A Look at Some Notable ’40 Under 40′ Alumni

As we were compiling our fourth annual “40 Under 40,” saluting the rising stars and top young executives in home entertainment, it occurred to me how much more difficult this process has become since our first such compendium in 2018.

That first year, we had to scramble for nominees. This year, whittling down the vast number of candidates was something like being asked which of my three sons do I like best. Everyone whose name was submitted was more than worthy of inclusion. We had to leave out dozens of talented young people, and I’ve already added many of their names — the ones who aren’t “aging out” — to next year’s list of contenders. Our honorees also have become increasingly diverse, with more women and people of color.

But, most significantly, the majority of the 40 young executives in our 2021 40 Under 40 are no longer “pure-play” home entertainment in the traditional sense of the word. We’re seeing an accelerated blurring of the lines between transactional, television, streaming and other channels of content distribution, as distributors become filmmakers, filmmakers become distributors, and studio marketing and sales teams take on additional responsibilities for their parent company’s streaming ventures.

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While we began our annual 40 Under 40 salute the same year that Media Play News launched, our core editorial team back in 2011 had produced a similar special feature for our predecessor publication — one year, and one year only.

That was exactly 10 years ago, and since in this business we’re programmed to celebrate anniversary dates of any kind, I decided to take a look back and see whatever happened to some of those rising stars we honored back in 2011.

I found some pretty amazing developments.

Shanan Becker, at the time a business development executive at DVD and Blu-ray distributor Image Entertainment, is now CFO of Saban Films, the boutique acquisition and distribution company founded by Haim Saban, creator of the “Power Rangers” franchise, that has built an enviable slate of talent-driven feature films for multiplatform release in partnership with Lionsgate.

Ian Bricke, a programming acquisitions and strategy VP at Epix, subsequently began a long run at Netflix that has seen him rise to VPof original independent film. His credits include five “To All the Boys” and “The Kissing Booth” films, which since their 2018 debuts have been seen in more than 125 million households.

Meredith Gertler, who was VP of product management, operations and production at HBO Home Entertainment, at the time a leader in the then-booming TV DVD business, is now EVP of content and strategy for HBO Max, responsible for shaping the streamer’s portfolio and developing overall content and programming strategies for all HBO streaming/on-demand platforms and linear networks. She’s just been tapped as a keynote speaker at Content LA in May 2022.

Kelly Merryman, a content acquisition VP at Netflix, went on to a long career at YouTube, where she ultimately rose to VP of content partnerships, charged with fostering relationships with major movie studios and TV networks.

Jason Ropell, who at the time had just joined Netflix as VP of content, went on to head Amazon Studios’ film division and is now CEO of Mubi, a leading streaming platform for independent movies.

Galen Smith, the studious young SVP of finance at Redbox, is now the company’s CEO and engineering an ambitious digital transformation at the one-time kiosk company.

And Soumya Sriramanhas gone from heading a small indie called Palisades Tartan to being named head of Prime Video Channels for Amazon, a prestigious role she assumed last November after nearly four years as CEO and president of the BritBox streaming service.

I’m looking forward to doing the same exercise again 10 years from now with the Class of 2021.

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.

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

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.


Nick Bell Departing Snap as Content VP

Nick Bell, the young executive who helped create Snapchat’s original video programming, is leaving the social media platform after five years.

Bell, who joined Snap from News Corp., said he will transition out of the company by the end of the year to take a break and decide his future career plans.

“This experience has been incredibly rewarding and an absolute blast,” Bell said in a statement. “I leave now with amazing memories, many lifelong friendships, and a huge amount of excitement for the future of Snap.

Recognized in Media Play News’ inaugural “40 Under 40” feature showcasing upcoming executives in home entertainment, Bell launched his first dotcom venture, Teenfront.com, at 16 in the United Kingdom before joining News Corp. as SVP in his 20s.

He joined Snap in 2014 and worked with co-founder Evan Spiegel as the social media app moved into original content, including video, via Snapchat Discover.

Notable deals include a partnership with NBC Sports Group for “Premier League: Extra Time” and the reality dating shows “Phone Swap” and “Second Chance.” In March, Snap bowed an augmented reality marketing deal with Sony Pictures for the home release of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, incorporating a special code on packaging and marketing materials that filtered through Snap.



