Content owners, producers and services catered to the digital consumer with an avalanche of new content, better interfaces, enhanced extras and innovative technology in 2017.
Most notable on the digital transactional side was the launch of Movies Anywhere, an outgrowth of Disney’s cloud-based movie library technology and a reboot of the digital ownership push that had faltered with UltraViolet.
Disney (including Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm), Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. joined Movies Anywhere, along with digital retailers Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, Walmart-owned Vudu and FandangoNow.
“Anyone who understands technology, even on a cursory level, and looks at what we’ve accomplished [with the number of studios, retailers and platforms], knows how remarkable this is,” said Karin Gilford, GM of Movies Anywhere, in an interview with Media Play News in February.
“Movies Anywhere is the latest industry offering to enhance digital ownership, providing fans with the utmost utility and accessibility in the way they engage, build and manage their digital libraries,” said Michael Bonner, EVP of digital distribution at Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.
“I think Movies Anywhere is transformational for EST, since it offers more content, from more studios, through more retailers,” added Mark Fisher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Merchants Association.
And movie collection in the digital realm continued to catch on. Consumers in 2017 spent an estimated $2.15 billion on the (transactional) electronic purchase of movies, up nearly 6% from the prior year, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. This growth was driven by a 12% jump in the purchase of theatrical films.
“Last year, the industry saw another healthy 12% uptick in EST for theatrical product, which clearly demonstrates consumer appetite for digital ownership,” said Bob Buchi, president of worldwide home media distribution at Paramount Pictures.
“As we have begun granting 4K HDR content at HD prices we’ve witnessed an exceptional consumer response and acceleration of catalog sales,” said Mike Takac, EVP of sales at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. “We’re also seeing encouraging progress in the area of TV VOD, where we’re making complete seasons available to binge rent. The results are driving incremental revenue and we’re planning to make more seasons available immediately.”
Another key development on the transactional side was the re-entry of disc-rental kiosk company Redbox into the digital game. After an aborted attempt to offer a subscription VOD service via a joint venture with Verizon a few years before, Redbox last year unveiled Redbox On Demand, a transactional rental and purchase service with more than 6,000 movie and TV show titles and deals with all the major studios except Disney (with which Redbox is involved in a legal battle over selling digital copy codes).
“Our customers come to us for that transactional experience,” Redbox CEO Galen Smith told Media Play News in January. “There are occasions where you might not want to go out and rent a movie from a kiosk. So rather than lose that transactional occasion, we’re giving them the chance to get it online.”
Content owners are keen on fostering the digital transactional experience by offering enhancements, including bonus features and virtual and augmented reality.
“The industry believes the best way to incentivize entertainment lovers to embrace digital collection of movie and TV shows is to give them the best, most convenient, high-value experience possible,” said Amy Jo Smith, president and CEO of the industry trade group DEG.
“Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has been focused on the creation of new home entertainment experiences that complement the digital lifestyle of today’s connected consumer, while accurately realizing and extending the vision of our filmmakers,” said Keith Feldman, president of worldwide home entertainment at 20th Century Fox.
“We continue to enhance the EST experience,” added Jason Spivak, EVP of worldwide digital distribution at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
“Over the past year alone we have seen an increase in 4K HDR availability, the launch of Movies Anywhere, and continued evolution of digital extras experiences.”
Bonner noted that Universal is “working closely with our digital retail partners to further enrich the benefits of digital ownership, developing compelling interactive and immersive next-generation content experiences, along with offering enhanced video and audio formats.”
“With brilliant new transfers, engaging bonus content, social viewing parties and immersive AR/VR experiences, our objective is to spur interest in the category and set the stage for continued growth for years to come,” Buchi said.
Still, the growing behemoth of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) continued to gobble up more consumer dollars. Consumer spending on subscription streaming jumped a whopping 31% to an estimated $9.6 billion in 2017, according to the DEG. In turn, SVOD services upped spending on original and acquired content, surpassing the DEG’s estimate of domestic consumer spending on SVOD. Amazon in 2017 spent $4.5 billion on content, Hulu $2.5 billion and Netflix $6.3 billion, according to data from MoffettNathanson and The Wall Street Journal. Facebook and Apple dabbled in the arena in 2017 with a mere $1 billion spent each. Netflix plans to spend up to $8 billion in 2018.
