defining how users discover content, as well as paving the way for innovation on how content is viewed and experienced in the future. She also plays a key role in overall product strategy. Prior to joining WarnerMedia, Lyons held various positions within DirecTV, including VP of OTT media products, responsible for the DirecTV Now product, and the launch of their next-generation video platform. She oversaw the launch of DirecTV’s TV Everywhere product suite, which under her leadership became a streaming experience available on more than 250 million mobile devices. She also was responsible for the product roadmap for the NFL Sunday Ticket streaming service and NFLST.tv OTT product.

 

Warner Bros.

LOUISE BAGNALL
SVP AND CHIEF COUNSEL
Bagnall leads the legal and business affairs team for the studio’s physical, digital and interactive entertainment businesses on a worldwide basis. In this role, she and her team provide legal counsel in respect to licensing, acquisitions, production, marketing, sales and supply chain, as well as advising on key strategic and growth initiatives. She previously worked in the London office of Warner Bros. and relocated to Burbank in 2017, significantly expanding her role and helping to cultivate a global approach.

JOHNNA CHO
SVP, LEGAL AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS
Cho oversees and advises on legal matters involving acquisitions, licensing, distribution, marketing, sales, production and operations for the studio’s physical, digital and games businesses in the Asia-Pacific region. She also manages legal matters for the studio’s Japan-based anime production and distribution business.

NICOLE COLEMAN
SVP, TRADE MARKETING, RETAIL PLANNING AND THEATRICAL CATALOG
Coleman is responsible for the theatrical catalog P&L for the home entertainment group across the physical and digital retail landscape. In addition, she leads trade marketing and sales planning for both physical and digital film and television content.

KRISTINA FUGATE
SVP, FILM MARKETING
Fugate manages all theatrical new-release and catalog U.S. brand marketing efforts for Warner across disc and digital platforms. She’s also responsible for developing long-term strategies, resulting in strong performances for franchises including the Wizarding World and DC properties, 4K UHD and emerging platforms.

LAURA A. GROSS
SVP, WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT GLOBAL CONSUMER INSIGHTS AND RESEARCH
Gross joined Warner Bros. in 2003 to establish the WBHE 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 WarnerMedia divisions.

ROSEMARY MARKSON
SVP, TV MARKETING
Markson handles global marketing for all Warner Bros. and HBO TV properties across physical and digital home entertainment platforms. She manages marketing strategies, product development, consumer marketing and business planning for both current on-air series and library/catalog series. Markson is also responsible for managing talent and studio relationships and ensuring that key content partners are properly serviced.

ISABELLE RENAUD
SVP, CREATIVE PRODUCTION SERVICES
Renaud oversees the worldwide physical and digital product production and localization for the film, television, and originals as well as animation and family businesses, including motion picture new-release and catalog, WBTV, MGM, HBO, Turner, DC and other WarnerMedia partner properties. Her team focuses on the production of global digital assets and distribution, menu and user interface initiatives, print and custom packaging/manufacturing, and retail merchandising. As part of both the Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment teams, Renaud also oversees marketing process initiatives leading the review and implementation of combined organizational workflows and continuous improvement opportunities.

JENNIFER STUMP
SVP, LEGAL AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS
Stump is the lead attorney for Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) for franchises such as “Batman: Arkham,” “Lego,” “Mortal Kombat” and “The Hobbit.” She and her team provide legal counsel across all functions of WBIE’s publishing business, in addition to supporting all Warner-owned development studios, including Avalanche, Monolith Productions, NetherRealm Studios, Rocksteady Studios, WB Games Boston and TT Games.

MARY ELLEN THOMAS
SVP, ORIGINALS, ANIMATION AND FAMILY
Thomas leads global marketing efforts for originals, animation and family content, as well as all content from Turner Networks (Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TNT, truTV, CNN) across physical and digital home entertainment platforms. She is responsible for driving the overall strategy, product development, marketing, and lifecycle management for originals (MFV) and episodic product lines. In addition, she oversees the relationships with WBHE’s portfolio brand partners, including Rooster Teeth, Crunchy Roll, Peanuts, Dr. Seuss, WWE and Viz Media.