40 Under 40 In Home Entertainment 2018

Welcome to Media Play News’ inaugural 40 Under 40 — what we anticipate will be an annual list of talented young executives worth keeping an eye on.

The home entertainment industry is bigger than ever. With subscription VOD by Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and others joining the traditional transactional model, consumers have never had as many choices as they do now when it comes to watching movies and other content where, when and how they want to.

With the at-home sector expanding, a new generation of leaders is emerging to chart the industry’s future course. Our inaugural 40 Under 40 is a diverse list rich in both talent and promise. Some honorees are already influential business leaders; others are up-and-comers with a fresh perspective and a toolbox of skills that have yet to be fully deployed.

And we would be remiss if we didn’t point out that back in 1977, when the late Andre Blay effectively birthed the home entertainment business by licensing 50 movie titles from 20th Century Fox and releasing them on cassette under the Magnetic Video label, none of the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 was even born!

Our honorees are listed alphabetically by last name.

Lyndsey Adams, 30

Customer Marketing Manager, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Adams develops, secures and executes creative promotions for Universal at Walmart, one of the top home entertainment retailers in the country. For the recent release of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, she coordinated 1,000 Brand Ambassadors in 500 Walmart stores interacting with customers to sample UPHE’s innovative Augmented Reality-enabled corrugate. Additionally, Adams oversaw parking lot events in 120 Walmart stores that allowed customers to interact with the “Jurassic World” brand through Virtual Reality, Lego displays, photo ops and more. Earlier, Adams — who began her UPHE career as an intern — secured Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again integration into Walmart’s national radio broadcast network, highlighting UPHE’s exclusive movie and soundtrack offer.

Christina Avitabile, 34

Head, Content Distribution & Licensing (TVOD/SVOD/AVOD), YouTube & Google Play
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. A UC Berkeley graduate, Avitabile began her career as an investment banker at Citi and then spent three years in corporate development at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Nick Bell, 34

VP of Content, Snapchat
Bell launched his first dotcom venture, Teenfront.com, at 16 in the United Kingdom before joining News Corp. as SVP in his 20s. He joined Snap in 2014 and works with co-founder Evan Spiegel as the social media app moves into original content, including video, via Snapchat Discover. Notable deals include a partnership with NBC Sports Group for “Premier League: Extra Time” and the reality dating shows “Phone Swap” and “Second Chance.” In March, Snap bowed an augmented reality marketing deal with Sony Pictures for the home release of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, incorporating a special code on packaging and marketing materials that filtered through Snap.

Joe Burg, 35

Executive Director, Virtual Reality and Content Development, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Burg is one of Sony Pictures’ young futurists, charged with harnessing new technologies to enhance the customer experience. Known for his skills in writing and producing award-winning creative and interactive content, he leads a team of content producers in creating next-generation home entertainment experiences. He is the lead producer on all of Sony Pictures’ virtual reality (VR) initiatives, including The Walk mobile, Goosebumps mobile, Ghostbusters VR Playstation and Spider-Man: Homecoming VR experiences. A 2005 University of Arizona graduate, Burg joined Sony in 2012 after nearly five years at 20th Century Fox in global content development for television.

April Carretta, 39

SVP, Global Communications & Partnerships, Worldwide, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Carretta serves as a senior leader on Fox’s integrated marketing communications team, helping to drive global communications and secure critical partnerships with major brands across corporate and consumer-facing initiatives for all 20th Century Fox title releases and next-generation technologies. This year she led one of the most successful home entertainment communications campaigns of the year for Deadpool 2: Super Duper Cut as well as the 25th anniversary of the baseball classic The Sandlot, which included a partnership with Major League Baseball and a “Today” show segment and culminated with a 20-city tour that brought the film and its cast to stadiums around the country.

Leda Chang, 37

VP, Interactive Marketing, Paramount Home Media Distribution
Chang joined Paramount in August 2017 to oversee the home media division’s global interactive marketing. Recent successes include digital and social campaigns for A Quiet Place and Daddy’s Home 2, driven by consumer insight strategies that provided the foundation for standout creative and new partnership development. Chang additionally oversees tiered catalog campaigns to deliver incremental results using seasonal triggers, milestones and targeted social tactics. Chang joined Paramount from Universal Music Group, where she started and developed the digital marketing team for UMe. Prior to that, she had roles within Edelman Digital, Republic and Motown Records.