With all that money floating around, it’s no wonder that SVOD services continued to grace the red carpet and collect accolades.
Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” became the first show from a streaming service to win an Emmy for Best Drama Series. Netflix’s Russian-doping documentary Icarus won Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards. Amazon’s The Big Sick was showered with nominations and awards as well, following up plaudits in 2017 for Manchester by the Sea.
Indeed, our Digital Drivers are in the spotlight more than ever.
Introducing our 2018 Digital Drivers:
Disney/ABC Home Entertainment and Television Distribution
Marinelli has one of the most unique and multifaceted roles within the industry. She is responsible for distributing both theatrical releases and television programming from global entertainment giant Disney/ABC across a variety of linear and digital platforms, including physical disc (Blu-ray/DVD/4K UHD), electronic home video license, video-on-demand, subscription video-on-demand, pay-TV, basic cable, broadcast-TV and syndication. Marinelli continues to lead the in-home division into unrivaled areas of growth by delivering the strongest slate of collectible films, capitalizing on the studio’s remarkable box office success. Last year, the division set new records with digital sales and had three bestselling tentpoles in the top five — Moana, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, according to data from comScore. This year’s new releases Thor: Ragnarok and Coco have quickly risen to top spots on the 2018 digital sales chart and there are high-performing expectations for Star Wars: The Last Jedi as it arrives in the in-home space. In addition, Marinelli spearheaded October’s unprecedented multi-studio launch of Movies Anywhere, a free app and website that allows consumers to access their eligible digital movies in one place when purchased or redeemed through participating digital retailers, and sync their libraries across their connected retailer accounts. Marinelli and her team brokered deals with Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. to join The Walt Disney Studios in the initiative. She also led successful negotiations with five major digital retailers — Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and FandangoNow — to participate in the launch of the cloud-based service on nine different platforms.
EVP, Pay-Television, Digital, Canada and International Distribution
Oldre oversees electronic home video licensing and video-on-demand deals for the studio’s films, securing agreements with North American MVPDs, digital and mobile platforms. He also manages international in-home distribution strategy, working in conjunction with the company’s global sales teams. Disney’s compelling slate of in-home titles rose to the top of the digital sales charts under Oldre’s purview last year. He and his team played a pivotal role in the successful U.S. launch of Movies Anywhere, including the recent negotiations with FandangoNow to join the service. Oldre is also responsible for securing digital licensing opportunities for the company’s vast pipeline of television assets. In addition, he manages the Canadian rights to all television and theatrical content produced by the company across multiple broadcasters and platforms.
GM, Movies Anywhere
Gilford oversees all day-to-day operations of Movies Anywhere, the U.S. cloud-based entertainment service that brings the film libraries of five studios together in a virtual one-stop movie-watching shop. Movies Anywhere currently features access to a library of more than 7,300 digital movies, along with fresh previews and film extras. Gilford and her cross-functional team brought the website and apps to market in October and she manages product design, product development, engineering and strategic planning. In the service’s initial three months, consumers streamed more than 3 million hours of content and it was used to store 80 million movies in customer lockers. Gilford is also charged with overseeing all consumer-facing marketing for Movies Anywhere, which includes strategy, branding, creative, media planning and integrated promotions.
SVP and GSM, Pay-Television and Digital Sales
Green negotiates in-home distribution agreements across a wide array of media platforms and businesses, including electronic home video, video-on-demand, pay-television and subscription video-on-demand. She pursues key licensing agreements for the studio’s films with North American MVPDs and digital retailers including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, AT&T, Comcast XFinity, Vudu and Google Play. Green and her team also secure digital licensing opportunities for the company’s television assets, with deals currently in place with iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, and PlayStation, among many others. In addition, Green was heavily involved in the negotiations for Movies Anywhere among its digital retail partners.
VP, International Television and Digital Distribution
Poltorak manages the international in-home business on behalf of The Walt Disney Studios. She works in close conjunction with each sales team in nine regions outside of North America that execute in-home licensing agreements. Poltorak and her team support international in-home distribution for the studio’s slate across multiple platforms including electronic home video license, VOD, SVOD, FTV, pay-TV and physical, and she also leads digital global accounts relationships. Additionally, she strategically advises on international in-home strategies and tactics to maximize the commercial value of the studio’s content.
In 2017, Poltorak expanded her team to include oversight of product development and marketing in the international space.