EMILY ZALENSKI
SVP, WORLDWIDE PUBLICITY
Zalenski handles worldwide publicity and corporate communications for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. She heads up the strategic execution of digital and physical publicity campaigns for all new-release and catalog film releases, including media and talent relations, special events, and experiential marketing. She also leads communications efforts for emerging technology initiatives, including 4K UHD and emerging digital release technologies. She serves as the WBHE representative for communications strategy on many cross-studio committees.

ALICE CALAMAR, VP, creative production management
TRACI CARROLL, VP, creative advertising
MARIANA CASAS, VP, financial planning and analysis, digital
AMY-BETH CHAMBERLIN, VP, sales services
KRISTIE L. COLLEY, VP, retail planning and trade fund management
TINA DEPASS LUJAN, VP, TV marketing, TV series
GIULIA ERICKSON, VP, marketing analytics and channel strategy
CASEY ESTEVEZ, VP, creative production management
MICHELLE FOWLER, VP, legal and business affairs
FEIFEI HU, VP, business development and licensing
SUCHITRA INJATI, VP, strategic supply chain planning and forecasting
CHERILYNN KEHRLI, VP, legal and business affairs
JULIE V. KELLEY, VP and associate general counsel, legal and business affairs
SANDRA KIM, VP, global product planning
JUNGSUN (MONICA) KIM, VP, legal and business affairs
OLIVIA LLAMAS, VP, retail and user experience
LAURA LUPINETTI, VP, trade marketing
ANGIE LAI MAKHOUL, VP, film marketing
MELISSA HUFJAY MCALEVEY, VP, publicity
KATY MOFFAT, VP, operations
DEBBIE NEVEU, VP, accounting, financial reporting and contract administration
ZANDRA PALMER, VP, trade marketing
NATHALIE SAWYER, VP, sales
YVONNE SPENCE, VP, creative services content
MARYAM TASHROUDIAN, VP and associate general counsel, legal and business affairs
BETH WETZEL, VP, creative advertising
MARISA ZWEBEN, VP, legal and business affairs

40 Under 40 In Home Entertainment 2019

Welcome to Media Play News’ second annual 40 Under 40 — our yearly list of rising stars in the fast-changing world of home entertainment.

The proliferation of streaming services, alongside the traditional transactional business, has broadened our industry more than anyone could have imagined. “Direct-to-consumer” is Hollywood’s new buzzword, and what that means is putting consumers in control of where, when and how they want to watch the movie, TV show or other program of their choice — an approach that was behind the very birth of the home entertainment industry more than 40 years ago, with the first rental videocassettes.

As home entertainment continues to broaden and expand, a new generation of leaders is rising to the occasion. Once again, our 40 Under 40 executives are rich in both talent and promise. Some are already influential decision makers; others are up-and-comers whose full potential has yet to be realized.

Our honorees are listed alphabetically by last name.

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My-lan Beauford Auer, 37

Director, Partnerships & Promotions, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Auer manages partnership strategy and outreach for WBHE’s various business units, including film, television, catalog, originals, animation and family. She connects top brands with entertainment properties to create innovative marketing partnerships. Her collaboration with cross-divisional teams such as theatrical or consumer products has yielded campaigns that amplify WBHE releases, drive incremental revenue and drive consumers to the digital ecosystem. Auer joined Warner Bros. in August 2009 handling digital publicity outreach for WBHE. Prior to WB, Auer was an online publicist for a digital marketing agency and a nonprofit.