Emi Chau, 32

Manager, Site Merchandising, Vudu
Chau is a merchandising manager at Vudu, Walmart’s digital video service. She joined Vudu in 2009 — the same year she graduated from San Jose State University, and a year before it was acquired by Walmart — and began contributing as a member of the merchandising department in 2014. It was during that time that her numerous successes in promotional strategy and building studio partnerships led to her promotion into her current role in 2017. Over the past nine years, she has helped Vudu grow to the point where it now delivers more than 180,000 movies and TV shows, many in industry-leading 4K HDR quality, to countless households and users. Chau currently manages more than 40 studio and television network partners, driving weekly merchandising strategies and promotions across the Vudu service.

Rachel Derrico, 31

Senior Manager, Content Programming, Vudu
Derrico joined Vudu in January 2017 with eight years of experience in the entertainment industry and a master’s degree in the field from Fairleigh Dickinson University. An avid fan of television, film, music and pop culture, she spent nearly four years at Showtime Networks, most recently as a manager in program planning and scheduling. In addition to developing and executing the monthly linear/non-linear program plans for all channels, she was responsible for analyzing content performance and evaluating and altering programming strategy. Content continues to be key at Vudu, which two years ago launched an ad-supported “Movies on Us” service, with a catalog of more than 7,000 catalog TV shows and movies free to stream with commercials.

Erica Marie Dionne, 35

VP, Product Development and Strategy, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Dionne oversees UPHE’s digital product strategy and management, including pricing and windowing across film new-release, catalog and television content. She also guides the Movies Anywhere product roadmap via the cross-studio Product Council. Dionne combines strategic thinking with product expertise to champion best practices across retailers. Accomplishments include launching and managing the Digital Movie Card pilot, as well as securing a trial partner (BJ’s), and launching the first-ever Enhanced Extras experience with Comcast on the X1 platform. She subsequently facilitated the launch of Enhanced Extras experiences on the Vudu and FandangoNow mobile platforms.

Michael Epperly, 34

Senior Business Planner, Microsoft Movies & TV
Epperly is charged with managing the movies and TV relationships with Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, HBO, Funimation and others, as well as driving creative programs that combine movie and television content with Xbox offerings. He works across numerous stakeholder groups to drive insights and sales initiation planning. Epperly joined Microsoft Movies & TV in 2016 as global business planner for television, joining the digital store with a background in digital advertising and games monetization. He’s known for his strong analytical skills and ability to convert data into actionable insight.

Barrett Evans, 35

VP, Marketing and Product Development, Mill Creek Entertainment
Executives at indies typically wear many hats, but Evans is a veritable milliner. Over the last decade he’s helped guide Mill Creek — the industry’s leading provider of value DVD compilations — to bigger releases such as the complete series of “The Shield,” “Rescue Me,” “Masters of Sex,” “Community” and others. He oversaw the release of the first-run Flora, a first for Mill Creek, and is currently working on the development of a new streaming service, BINGEflix, that Mill Creek is launching this fall.

Blair Fetter, 37

Director, Original Series, Netflix
Digital originals — fueled by binge-watching — are Netflix’s growth engine, and Fetter is one of the executives charged with keeping that engine purring. Fetter came aboard in April 2012, shortly after Netflix began acquiring original content. The first series, “House of Cards,” went on the air the following February, and the rest, as they say, is history. Fetter’s first contribution was “Bojack Horseman,” Netflix’s first adult animated series. He’s also had a hand in “The Ranch,” with Ashton Kutcher, and the animated adult sitcom “Big Mouth” (season two bowed on Oct. 5). Before Netflix, Fetter — a 2004 USC film school graduate — spent five years on the crew of HBO’s “Big Love.”

Adam Frank, 31

SVP, Worldwide Digital Sales & Distribution, Lionsgate
Frank manages worldwide transactional digital sales and distribution for Lionsgate’s film and television content across a wide spectrum of digital and MVPD platforms. Frank joined Lionsgate as an analyst in May 2011, a year after he graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a bachelor’s degree in media studies. He moved into digital sales and distribution and has since been instrumental in developing Lionsgate’s new windowing strategies, including the company’s industry-leading day-and-date theatrical and VOD business. He oversaw the digital release strategies of La La Land, Wonder and “The Hunger Games,” “Twilight,” “Now You See Me” and “John Wick” franchises and has a constant focus on monetizing the studio’s 17,000-title library.