20th Century Fox
President, Worldwide Home Entertainment
Feldman leads Fox’s global digital and physical transactional businesses, including shaping the distribution footprint and marketing strategy for the division. He oversees an extensive direct distribution organization across 16 offices worldwide, which provides consumer access to Fox feature film and television series content in more than 100 countries. Feldman also oversees Fox’s marketing and distribution strategy for enhanced formats, including 4K Ultra HD and virtual reality. In addition, he drives strategic alignment and business growth for key retail partners, including Amazon, Best Buy, Comcast, DirecTV, Google Play, iTunes, PlayStation, Sky, Target, Walmart /Vudu and Xbox.
EVP and Managing Director, Fox Innovation Lab
Kaye works across all 21st Century Fox film and television divisions, leading the company’s efforts to research, demonstrate and test technologies with consumers throughout the development process in order to bring innovative and premium products to market. In this role, Kaye also collaborates with leading technology companies to advance next-generation technologies, including HDR10+; 5G and mobile content delivery; virtual, augmented and mixed reality content; hardware; machine learning; artificial intelligence; and advanced data analytics. Kaye also leads foundational research, insights and strategies among Fox Home Entertainment’s Blu-ray, Digital and Ultra HD offerings, and he plays a leading role in advancing the industry by developing new consumer-focused, technology-based entertainment platforms.
Chief Technology Officer
Basse directs Fox’s technology strategy and plays an essential role in developing the next generation of entertainment content and distribution platforms. His main goal is to drive innovation for Fox’s products from concept to distribution; prioritizing that innovation will continue to be a driving force for digital growth. Basse recognizes that new technology offerings, and the opportunity to choose, are necessities for consumers, but Fox must ensure that its products have a meaningful impact in the marketplace. Basse’s vision is to leverage technology advancements to ensure Fox continues its legacy of telling great stories in meaningful ways to audiences worldwide.
EVP, Co-Head of Global Marketing, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Howe is responsible for shaping Fox’s marketing and consumer engagement strategies worldwide. She has been instrumental in championing digital behavior and growing Fox’s share of the Digital HD business and driving adoption of new formats, including 4K Ultra HD and VR. With more than 20 years of consumer and brand marketing experience, Howe is focused on keeping ahead of the dynamic changes in the market and continuing to drive transactional home entertainment with forward-thinking products and creative, breakthrough campaigns across the new-release, catalog and TV portfolios. Howe was a key member of the marketing advisory board behind the launch of the Movies Anywhere initiative. She previously served as SVP of brand marketing and was responsible for spearheading the global release of live-action films such as Deadpool and The Martian for Fox’s home entertainment division.
EVP, Co-Head of Global Marketing, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment; EVP, Head of Marketing, FoxNext
Finn works across two distinct business units at 20th Century Fox. As co-head of marketing for home entertainment, he leads marketing communications strategies in the rapidly developing digital and disc transactional businesses. As the head of marketing for FoxNext, he oversees marketing across interactive and immersive experiences and games.
EVP, Digital Global Accounts, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Migliacci leads Fox’s domestic digital and worldwide OTT partnerships, and is focused on developing plans to drive digital growth and advance key strategic initiatives that expand access and improve the digital transactional experience for consumers. Migliacci is also responsible for carefully considering the priorities and assets of partners when developing digital growth strategies to facilitate alignment with their broader goals, while also leveraging their respective platform and ecosystem strengths.
SVP, International Licensing and Distribution, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Davis oversees Fox’s business negotiations with global and international digital platforms for VOD and EST. He and his licensing team seek to ensure broad distribution of Fox’s digital entertainment content. His team focuses on ensuring that platforms offer utility to their customers, including digital ownership, multiple-device viewing, 4K Ultra HD with HDR, and consumer-friendly offers such as bundles and pre-orders. They also seek to guarantee the highest content protection standards. Davis is focused on driving the growth of the digital transactional business via global and local platforms in major markets. He also seeks to distribute Fox’s content via new and innovative digital services to under-served consumers in emerging international markets.
SVP, Business Affairs, Worldwide, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Jackson is responsible for evaluating, structuring and negotiating home entertainment agreements globally, including content licenses, strategic partnerships, and growth initiatives across digital and physical media for Fox’s worldwide home entertainment division. She plays a key role in shaping complex deals related to Fox’s transactional digital business, distribution strategies and new technology development. Jackson also supports strategic opportunities relating to potential acquisitions, partnerships and joint ventures that reinforce the worldwide distribution of content using both traditional and emerging models.