Christina Avitabile, 35

Head, Content Distribution & Licensing (TVOD/SVOD/AVOD), YouTube & Google Play
A repeat 40 Under 40 honoree, Avitabile leads the content distribution and licensing business across YouTube and Google Play. She is responsible for business development and partnerships for Google’s transactional movies and TV stores (on Google Play and YouTube) as well as licensing and acquisition deals for YouTube. Before joining Google in January 2014, Avitabile spent a year in content acquisition, digital video, for Amazon. Before that she was involved in content and acquisition strategy at Sony Network Entertainment International. Avitabile began her career as an investment banker at Citi and then spent three years in corporate development at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Megan Blakeley, 38

Senior Director, Customer Marketing, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
One of the rising stars of UPHE’s marketing team, Blakeley’s focus is on getting retail customers to look beyond the hits. She rejoined the domestic customer marketing organization in April 2016 after working for the studio’s joint venture in Australia with Sony Pictures for a year. There, she and her team had just won the “Best Marketing Campaign — Catalog” award from the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association (AHEDA) for the 30th anniversary release of Back to the Future. Blakeley joined UPHE in June 2007 as a retail inventory management analyst, then transitioned into marketing in October 2008. Before that, she spent more than three years at Time Warner, managing the distribution of magazines.

Jonathan Brothers, 34

Executive Director, TV Marketing Analytics, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Brothers manages TV digital analytics and pricing for the TV marketing team. He is responsible for building electronic sellthrough pricing strategies to support franchise priorities and drive incremental digital growth. Using tools such as Python, SAS and Tableau, he crafts business decisions based on statistical and machine-learning models and clear insightful visuals. He joined Warner in 2009 as a member of the sales forecasting team to support the TV and family business unit.

Joe Burg, 36

VP, Content Development, Sony Pictures Television Global Distribution & Networks
Burg leads a team of content producers who write and create next-generation home entertainment experiences for film and television properties across all studio lines of business. He is charged with harnessing innovative technologies to enhance the consumer experience and generate awareness across multiple downstream marketing windows. Burg joined Sony in March 2012 after nearly five years at 20th Century Fox in global content development. He was promoted into his present position in July 2019, after four years as an executive director.

Leda Chang, 38

VP, Digital Marketing, Paramount Home Entertainment
Chang leads Paramount’s home entertainment digital marketing team, driving digital campaigns for new home releases. Clio, IAC, and Webby Award-winning campaigns for recent titles such as Mission: Impossible — Fallout and other new releases are testaments to the team’s creative drivers and positioning. On top of leveraging both Paramount’s own footprint and the social media presence of its filmmakers and stars, Chang is instrumental in evolving communication and distribution strategies, establishing direct channels to consumers and movie fans. Recently, Chang has also focused on deepening the team’s expertise across international markets and TV projects. Chang joined the studio in 2017 from Universal Music Group. Prior to that, she had roles with Edelman Digital, Republic Records, The Orchard and Motown Records.

Agnes Chu, 39

SVP, Content, Disney+, Disney Streaming Services, The Walt Disney Co.
Chu is responsible for identifying and developing series, feature films, short-form content and other high-quality entertainment formats for Disney+, the highly anticipated streaming service set to launch on Nov. 12. Chu leads the Disney+ originals teams for scripted, unscripted and content operations, partnering closely with Disney-owned internal content creators, including The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. Chu has served in a variety of capacities since joining Disney in 2008. Prior to her current position, she was executive of story and franchise development at Walt Disney Imagineering. Her first role with the company was managing the development and production of original short-form content for the Disney-ABC Television Group’s digital platforms.

Hamish Chung, 35

VP, Global Financial Planning and Analysis, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Chung is an expert financial leader who provides senior management and executives with the analysis and information they need to make major operational, financial and strategic decisions. His core experience includes TV and feature film acquisitions and distribution across physical and digital platforms. Chung joined Universal Pictures in 2007 as a business analyst in Sydney, Australia. He later spent more than six years in London before moving to the West Coast in January 2015 as commercial FP&A director. He was promoted into his present position in December 2017.

