May 29, 2020
Dan York, former chief content officer at DirecTV and MediaPlay News “Digital Driver,” has been named CEO of Cox Media Group.
York will be responsible for all aspects of managing the company’s media platforms and will oversee CMG’s long-term strategic priorities.
Steve Pruett, who was interim CEO, will continue as executive chairman of CMG. He said York’s success in media, content, distribution, operations, and successfully leading large organizations, makes him essential.
“Most importantly, [York] embraces contemporary thinking as the media landscape continues to evolve,” Pruett said in a statement. “We have full confidence he is the right person to lead CMG in the next phase of the company’s growth.”
As CCO at DirecTV, York developed a reputation for being a hard negotiator, including driving programmers to tears during all-night contract proceedings, according to a 2016 Los Angeles Times profile.
York helped build AT&T’s video business over the past 15 years from a start-up to one of the nation’s largest pay-TV provider and the world’s largest licensor of content. During his tenure he oversaw all content activities, including licensing, operations, strategy, investments, original content, compliance, and ran AT&T’s ad sales and regional sports networks.
Indeed, it was York who allegedly was instrumental in preventing DirecTV from picking up the Los Angeles Dodgers’ regional cable channel, SportsNet LA, which is controlled by the former Time Warner Cable (now part of Charter Communications). The heavy-handed tactics resulted in the Justice Department lawsuit against AT&T-owned DirecTV.
“We all negotiate hard to get good deals,” a veteran TV executive told the Times. “But Dan mashes your face into the cement.”
DirecTV and other AT&T cable systems finally ended the Dodgers blackout in April 2020.