Maura Gray, 35

Director, Brand and Product Marketing, Redbox
Elevated to director of brand and product marketing earlier this year, Gray is a five-year Redbox veteran who has led multiple, large-scale brand and marketing initiatives for the entertainment brand, known for its ubiquitous red disc-rental kiosks as well as its fast-growing digital Redbox On Demand offering. Her credits include the Redbox On Demand launch, the 4K Ultra HD market test and the company’s rebranding that includes Redbox’s first-ever major ad campaigns. A Penn State graduate, Gray previously focused on ad sales and partnership marketing at the National Geographic Channels.

Christopher Greavu, 38

VP, Sales, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Greavu is charged with developing and executing innovative sales programs and manages Fox’s No. 1 retail account, Walmart. He coordinated the first theatrical draft photobomb promotion for the home release of Deadpool 2, with Blu-ray Disc covers of other well-known movies doctored to include Deadpool 2 at point of purchase, sparking massive social conversation and media coverage. He also developed and executed Fox’s first Digital Redemption Cards at Walmart, and played a key role in overseeing the industry-first expansion of physical sellthrough product on the Vudu platform. Prior responsibilities include strategic account management and driving go-to-market strategies for partnerships with Vudu, Target and Best Buy.

Paul Haddon, 38

Director, Global Sales, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Haddon manages Warner Bros.’ relationship with Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Xbox to drive WB’s extensive new-release slate and catalog of movies, TV shows and video games. He creates partnership opportunities between WB games and video content to maximize core IP, with a focus on the DC franchise and other recent console-friendly hits such as Ready Player One. He has a wealth of international experience and collaborates closely with WB teams around the world to develop global initiatives. Haddon started his home entertainment career at WB in 2003 as a Marketing Assistant for EMEA based in London, and spent 10 years working with licensed markets during the division’s fastest period of disc and digital sales growth. Warner Bros. moved him to Los Angeles in 2015. Haddon is a 2001 graduate of the University of Birmingham.

Brandt Haynes, 39

SVP, Product Management and Partner Marketing, Worldwide Digital Distribution and Home Entertainment, HBO
Haynes leads a team responsible for the strategic business planning and partner marketing/operations for HBO’s global home entertainment and domestic digital distribution businesses, including HBO NOW and the HBO and Cinemax offerings on Sony Vue, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. He joined HBO in 2007 after earning his MBA from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business. Initially, he oversaw marketing for HBO’s documentary DVD releases. Since then, his team has managed the worldwide phenomenon “Game of Thrones” within the home entertainment category for the past seven seasons. Each season was among the top home entertainment TV titles in its year of release.

David Heimerl, 39

Senior Director, Creative Services, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
A valued leader in UPHE’s creative department, Heimerl is known for balancing creative solutions with business acumen to come up with winning formulas that work for all parties involved. Most recently, he played a key role in the development of the Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom in-store and in-home Augmented Reality experience. It was the largest retail effort of its kind for both UPHE and Facebook, spanning 18 countries, and also was the first integrated AR experience across the Facebook family of apps. A nearly 15-year UPHE veteran, Heimerl holds an MBA from USC’s prestigious Marshall School of Business.

Laura Lupinetti Hofmeister, 33

VP, Film Trade Marketing, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Hofmeister serves in a leadership position in WBHE’s film business, driving national go-to-market strategy across new-release, theatrical catalog and cinematic VR. She and her team are responsible for curation of content and price variability to maximize sales and placement across various windows in an ever-changing landscape. Hofmeister has both domestic and international experience at Warner Bros. within multiple functional areas. She joined the studio in 2010 from consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers and subsequently completed stints in the WB Amsterdam, Paris, and New York (DC Comics) offices in various finance roles before moving to home entertainment in 2013.