Alex Corrigan, 34 & Adam Rowings, 34

VP, Software Engineering, Disney Streaming Services, Walt Disney Co.
VP, Disney+ Analytics, Disney Streaming Services, Walt Disney Co.
Corrigan oversees all Apple, Android and Web software development for Disney Streaming, including the upcoming Disney+ app. He leads a team of more than 120 full-time employees on two continents. Rowings leads the Disney+ Analytics team as it focuses on providing recommendations that drive customer growth, improve product engagement, and identify the content that matters most for the Disney+ service around the globe.

Andrea Clarke-Hall, 37

VP, Business Development, Tubi
Clarke-Hall leads business development for Tubi, the world’s largest free movie and TV streaming service. She is charged with growing the service’s domestic and global reach, most recently with its Sept. 1 launch in Australia. Clarke-Hall has led Tubi’s app distribution deals and spearheaded Tubi’s partnership with Cox’s premier video product, Contour, and Comcast Xfinity. Due in large part to Clarke-Hall’s contributions, Tubi can now be accessed on more than 25 devices. Prior to joining Tubi, Clarke-Hall managed global business development for Sony Pictures’ Crackle. She also served as an assistant district attorney for six years in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she litigated and tried major racketeering and economic fraud cases.

Brian Day, 34

SVP, Strategic Partnerships, Lionsgate
Day is responsible for developing new business opportunities through third-party partnerships, product development and direct-to-consumer initiatives. He also oversees business affairs for the studio’s distribution of content across digital platforms worldwide, including global platforms such as iTunes, Prime Video and Google Play. Day conceived of, designed and distributed the first-ever digital Steelbook (for John Wick), and routinely finds ways to expand digital distribution through partnerships with Dave & Busters, Xbox and Atom Tickets. Day has also been focused on negotiating global electronic sellthrough and TVOD deals with Lionsgate’s major licensees. Prior to joining Lionsgate in May 2015, Day worked on the digital distribution licensing team at Paramount Pictures, and at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in the firm’s Silicon Valley office.

Whitney Dickinson, 32

VP, Media & Data, Lionsgate
Dickinson leads the media and data team, focused on driving transactional sales and building a progressive data infrastructure and strategy for the company. She assumed the position in April 2019 and has prioritized advancements in how the company collects, analyzes and activates data. She helped develop and launch Lionsgate’s new companywide site, which not only consolidated data collection but improved brand building, SEO and engagement on the site. She has also been instrumental in revamping Lionsgate’s Martech infrastructure. Dickson joined Lionsgate in February 2014 as marketing manager for the Grindstone brand. She began her career in media on the agency side, at Mindshare.

Michael Edelson, 38

VP, Account Planning, Paramount Home Entertainment
Edelson leads a distribution planning and strategy team across multiple film and TV transactional platforms. He and his team of six develop and manage business plans for clients including Apple, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Redbox and Comcast. Edelson’s strategic thinking and deep business knowledge are integral to providing analytics that move the business forward, from planning successful releases such as Rocketman to arming the sales teams with fact-based insights to drive sales. In his first six years at Paramount, Edelson led the catalog team on brand strategy, releasing more than 200 titles from Paramount’s library. Prior to joining Paramount, Edelson spent four years at Universal, where he worked on the studio’s first catalog releases in HD.

Jeremy Enos, 39

SVP, Marketing Intelligence & Planning, Paramount Home Entertainment
Enos oversees Paramount’s worldwide market intelligence team, which is responsible for market, consumer and retail insights, as well as strategic analysis supporting the physical and digital businesses around the world. With a keen analytical ability and an exceptional grasp of the evolving home entertainment business, Enos is a “big picture” executive who at the same time doesn’t mind rolling up his sleeves to get the job done. Enos has been with Paramount for 15 years in various roles, including market insights, sales planning and financial planning. Prior to joining Paramount, Enos spent several years in London working at a start-up firm in the recruitment industry.