President, Worldwide Home Media Distribution
Buchi is responsible for all aspects of Paramount’s home media division. Having spent more than two decades in the business, as president Buchi consistently works to expand opportunities across all digital platforms worldwide. He has built dedicated international digital sales and marketing teams to maximize revenue for the studio’s content and has been responsible for strategic brand, retail and digital marketing for some of the industry’s most successful franchise releases, including “Transformers,” “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible.”
President, Worldwide Television Licensing
Cohen manages the global licensing and distribution of all Paramount films, television series and other content across multiple platforms including mobile, pay-television, broadcast, cable and SVOD, as well as emerging digital arenas. He leads the television licensing teams in setting strategy and guiding the teams in their negotiations across the global marketplace and finding strategic distribution opportunities. Prior to joining Paramount, Cohen spent 20 years at Disney/ABC, where he most recently served as EVP of pay-television and digital sales for home entertainment and television distribution for The Walt Disney Studios.
EVP, Worldwide Marketing, Home Media Distribution
Marçais oversees the creative advertising, media, interactive marketing, brand and market research for all of the studio’s home entertainment releases across physical and digital platforms. Marçais previously served as EVP of worldwide brand and customer marketing for 20th Century Fox Digital Home Media, where he was instrumental in transforming the division into a digital new media company.
EVP, Marketing Communications, International Theatrical Marketing and Worldwide Home Media Entertainment
West helps drive worldwide marketing initiatives, including digital and publicity campaigns for international territories. She is tasked with developing integrated, consumer-facing communications strategies with a lifecycle approach across platforms. Prior to joining Paramount, West served as VP of global publicity at Disney, where she led innovative campaigns for numerous record-setting releases.
EVP, Worldwide Sales and Distribution
White oversees the global sales and distribution of Paramount Home Media Entertainment’s physical and digital transactional products. He additionally works to expand purchase and rental opportunities through enhanced partnerships, technological advancements and new business development. White previously held senior executive positions at Tronc and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in Australia.
Keith Le Goy
President, Worldwide Distribution, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Having been promoted into this new role in February, Le Goy manages all distribution for the company’s television and home entertainment divisions. He oversees the physical and digital distribution of film, television and other content to all media and retail platforms.
Le Goy previously served as president of distribution for Sony Pictures Television (SPT) before expanding his role to include oversight of home entertainment. Previous to that, Le Goy was president of international distribution beginning in 2008 and was SPT’s EVP of distribution, starting in 2006. He was previously based at SPT’s Latin America headquarters in Miami, where he served as SVP and managing director of Latin America, for three years. He joined SPT in 1999 as SVP of European distribution, based at SPT’s European headquarters in London.
Le Goy joined SPT from The Walt Disney Company, where he was VP of sales for Europe, with oversight for all of Disney’s European television distribution business. Prior to joining the Walt Disney Company, Le Goy worked at The National Magazine Company, the U.K. subsidiary of the Hearst Corp., where he served as director of international sales.
Senior EVP, Worldwide Marketing, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Wong oversees SPHE’s global marketing strategy across the studio’s broad film and television slate, which includes worldwide acquisitions, catalog and new technologies. Wong is highly focused on delivering targeted marketing campaigns to customized audience segments to spur consumer engagement and drive transactions across both digital and physical windows. Wong’s insights-driven marketing strategy provides a strong foundation for product development and continued marketing innovation around new platforms critical for growth in the industry, such as Movies Anywhere, virtual reality, augmented reality and other direct-to-consumer digital offerings.
EVP, Worldwide Digital Distribution and North America Sales, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Spivak oversees worldwide distribution of Sony’s film and television properties across all transactional digital channels. He also manages the group responsible for sales of physical discs in North America, and leads SPHE’s digital strategy and product development groups. In the latter capacity he is responsible for driving SPHE’s development of new digital products and participation in initiatives, such as Movies Anywhere, to enhance the digital consumer experience. Spivak joined SPHE in 2007 as SVP of strategic development. Previously, he spent eight years at MGM Home Entertainment working in both Los Angeles and London leading that studio’s early digital distribution efforts.