Lisa Holme, 35

VP, Content Acquisition, Hulu
Holme oversees content strategy, licensing and business development at Hulu, the No. 3 SVOD service — and home to such hit digital originals as “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Castle Rock.” Named by Fast Company to its “The Most Creative People in Business” list, Holme joined Hulu in November 2010 from Illumination Entertainment. She has since played a key role in bringing content to Hulu from major broadcast and cable networks, movie studios and other rights holders, including FX, Disney, NBCUniversal, CBS, WB, Viacom, Sony, Lionsgate, Turner, AMC, A+E, Discovery, Epix, Magnolia and IFC Films. Holme is a 2005 graduate of Yale University and began her career at McKinsey & Co.

Sonia Jain, 39

CFO, Redbox
Jain is responsible for the financial health of Redbox, with its fleet of disc-rental kiosks and fast-growing online TVOD and electronic sellthrough store. She’s charged with setting financial direction, developing strategies to drive profitability and deal support. A former Morgan Stanley investment banker and McKinsey & Company consultant, Jain has been with the Redbox organization since 2010, when she joined then-parent Outerwall. It was under her watch that the company was acquired by Apollo Global Management and launched its Redbox On Demand online video store. A Harvard MBA, Jain also holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Princeton University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, respectively.

Rebecca Johnson, 34

Senior Brand Manager, Theatrical New Releases, Paramount Home Media Distribution
Johnson is responsible for the creation and execution of fresh, innovative and creative marketing campaigns for the studio’s theatrical titles on home media. Over the past three years she has collaborated on strategic planning for tentpole franchises such as “Mission: Impossible” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” spearheaded campaign delivery for the multi-award-winning film Fences, and established partnership programs for hits such as the Oscar-winner The Big Short. Johnson has 10 years’ experience in home media marketing, having joined Paramount from an independent studio in London where she developed marketing campaigns for more than 50 arthouse, indie and genre releases per year. She holds a master of arts degree in contemporary cinema cultures from King’s College London.

Angie Kang, 36

VP, Business and Legal Affairs, Hulu
Kang joined Hulu in late 2011 and has been the point person on numerous content acquisition deals that have built out Hulu’s library. Kang also has led all major deals for Hulu’s original series, including “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Casual,” and locked in the first official content provider for Hulu’s live-streaming service. She also led negotiations with Warner Bros. to guarantee the studio’s content will be available live and on-demand. After earning her law degree at the UC Berkeley School of Law, Kang began her legal career in 2008 in the corporate department of Latham & Watkins, where she represented numerous start-ups and technology companies.

Mary Khachikyan, 36

VP, Production Release Planning, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Khachikyan oversees the 25-member production and release planning team at UPHE, managing master data, procurement and production planning for the distribution of all physical product in the United States and Canada. This includes releases for NBCUniversal as well as for partners such as Paramount Pictures, Cinedigm, Shout! Factory, Funimation, PBS, Well Go, STX, Pureflix, Neon, Bleecker Street and others. She has been instrumental in producing efficiencies within the operations team, working to create a nimble, lean organization poised to successfully manage the requirements of a rapidly changing industry. Khachikyan also spearheads sustainability efforts to reduce the industry’s environmental impact through the development and implementation of eco-friendly initiatives.

Amanda Kozlowski, 39

EVP, Home Entertainment and Digital Distribution Marketing, Lionsgate
A 10-year veteran of Lionsgate, Kozlowski was promoted into her present position in October 2018. She oversees Lionsgate’s marketing efforts across traditional and emerging platforms and technologies for the entire home entertainment and digital distribution division. This includes Lionsgate feature films and TV titles, original Starz programming, a 17,000-title library, and third-party titles from such content companies as StudioCanal, Amazon Studios and CBS Films. Kozlowski previously served as SVP of digital marketing. Prior to joining Lionsgate, Kozlowski oversaw campaigns for marketing agency A.D.D. Marketing + Advertising as well for the nonprofit organization Film Independent. Kozlowski holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina.

Sera Leggett, 36

Manager, Content Operations, Google Play Movies & TV
Leggett heads the New York team for Google Play Movies & TV business and content operations. She partners with product and engineering teams to develop solutions that delight consumers and deliver value to the Google global ecosystem. Prior to joining Google in New York in December 2017, Leggett spent over a decade in digital media distribution working at Kaplan, RR Donnelley, Microsoft, O’Reilly and Google. A Western Michigan University alum, she has supported end-to-end digital ecosystems and managed the day-to-day services pipeline of digital entertainment and software products for movies and TV, books and magazines, e-learning, video games, content, apps, avatars, currency and tokens, as well as operating systems.