Penelope Essoyan, 34

Manager, Original Series, Netflix
Over the past four years Essoyan has risen on the original series team from an assistant to a manager. She has been a meaningful part of “Narcos,” “Narcos: Mexico,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Top Boy,” and the upcoming Jason Katims/Jess Goldberg series “Away” and Alex Pina’s “White Lines.” Prior to joining Netflix, Essoyan’s entry into entertainment was an internship for a few months at Tribeca Productions in Jane Rosenthal’s office, followed by three months in New Zealand assisting a Japanese commercial director, Hideaki Hosono. After that she was an assistant at CAA before leaving to work as a director’s assistant for Joseph Kosinski.

Daniel Farkas, 35

Executive Director, Distribution Strategy & Planning, Sony Pictures Television Global Distribution & Networks
As lead for home entertainment title planning, Farkas determines release strategies for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s content portfolio across physical and digital platforms, including setting windows, calibrating pricing and forecasting performance. Since joining the studio in 2013, he has led the redesign of the go-to-market approach and commercial decision-making apparatus. Farkas’ duties have expanded to include integrated planning across transactional and licensing (pay, cable, SVOD and AVOD) businesses. Farkas began his career as a management consultant with The Monitor Group.

Valerie Gartner, 38

Director, Digital Distribution, Sony Pictures Television Global Distribution & Networks
Gartner manages Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s content distribution relationship with Amazon Prime Video, primarily focused on the growing transactional VOD business. She is charged with managing strategy and negotiations while driving revenue and profitability. Gartner began her career at Sony in marketing in 2006, transitioning to sales in 2009 and to her current position in March 2013. She has created dynamic TVOD campaigns in partnership with Prime Video for top releases such as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Hotel Transylvania 3. Prior to joining Sony in 2006, she worked at Goldhil Entertainment and MGM.

Tiffany Hawthorne, 35

Manager, Original Series, Netflix
A recent hire, Hawthorne is focused on drama series — specifically, shepherding script series for Higher Group Productions as well as the upcoming series “Girls on the Bus.” Prior to joining Netflix in May 2019, Hawthorne was VP of scripted content for the NBCUniversal Cable Group, developing projects and limited series for Bravo, E!, Syfy and USA Network. She oversaw the production of the USA Network pilot-to-series “Dare Me” and “Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G.,” as well as “Girlfriends Guide to Divorce” on Bravo. She also ran the USA Network internship program and was involved in various diversity initiatives. Hawthorne also participated in the NBC Page Program.

Jeff Hayne, 39

VP, Content Acquisition & Digital Distribution, Mill Creek Entertainment
Hayne oversees all licensing, distribution and production efforts for Mill Creek, one of the home entertainment industry’s leading indie studios for Blu-ray Disc, DVD and digital distribution. He is responsible for managing and greenlighting all of Mill Creek’s new productions; international distribution for broadcast, digital and home video; and digital licensing. Hayne has been with Mill Creek since 2007. He has played an integral role in the company’s transformation, starting with a licensing deal for the Stephen J. Cannell catalog — which led to higher-profile deals with nearly every major studio along with hundreds of production companies, filmmakers and content owners. Hayne began his home entertainment career in 2002 with BCI/Eclipse.

Erin Hill, 39 & Liz Liebman, 39

Directors, DTC-SVOD, PBS Distribution
Hill is responsible for overall management of the PBS Living Channel business, including the launch process, consumer acquisition and engagement strategies. Hill has been with PBS Distribution for four years, holding positions across all digital channels. Liebman over the past year has taken ownership of the direct-to-consumer segment of the digital business, building and leading a team dedicated to driving growth for the PBS Masterpiece, PBS Kids and PBS Living subscription channels.