SVP, Digital Distribution, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Han manages U.S. digital distribution for the studio’s feature film and television content for SPHE and manages all digital transactional efforts through cable, satellite, and Internet-based EST and VOD platforms. He oversees digital strategy, licensing and business planning. He has been with the studio for more than 12 years, previously in corporate development and SPHE business development.
SVP, Digital Platforms and Services, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Goodridge is responsible for SPHE’s global digital supply chain for transactional licensing (EST/VOD) as well as a suite of platforms and services tied to revenue-generating businesses and consumer-facing programs. Additionally, she is responsible for exploration, evaluation and operationalizing forward-looking products, technologies and offerings for SPHE, including virtual reality, 4K UHD, Movies Anywhere and digital extras.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
Cunningham manages Universal’s global home entertainment operations, helping bridge physical and digital formats by exploring innovative new technologies and developing initiatives for the evolving home entertainment sector around the world. He also oversees UPHE’s original content arms, 1440 Entertainment and UPHE Content Group, as well as all third-party distribution. Cunningham also serves on the board of DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. Prior to his current position, Cunningham was president of Universal Pictures International Entertainment.
EVP, Digital Distribution
A key leader of NBC Universal’s overall TV and film content distribution strategy, Bonner is responsible for the company’s domestic digital distribution of film and TV product across all electronic sellthrough and VOD platforms. He also oversees license negotiations and partner relationships with cable, satellite, telco and digital retailers. He played a lead role in developing and launching the industry’s groundbreaking digital film app Movies Anywhere and also led NBC Universal’s Hulu partnership. He has held several senior roles at NBC Universal during his tenure, including positions in new media and business development for the company’s cable affiliate distribution group.
EVP, Global Marketing
Hoffman handles marketing and business strategy for Universal and its distributed lines worldwide across both physical and digital products. Her responsibilities include defining go-to-market strategies and the overall approach for consumer engagement, including the leveraging of new platforms and technologies to drive profitable growth across all platforms and formats. She has overseen the campaigns for some of Universal’s biggest revenue-generating releases and has been a driving force behind the studio’s transition into new technologies and initiatives, including Movies Anywhere, the industry’s milestone digital film app.
SVP, Film Product Development and Strategy, Digital Distribution
Aaronson oversees all day-to-day aspects of the company’s domestic film and TV products across its EST and VOD businesses, spanning more than 40 retailers. He handles ongoing partner relationships, marketing strategy and media spend, as well as all related product management and innovation. He has also played a vital role in the development and launch of the industry’s pioneering digital movie locker and discovery app, Movies Anywhere. He previously served as VP of digital distribution, where he spearheaded all VOD content programming and monetization across the company’s broadcast and cable network portfolio, as well as the company’s first TV Everywhere offerings.
SVP, Digital Distribution
Iwata oversees business development and distribution for Universal’s domestic digital home entertainment arm. She is responsible for licensing Universal’s film and television content on a transactional basis to cable, satellite, Internet and emerging digital platform partners.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Takac oversees all content licensing, business development, distribution and selling activities for the studio’s film, TV and distributed labels. He is responsible for all global broadband platforms and has domestic purview for cable, satellite, physical and e-commerce retail. Under Takac’s leadership, the studio has consistently outperformed the video category in both physical and digital consumer sales. Takac’s primary focus is setting and executing strategic retail initiatives, developing and deploying team resources, and delivering results on revenue goals. He has been an integral part of important industry initiatives such as 4K, Max Resolution, global expansion and expanding the digital consumer base.
EVP and GM, Film
Schell has global responsibility for all operations related to the digital and physical sales, marketing, distribution, finance and administrative functions of the studio’s home entertainment releases, including new theatrical titles and catalog films. She also identifies and drives new technology marketing and revenue opportunities for home entertainment and leads studio initiatives for new formats of next-generation digital ownership. In addition, Schell oversees the film studio’s creation of transactional ownership opportunities for cinematic virtual-, augmented- and mixed-reality activities, including last year’s successful VR launches of It: Escape from Pennywise, Justice League VR: The Complete Experience and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them VR Experience. Schell has structured her team as a fully integrated digital and physical organization so that as the business continues to shift, the studio can ensure that it is seamlessly focusing resources in the right places and capitalizing on new opportunities.