Adriana Monsalve, 33

Director, Digital Marketing, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Monsalve joined Warner Bros. in November 2015, leading digital owned/earned/paid strategies for a high volume of titles across various home entertainment business units, including theatrical new release, catalog TV, and family and animation. Her efforts resulted in six industry awards (Clio, Telly and IAC) over two years. In early 2018, Monsalve’s role transitioned to fully oversee digital paid media strategies to advance WBHE’s position in an increasingly dynamic, data-driven landscape. Prior to WB, Monsalve was an agency-side digital media strategist, having spent eight years working with studio and TV entertainment clients including Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Disney Channel, and Paramount Pictures.

Alejandro Otero, 39

SVP, Digital Distribution and Mastering, Pixelogic Media
Otero has more than 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry with a focus on post-production servicing. After graduating from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, Otero joined Sony’s DVD Center. In 2004 he joined Radius60 Studios and worked to create the company’s digital and creative servicing division. Otero came to Pixelogic through its 2016 acquisition of Radius60 and now manages the digital distribution and mastering pipelines in addition to leading the company’s product development vision. He has played a lead role in building the company’s end-to-end localization and distribution platform, pHelix, which employs AI and ML to automate many post-production processes that previously were manual.

Jason Peterson, 36

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 Distribber build and collect revenue from a media market transforming from ownership to access rights. ContentBridge recently encoded and delivered Studio 100 TV’s entire catalog to leading Belgian telecom Proximus, with specific versions optimized for television as well as the new Studio 100 Go mobile application. In January, VidaPrimo partnered with the live and on-demand OTT service XUMO to launch the first Latin music video channel available on the platform.

Melinda Petrow, 35

Senior Director, Brand Strategy, FandangoNow
Petrow is the senior director of brand strategy for Fandango and FandangoNow, the movie-ticket leader’s premium video-on-demand streaming service. She drives brand strategy for Fandango, FandangoNow, Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster and Fandango Movieclips to deliver an integrated consumer experience across all platforms. Petrow develops and leads strategic marketing plans, messaging, and national and local advertising campaigns for each business unit’s original video series, live events, seasonal content, product initiatives and launches to drive brand awareness, engagement and sales. Previously, she oversaw public relations for Movies.com, and as a Fandango spokesperson, Petrow has appeared on “Entertainment Tonight,” the Fox Business channel and CBS’s “The Insider.”

Julie Rapaport, 34

Co-Head, Movies, Amazon Studios
Rapaport was thrust into the spotlight in September 2018 when she was tapped to co-head the movie production team at Amazon Studios, joining Ted Hope and Matt Newman and reporting to studio boss Jennifer Salke. Rapaport joined the streaming giant in 2015 as senior manager of development, production and acquisitions, at Amazon Studios. She oversaw the Plan B festival title Beautiful Boy as well as Richard Linklater’s Last Flag Flying and Mike White’s Brad’s Status. In her new role, Rapaport is charged with developing bigger-budget movies that appeal to wider audiences. Prior to Amazon, Rapaport — a Tufts University alum — was part of the Weinstein Co. production and development team.

Michael Roberts, 28

Senior Manager, Customer Marketing, Paramount Home Media Distribution
Roberts manages digital campaigns for Paramount Home Media Distribution’s new-release and catalog titles. Over the past three years he has put his social media and digital marketing skills to work on a wide range of titles while developing strong relationships with digital customers. Roberts began his career at Paramount in the page program and subsequently was offered a position as an assistant in the marketing department. From there he steadily advanced up the ranks to become senior manager this past July. Roberts holds a degree from Cal State Fullerton.

Ben Schwaid, 35

VP, Business and Analytics, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
As head of the analytics team for UPHE’s digital sales group, Schwaid has put his degree in computer science from New York University and MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management to good use. His insights have influenced key windowing, pricing and product innovation decisions. He’s built and managed strategic planning, revenue forecasting and performance analysis processes from the ground up as the group’s revenue more than doubled. He leads the annual long-range planning process, building market projections based on sales trends, analyst reports and consumer research. He also created an industry-leading statistical model to forecast film VOD and EST revenue by title, improving accuracy by a multiple of four.