Feifei Hu, 34

VP, Business Development & Licensing, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Hu negotiates transactional video licensing deals with clients including global, broadband, satellite, cable, IPTV, hotel and physical/digital hybrid businesses. She strategizes across international territories to harmonize agreements and optimize revenue potential. She also identifies, evaluates and executes on new business development activities for the division, including VR/AR, IOT and other connected experiences. Prior to joining WBHE in August 2018, Hu spent six years at The Walt Disney Co., most recently as director of business development at Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. Earlier in her career Hu was a senior business analyst with consultancy McKinsey & Co.

Erol Kalafat, 35

Senior Technical Product Manager, Amazon Studios
Kalafat is a media technology leader focused on problem solving, product development and lifecycle management. He was promoted to his present position in April 2019 and is charged with designing, implementing and maintaining a new generation of studio technology. He also provides technical leadership to internal teams on emerging technologies. In his prior role as Amazon’s Senior Technical Integration Manager, Kalafat was a key driver of the EMA’s Digital Supply Chain Committee and the DSCA. Prior to joining Amazon in October 2016, Kalafat held various positions at AOL, Verizon, Sony New Media Solutions, Sony DADC, Sony Pictures Entertainment and The Walt Disney Co. He began his career in June 2007 as program manager at Technicolor.

Ben Kallam, 32

Director, Business Analytics, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Kallam is one of UPHE’s analytics gurus, exploring and investigating past business performance to gain insight and drive business planning. He joined the studio as a manager in October 2016 and was elevated to director in June 2019. Previously, he was an MBA intern at Starz Digital Media, where he analyzed the changing dynamics of digital distribution based on multiple performance metrics and built linear regression models to determine the impact of specific predictor variables on electronic sellthrough and VOD transactions.

Olivia LaRoche, 33

Manager, Nonfiction Series, Netflix
LaRoche has been at Netflix for more than four years and has served as an instrumental force in making the company’s first push in unscripted original content. She is responsible for breakout shows such as “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” as well as first-time Emmy-nominated “Nailed It!,” Peabody Award-winning “Hip Hop Evolution” and interactives such as “You vs. Wild,” with Bear Grylls. LaRoche is a noteworthy convener, bringing all the best talent to the table — both internally and externally — and managing talent and producer relationships. Prior to joining Netflix, LaRoche spent four years at Apple iTunes as a video and music content specialist.

Anne Masuda, 37

VP, Digital Distribution, Paramount Home Entertainment
Masuda oversees digital distribution through global accounts in Latin America, including Apple and Google, and new business for all international markets seeking various partnerships. Since transitioning to transactional digital distribution in 2013, Masuda has successfully driven revenue growth through innovative dealmaking and the introduction of enhanced distribution strategies, more than tripling revenue in two years. She previously managed digital distribution in Japan and Australia, and has also worked in TV licensing and distribution for Europe. Prior to joining Paramount, Masuda worked in distribution at Warner Bros. and E! Entertainment.

Joy Moh, 33

Director, Publicity, Sony Pictures Television Global Distribution & Networks
Moh leads the Sony Pictures Home Entertainment publicity department, overseeing strategic development of integrated media relations campaigns and creating impactful and efficient editorial opportunities for the studio’s entire slate of projects across all lines of the film and television business. Prior to joining the Sony team, Moh’s diverse career saw her managing campaigns for some of the world’s most recognizable brands across the entertainment and lifestyle sectors. In her spare time, she volunteers as a wish granter for Make-A-Wish America. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, Moh went on to earn an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Business.

Adrian de Montfalcon, 35

SVP, Business Development & Strategic Partnerships, Lionsgate
De Montfalcon is responsible for driving incremental revenue for Lionsgate’s digital transactional and OTT businesses by identifying new opportunities across the media and technology industries. He has advanced several studio priorities, including expansion of the digital home entertainment customer base, direct-to-consumer engagement, and data acquisition and analysis. De Montfalcon also played a key role in the development and execution of a new technology platform that allows Lionsgate to make digital offers available to new customers through partnerships with third parties. A five-year Lionsgate veteran, de Montfalcon previously worked at Warner Bros., Universal and Factory Made Ventures while completing his MBA. Earlier, in London, he enjoyed a career in finance.