Matthew D. Mitchell
Mitchell manages U.S. digital distribution for the studio’s feature film and television content and manages all digital transactional efforts through cable, satellite, and Internet-based EST and VOD platforms. He also has responsibility for the U.S. Amazon business across both digital and physical media. Mitchell has been with the studio for 10 years, and was previously responsible for the Amazon, Walmart and club channel businesses.
SVP and General Counsel
Hayes serves as lead counsel for Warner’s portfolio of global home entertainment businesses, including physical and digital video and games products. She has been closely involved in Warner’s recent initiatives, including the UltraViolet and Movies Anywhere shared-entitlement initiatives, the launch of 4K formats, VOD/EST and other digital business models. First joining Warner Home Video in 1998 as counsel, Hayes was promoted to VP of business and legal affairs in 2000. She joined the newly formed Warner Bros. Digital Distribution in 2006, was later promoted to SVP of business and legal affairs and was named deputy general counsel in 2011 when the video, digital and games teams merged together under Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Hayes was then named general counsel for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in July 2015.
SVP, Business Development and Market Strategy
Grey is responsible for global licensing and new business development, which includes licensing EST and VOD movies and TV content, as well as digital originals, Clip, 4K and virtual reality content. In addition, he negotiates industry-shared entitlement and disc-to-digital conversion rights. Grey also develops and drives digital home entertainment strategy across global markets.
President, Worldwide TV and Digital Distribution
As architect of many of the company’s digital initiatives, Packer directs Lionsgate’s strategies for capitalizing on evolving distribution opportunities in a fast-changing global marketplace.
Packer oversees the distribution and licensing of Lionsgate’s slate of more than 40 feature films annually, one of the largest independent television businesses in the world, a 16,000-title film and television library, and a slate of Starz programming to platforms around the world. In addition, he helps spearhead the continued rollout of the company’s suite of subscription video-on-demand platforms featuring branded, targeted content for affinity audiences.
Packer is also co-head of the company’s global home entertainment operations. During his tenure, Lionsgate has become an industry leader in VOD-to-box office and digital-to-box office conversion rates, and the company is a perennial force in releasing top on-demand titles. With the integration of Starz’s Anchor Bay, Lionsgate’s home entertainment operations have become a more than $1 billion-a-year operation with major studio level market share.
President, Home Entertainment
A 26-year veteran of Lionsgate and its predecessor companies, Schwartz heads a $1 billion-plus global operation that consistently ranks among the major studio market share leaders and has earned a reputation for its digital innovation. He is responsible for the domestic and international home entertainment licensing of Lionsgate’s slate of more than 40 feature films annually, one of the largest independent television businesses in the world, a 16,000-title film and television library, and Starz programming.
He crafts Lionsgate’s home entertainment marketing and distribution strategies worldwide with a uniquely integrated focus on both digital and packaged media. In addition to sales and marketing, Schwartz oversees the home entertainment group’s worldwide operations, acquisitions and productions, in addition to acquiring new libraries and extending or renewing existing catalogs. He and his team spearhead new content partnerships with digital platforms and capitalize on other emerging opportunities throughout the worldwide home entertainment marketplace.
Lionsgate is coming off a banner year driven by breakout digital and packaged-media hits including Wonder, the action comedy The Hitman’s Bodyguard, six-time Oscar winner La La Land, and John Wick: Chapter Two, the biggest electronic sellthrough title in the company’s history.
Schwartz is also a key member of the film acquisitions team that, in partnership with sister company Roadside Attractions, acquires titles for Lionsgate’s specialty theatrical business. Recent hits include faith-based hit I Can Only Imagine and last year’s double Oscar winner Manchester by the Sea.
EVP, Worldwide Digital Distribution
Hughes manages sales and distribution for all of Lionsgate’s businesses in the on-demand, digital and non-theatrical arenas, including multichannel video providers and digital retailers. He also oversees business development opportunities surrounding the rapid emergence of digital platforms worldwide, including mobile, as well as other new and emerging technologies.
Hughes has played an instrumental role in Lionsgate’s launch on several new platforms. He also led the negotiation and subsequent launch with Valve’s STEAM platform entry into global VOD and EST. He has negotiated expanded global content licensing deals with digital retailers such as iTunes, Amazon and Xbox as they enter new territories around the world.
Additionally, Hughes shepherded the company’s exploration of new windowing strategies, including day-and-date theatrical and VOD releases. He is a key member of the executive team that has guided Lionsgate to industry leadership in VOD-to-box office and digital-to-box office conversion rates. In addition to his distribution and sales responsibilities, Hughes leads business development efforts for the television and digital division globally.
