Jaime Pollack Named Chief Revenue Officer for Fight Media Group

Anthem Sports & Entertainment June 25 named longtime video game/pro wrestling executive Jaime Pollack as chief revenue officer for Fight Media Group. In this newly created position, Pollack will oversee all revenue generation for Fight Media, which includes Fight Network and IMPACT Wrestling promotion. Pollack will report directly to Ed Nordholm, president of Fight Media Group and chief corporate officer for Anthem. He joins Anthem on July 1 and will be based in Los Angeles.

“Jaime truly has a wide breadth of experience in all facets of the sports spectrum — from the cutting-edge realm of esports to the most popular mixed martial arts promotion in the world,” Nordholm said in a statement. “He brings an incredible pedigree to the table, having forged worldwide success with major brands such as the UFC and Activision Blizzard. This unique skill set could not be more relevant today and, as Fight Media Group continues to grow and expand, his unparalleled expertise and diverse network of connections in these arenas will accelerate our revenue growth.”

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Prior to joining Anthem, Pollack served as VP of media and business development at Activision Blizzard. He was directly responsible for esports media and distribution around the launches of the Overwatch and Call of Duty Leagues, including negotiating the first major e-sports digital streaming deal on Amazon’s Twitch platform, securing esports linear television broadcast partnerships with ABC, Disney XD and ESPN, and creating new cross-Atlantic media distribution in key European and Asian markets.

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Jaime Pollack

Prior to Activision Blizzard, Pollack held several different high-level positions with the MMA powerhouse UFC for over a decade. As SVP, global content and GM of Latin America, Pollack helped take UFC from a domestic fight promoter to a mainstream multi-billion-dollar global sports property. He spearheaded the UFC’s landmark launch in Brazil and helped rapidly expand the organization across Latin America. Under his direction, UFC launched UFC Network, conducted major live worldwide-televised events, created platforms for blue-chip sponsors, and developed local fighter talent. Pollack also drove production of the first international seasons of the reality series “The Ultimate Fighter,” leading to successful ratings, brand awareness, business growth and mainstream embracing of MMA on television. Additionally, he served as president of Pride Fighting Championship in Japan after UFC’s takeover, and he has established dozens of other major media, marketing and brand partnerships globally. Prior to joining the UFC, Pollack was a media attorney at NBCUniversal Television Group.

Activision Sheds 800 Jobs Amid Record Sales, Earnings

Video game maker Activision Blizzard on a Feb. 12 earnings call with analysts confirmed rumors of big job cuts – rumors first floated last week in a Bloomberg report.

Executives on the call revealed plans to slash 8% of the company’s 9,600-employee workforce, despite “record” sales of $7.5 billion in 2018, up from $7.02 billion in 2017. Earnings per share, too, were a record $2.35, compared with $0.36 in 2017.

In an earnings release issued earlier in the day, CEO Bobby Kotick said that “while our financial results for 2018 were the best in our history, we didn’t realize our full potential. To help us reach our full potential, we have made a number of important leadership changes. These changes should enable us to achieve the many opportunities our industry affords us, especially with our powerful owned franchises, our strong commercial capabilities, our direct digital connections to hundreds of millions of players, and our extraordinarily talented employees.”

But on the afternoon earnings call, COO Coddy Johnson revealed some 800 of those employees would soon be gone, mostly in non-developmental roles.

“Our restructuring plan sheds investment and less productive non-strategic areas of our business and will result in a net headcount reduction of approximately 8% while also driving a significant increase in investment, focus and capabilities around our biggest franchises,” he said on the call, according to a transcript provided by Seeking Alpha.

The publisher began notifying those who are being laid off across its various divisions, which include Activision, Blizzard and King.

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At the same time, Activision promised a 20% spike in the number of developers working on marquee game franchises such as Call of Duty, CandyCrush, Overwatch,  WarcraftHearthstone and Diablo over the course of 2019.

“We have worked with our new business unit leaders to undertake a comprehensive examination of our business to determine the changes we need to make to improve execution and capitalize on the substantial long-term growth opportunities for our company,” Johnson said on the call. “We determined that we need to refocus our best resources on our biggest opportunities and to remove an unnecessary level of complexity and duplication that is built up in certain parts of the business.

“We have, therefore, developed a clear plan for this year to refocus and reinforce the foundation for growth. This refocus includes initiatives developed by our new business unit leaders, each of whom has demonstrated the ability to combine creative excellence with the commercial focus on profitable growth.

“First, we are investing more in development for our biggest internally owned franchises across upfront releases, in-game content, mobile and geographic expansion. Second, we are deprioritizing initiatives that are not meeting our expectations and reducing certain non-development and administrative-related costs across our business. Third, we are integrating our global and regional sales and go-to-market partnerships and sponsorships capabilities across the business, enabling us to better leverage talent, expertise and scale on behalf of our business units.”

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2018, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues from digital channels were a record $5.79 billion.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2018, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues were a record $2.38 billion, up from $2.04 billion for the fourth quarter of 2017. Net revenues from digital channels were a record $1.79 billion. Earnings per diluted share were a record $0.84, as compared with loss per share of $0.77 for the fourth quarter of 2017.

Activision Blizzard generated $1.79 billion in operating cash flow for the year ended Dec. 31, 2018, as compared to $2.21 billion for 2017.

Activision Blizzard’s Spencer Neumann Expected to Become New Netflix CFO

Netflix is reportedly set to announce the hiring of Spencer Neumann as its new CFO, replacing long-time chief executive David Wells, who is leaving the company, according to Reuters, which cited sources familiar with the situation.

Neumann, who has been CFO of Activision Blizzard for less than two years, was put on paid leave Dec. 31 by the Los Angeles-based video game publisher, according to a regulatory filing.

Prior to Activision, Neumann held management positions at Disney’s theme park and television units.

A Netflix spokesperson wasn’t immediately available for comment.