Annie Morris, 36

Director, Product Management, Digital Distribution, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Morris manages the product, programming and pricing strategy for UPHE’s new-release and catalog films for domestic transactional digital distribution platforms. She executes the go-to-market strategy and lifecycle planning for the studio’s strong franchise pedigree. Most recently, Morris led the successful launch of The Secret Life of Pets 2 for electronic sellthrough and VOD, and also oversaw transition efforts with Entertainment One. Morris assumed her present position in March 2016, four years after she joined UPHE, at a time when the digital business was a fraction of what it is today. Earlier, Morris spent nearly five years with the U.S. Olympic Committee, managing global conferences, events and programs.

Jason Peterson, 38

CEO, GoDigital Media Group
Peterson is an entrepreneur, attorney and producer who has worked in the entire media value chain, from production and post through marketing and distribution. His GoDigital Media Group and its subsidiaries Cinq Music, ContentBridge, AdShare, VidaPrimo and Latido Music Television create revenue from a media market transforming from ownership to access rights. He’s a repeat 40 Under 40 honoree, and with good reason: In 2019, VidaPrimo — the largest Hispanic-targeted music MCN on YouTube — launched Latido Music, the first Latin Music television network. Peterson is a proponent of AVOD and SVOD business models with a focus on emerging economies.

Erin M. Rosa, 35

Director, Sales, Walmart Digital & Omni-Channel Integration, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Rosa works closely with Vudu, Walmart Stores and Walmart.com to maximize Warner’s digital sales through the activation of aggressive on- and off-site programs, best-in-class marketing activations, and creative customer acquisition initiatives. She has broad experience across multiple retail accounts, channels and platforms specializing in the development of creative and fiscally responsible programs based on account-specific opportunities and strategies. Rosa started her career in 2006 and focused primarily on independent film throughout her eight years prior to joining the Warner Bros. team.

Vaughn Ryan, 25

Marketing Manager, FandangoNow
Ryan manages paid media efforts for FandangoNow across streaming devices, smart TVs and paid social media. His understanding of device nuances, cross-studio collaboration and consumer insights helps identify key growth opportunities. Since 2017 Ryan has developed a mix of top-performing platforms, accelerating revenue, acquisition and retention growth each year. Armed with brands that span the movie lifecycle, he has helped craft new, creative ways to grow ad reach and effectiveness. Previously, at Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, Ryan managed brand and retail campaigns for Illumination Entertainment’s slate. He gained theatrical creative advertising experience at 20th Century Fox, and international TV marketing experience at NBCUniversal.

Lindsay Sakaguchi, 37

Executive Director, Film Trade Marketing, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Sakaguchi manages the film theatrical catalog business. She is responsible for managing product lifecycle, including curation of content and price variability, to maximize sales and placement across various clients and windows in an ever-changing landscape. She joined the studio in 2010 after completing her MBA from the Marshall School of Business and has held various marketing roles at Warner Bros. since. Prior to that, she worked in operational roles at Nestle, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and MGM.

Julia Salter, 37

VP, Digital Distribution, Paramount Home Entertainment
Salter joined Paramount in May 2019 and is based in Sydney, Australia, where she is charged with driving growth with digital transactional partners in Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and Greater China. She has already brought her laser-focused account management skills to cover a much larger geographical area, building relationships and growing the home entertainment unit’s overall revenue. Prior to joining Paramount, Salter was digital director at the Universal/Sony joint venture in Australia, managing relationships with transactional digital partners for ANZ. Salter began her career with 20th Century Fox Theatrical in London in 2006 before moving into various roles in home entertainment sales in Australia. She also worked for a digital startup VOD platform, managing relationships with studios.