EVP, Sales and Distribution, Home Entertainment
A 23-year veteran of Lionsgate, Grossman leads the company’s home entertainment sales operations. He steers the evolution of home entertainment distribution across all platforms while managing relationships with all major retailers to maximize revenue.
SVP, Digital Marketing
Kozlowski heads up digital marketing and media for the studio’s home entertainment division. She manages marketing technology platforms, marketing intelligence, data partnerships and emerging distribution windows and channels — in addition to steering the division’s online and offline media buying efforts.
Kozlowski has more than a decade of experience in driving entertainment consumers to action. Before joining Lionsgate, she oversaw grassroots promotions for a non-traditional marketing agency and worked at the nonprofit Film Independent, home of the Independent Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival.
VP, Digital Sales and Distribution
Frank runs the day-to-day sales and affiliate relations team across all digital, MVPD and non-theatrical partners. He also manages the releasing, windowing and pricing strategies for distributed content, including day-and-date theatrical and VOD product, while also monetizing Lionsgate’s 16,000-title library. Frank co-chaired the inaugural Studio Digital Showcase in November 2017, bringing together studio and retail partners for a week of events aimed at growing the EST/TVOD business.
Executive Director, Home Entertainment Digital Marketing
Dickinson spearheads the strategy, planning and execution of Lionsgate Home Entertainment’s paid media efforts, spanning TV, digital, search, social, OTT and MVPD channels. In this role, she leads media and retail marketing for the digital, Blu-ray/DVD, and VOD releases for Lionsgate films and their various distribution partners, including Starz, A24, Roadside, Miramax, Entertainment Studios and others.
Dickinson oversees advertising and digital retail marketing efforts with partners including iTunes, Google, Amazon, Vudu, Comcast, Verizon, DirecTV/AT&T, Spectrum and Dish. And she has been an instrumental part of the team, leading media strategy, during the implementation of Lionsgate’s Data Management Platform.
DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Amy Jo Smith
President and CEO
Smith is the head of the leading trade group for the home entertainment industry representing the interests of the world’s largest media, technology and entertainment companies. She advocates and promotes entertainment platforms, products and distribution channels supporting the movie, television, music, consumer electronics and IT industries. The DEG is tasked with helping find solutions and grow the category amid the disruptive digital marketplace. Currently, the DEG is promoting digital collection of movies — encompassing the creation of digital supply chain standards, as well as 4K Ultra HD and high-resolution audio.
Entertainment Merchants Association
President and CEO
Fisher leads the longstanding industry trade group, utilizing nearly 30 years of retailing experience at the store level, field level and corporate level, and 13 years of experience on the executive team of the organization.
In his time with the EMA, Fisher has been responsible for expanding the scope of the its membership, bringing on new digital members; for identifying and supporting the needs of this evolving membership; and for the association’s overall strategic planning and direction. During his tenure, Fisher has also presided over the creation of new digital conferences and initiatives.
SVP, Public Affairs
Bersell has more than 25 years of experience in trade association and professional society management. He has been with the EMA and its predecessor, the Video Software Dealers Association, since 1999. His responsibilities include government affairs, public relations, member communications, conference programming and strategic initiatives.
VP, Industry Sales
Working with the EMA since 2011, Apple is responsible for membership growth and maintaining relationships with companies involved in digital delivery of content, as well as soliciting sponsorship of EMA events.
During his career, Apple has implemented successful marketing solutions for top entertainment companies, including the Walt Disney Company, NBC Universal Studios, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros.
VP, Industry Leadership
Hanson manages all of the EMA’s supply chain support for digital video, including the association’s initiatives on content availability metadata (avails), media manifests, asset fulfillment, SVOD rights communication and QC nomenclature. In that capacity, he drives industry consensus on digital supply chain best practices that reduce and eliminate friction points, and promotes adoption of them.
Prior to joining the EMA, Hanson was engaged in strategic planning, operations, and process engineering work with Microsoft, Intel and Amazon.