Dan Slepak, 33

Executive Director, Digital Distribution, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Slepak is charged with managing Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s content distribution relationships with key digital retailers Apple iTunes, Google, Microsoft (Xbox) and PlayStation. His focus is on growing the transactional VOD business. Appointed to his present position in August 2017, Slepak began his career at Sony five years ago as a digital strategist, analyzing and informing commercial decisions, optimizing the studio’s approach to business planning, pricing, greenlighting and consumer research, and developing best practices for tactics such as bundling and rent-to-own. Prior to joining Sony, Slepak worked at Mercer Investment Consulting and United Talent Agency. He holds an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School and an undergraduate degree in business administration from USC.

Nantalie Song, 35

Senior Director of Marketing, FandangoNow
Song directs marketing efforts for FandangoNow. She leads efforts that accelerate new growth and customer retention through digital marketing, advertising and partnerships. Prior to joining Fandango, she held several brand marketing roles at Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, overseeing DVD, Blu-ray Disc and digital launches for the studio’s slate of theatrical new-release and family titles. Her love of movies and TV began at a young age, and led her to a career in entertainment that also includes marketing and finance roles at Fox Television and Sony Pictures.

Kim Staruk, 36

Executive Director, Marketing, Cinedigm
Staruk joined mega-indie film distributor Cinedigm in March 2014 and currently manages distribution partners such as Hallmark, Status Media, Studio City Pictures and the NHL. She is responsible for overseeing the general partner relationships, along with the overall business strategy and marketing plans for these key content partners and their films. And talk about results: For the Hallmark brand, digital movie sales rose 20% in 2017 over 2016, while DVD and Blu-ray Disc revenues were up 22%. Staruk, a 2004 graduate of the University of Florida, previously spent four years as a marketing brand manager at Universal Music and two years at Sony in SPT International Production.

Anjali Sud, 35

CEO, Vimeo
Sud made headlines in 2017 after being named CEO of video streaming platform Vimeo at the age of 34 — three years after joining the company as VP of marketing. The daughter of an immigrant household growing up in Flint, Mich., Sud told Yahoo Finance her father “raised me with this idea that businesses can help create jobs and have a positive force of influence on your local community.” Prior to joining Vimeo, Sud spent four years at Amazon working in business development. She is attempting to transition Vimeo into a B2B video platform after previous CEO Kerry Trainor’s abandoned attempt to morph the service into a Netflix-style SVOD catering to indie content.

Katie Ullrich, 35

Director, Digital Retail Marketing, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Ullrich oversees retail marketing of movies and other Sony Pictures content for digital retailers such as Apple iTunes, FandangoNow, Google, Microsoft (Xbox) and PlayStation. A brand expert with a passion for entertainment, she has created customized high-impact retail campaigns on event titles such as Baby Driver, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. Ullrich joined SPHE as Brand Marketing Manager in July 2014, leading innovative marketing campaigns for major studio releases, and was promoted into her present position in April 2017. A Cal State Long Beach graduate, she came to Sony after seven years at Paramount, where she served as Brand Marketing Manager, International.

Seth Van Sickel, 36

Director of Operations, Sling TV
As director of operations since January 2016, Van Sickel has been a key contributor to the launch and continued success of Sling TV, the streaming TV service launched exactly one year earlier by Dish Network. Van Sickel, a 2004 graduate of Iowa State University, oversees more than 60 people and is responsible for managing all teams that focus on Sling TV’s customer experience, including the Command Center, the operational analytics team and the user acceptance testing (UAT) team. He has overseen the launch of more than 650 channels since the service’s launch, including more than 80,000 on-demand assets. In 2018, he won Sling TV’s “Best in Class” award.

Gabrielle Waary, 34

Director, Digital Distribution, Sony Pictures Entertainment
A Penn State graduate, Waary manages SPHE’s content distribution relationships with residential video-on-demand retailers such as Comcast, AT&T Entertainment Group and Spectrum. A key player within SPHE’s digital distribution team, Waary is focused on building the studio’s transactional video-on-demand (TVOD) business. An expert in driving revenue and account management, she has created dynamic TVOD campaigns in partnership with MPVDs reaching more than 60 million households, for top releases such as Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Hotel Transylvania and Ghostbusters: Answer the Call. Waary has more than 10 years of experience in digital distribution. Prior to joining SPHE in 2013, she worked for 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate and Capitol Records.