Mark Sgriccia, 38

SVP, Worldwide Content Operations & Strategy, Lionsgate
Sgriccia leads a team charged with promoting digital standards and practices, expediting content fulfillment and recognizing savings in metadata and supply chain initiatives. He also leads Lionsgate’s effort to architect an enterprise-level release-scheduling solution, uniting the studio’s rights management system and worldwide release schedule across all business units. Sgriccia has contributed to strong year-over-year growth of catalog VOD, realized through innovative windowing, optimized rights management and strong marketing support. Prior to joining Lionsgate in January 2013, Sgriccia spent 10 years at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in various capacities.

Patrick Smith, 33

Director, Digital Distribution Financial Planning & Analysis
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Smith is one of the critical analysts in UPHE’s digital distribution organization, providing financial data and analysis to help guide business next steps. He joined UPHE in 2017 with more than eight years of experience in business strategy, financial planning and analysis. Most recently, he worked in business development at Marvel Studios, where he built feature film ultimates and performed deal analysis, including valuation of the Marvel/Sony deal that returned Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He earned an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and also gained strategy experience through work with The Walt Disney Co. and CBS Interactive.

Kavita Suthar, 39

VP, Finance, Strategy & Analytics, Redbox
Suthar is responsible for Redbox’s financial strategy and analysis, budgeting and deal support. She works to drive the organization toward data-driven decision-making that leads to better performance. Suthar is known for leading teams to provide quick, thorough analysis that is easy to understand and insightful — and that drives action. She joined the company in April 2016 as senior director of financial planning and analysis, and was promoted into her present position in March 2019. Prior to joining Redbox, Suthar held long-term strategy and analytics roles at U.S. Cellular.

Sarah Unger, 34

SVP, Cultural Insights & Strategy, Civic Entertainment Group
An award-winning cultural and consumer brand strategist, Unger uncovers human insights and cultural trends to build top global media and entertainment brand identities. Since joining Civic, a leading marketing agency, in 2018, she has worked across brands such as YouTube, Apple, Disney-ABC Television, NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia, eBay and, most recently, Apple and HBO as they launch streaming services. This past year, Unger fielded a major study on the future of creativity, which launched at SXSW and was featured on the “Today” show. Prior to joining Civic, Unger led brand strategy at Viacom for Paramount Pictures, MTV, Paramount Network, Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon and more. She was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 during her tenure at Ketchum as VP of insights and strategic planning.

Shelly Williams, 39

Director, Sales, Sony Pictures Television Global Distribution & Networks
Williams leads Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s physical distribution partnerships and oversees business and marketing strategies for key accounts. Williams began her career in North American sales and quickly rose to leadership positions. A move to the European office expanded her experience in retail growth strategies, leading innovative business processes in new markets. Subsequently, Williams was tasked with forming the North American commercial strategy team, incorporating content lifecycle planning, national campaigns, monetization and pricing strategies for film and TV. Williams continues to apply her commercial expertise to successfully drive profitability with key industry partners.

Kayla Wyatt, 32

Senior Business Development Manager, FandangoNow
Since joining the video-on-demand streaming service in September 2016, Wyatt has been focused on uncovering new opportunities to serve movie fans throughout the Fandango ecosystem. She helps manage B2B partner performance and develops strategies to help scale joint business opportunities. She also develops custom quarterly business reviews and establishes performance criteria with key strategic FandangoNow partners and the Fandango leadership team. Wyatt began her career in 2010 at the big ad agency Universal McCann and later held account management positions at Refiney29, a digital media and entertainment company focused on young women; Vevo, the video hosting service; and YuMe, a San Francisco advertiser insights firm.

Evan Zarider, 31

Senior Director, Consumer Insights, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Zarider leads UPHE’s data analytics team, which helps optimize marketing and distribution strategies across Universal’s home entertainment portfolio. His analysis has led to key decisions on some of Universal’s biggest properties, including Despicable Me, the “Fast and Furious” films and Jurassic World. He is also known for unifying teams across multiple divisions around shared strategic outcomes. Zarider started at Universal Pictures as an intern in 2008 before joining the team full time in 2010 after he graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in business.