McGurk is responsible for charting Cinedigm’s digital evolution as a leading independent studio. His vision has been integral in cementing Cinedigm’s business operations as a true force in the highly competitive and ever-expanding entertainment market. Drawing on his vast studio experience, he pioneered Cinedigm’s historic reciprocal distribution partnership with China, making it the first China/U.S. independent studio providing content and digital-first channels and services to the world’s fastest-growing business segment in both countries. Under McGurk’s leadership, Cinedigm has emerged as a leading independent entertainment studio, releasing independent films, managing an extensive library of diverse titles across all major platforms and becoming the leading independent multichannel distributor in North America and China.
President, Cinedigm Entertainment Group
Sondheim became president of CEG in 2013, following the company’s acquisition of Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment. In this role, Sondheim oversees the production of Cinedigm’s roster of digital-first channels and works closely with CEO Chris McGurk to produce films and digital-first channels, as well as exclusive content for China. Prior to joining the company, Sondheim led several independent studios. His expertise was integral in establishing Cinedigm’s strategic relationships with senior executives at Netflix and Amazon, as the platforms prepared to launch their digital-first services. Additionally, his 20-plus years of experience working with Christian content producers was the driving force in developing the Dove Channel, Cinedigm’s fast-growing values-based digital first network.
EVP, Acquisitions, Digital Sales and Studio Relations
Macías is responsible for sourcing, evaluating, negotiating, renewing and acquiring content rights from independent producers and studios for all distribution platforms. She oversees digital and television distribution across all platforms and for all consumption models.
EVP, Digital Networks
Opeka directly oversees the distribution and growth of the company’s digital-first channels, focusing on user experience, infrastructure design and operational execution. He has spearheaded the launch of the network’s digital-first channels, from the faith-based Dove Channel to the fandom-centered CONtv, eSports outlet the WHAM Network and the documentary-dedicated network Docurama. He is currently launching Cinedigm’s upcoming 24/7 martial arts channel, COMBAT GO, as well as the company’s roster of affinity channels that are planned for a future launch.
Walker is responsible for the marketing and branding of Cinedigm’s growing lineup of digital-first channels, devising the look and feel as well as campaigns specific to each network’s unique subjects and demographics. Additionally, she played a vital role in the company’s distribution deal with the leading live video streaming service Twitch, furthering Cinedigm’s commitment to reshaping the traditional television experience by bringing three of the company’s digital-first networks — COMBAT GO, CONtv and the WHAM Network — to the popular platform.
EVP, Worldwide Digital Distribution and Home Entertainment
In addition to overseeing the global home entertainment business, Chang is responsible for HBO’s digital distribution on platforms such as Apple, Amazon, Google, Sony Vue and others. Since joining HBO in 2000, Chang has held numerous executive positions, including marketing, consumer products licensing and program planning. She is on the board of the Time Warner Foundation, serves as CFO on the board of DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, and is a member of the University of Pennsylvania’s Professional Women’s Alliance.
SVP, Product Management and Partner Marketing, Worldwide Digital Distribution and Home Entertainment
Haynes, who joined HBO in 2007, is responsible for developing distribution and marketing strategies to maximize revenue and profitability for HBO’s home entertainment business worldwide and for HBO’s digital subscription business domestically.
SVP, Account Management, Worldwide Digital Distribution and Home Entertainment
Lucas, who joined HBO in 2014, manages partner relationships for HBO’s digital subscription and home entertainment businesses by developing specific programs that drive revenue and engagement. HBO’s partners include Amazon, Apple, Google, Walmart and many others. Lucas has more than 15 years of industry experience in digital and physical sales.
SVP, Worldwide Digital Distribution and Home Entertainment
Kilkelly, who joined HBO in 2005, oversees production and operations for HBO’s physical and digital transactional product, DVD, Blu-ray, electronic sellthrough and TVOD. He also handles partner integration efforts supporting subscription-based digital products. He is an active member on the DEG’s Technology & Supply Chain Operations Committee and leads HBO efforts to shape and adopt industrywide digital supply chain standards.
Downing co-leads PBS Distribution, a leading distributor of public media, reaching audiences all over the world, through OTT branded channels, TVOD, SVOD and VOD, as well as via theatrical and international licensing, inflight entertainment, and DVD and Blu-ray sales. In addition to managing a diversified distribution business, she has recently led the launch of two branded OTT channels, PBS Masterpiece and PBS KIDS, on Amazon Channels.
VP, Digital Distribution
Suydam, who joined PBS in 2005, has led the company’s digital business since the early days of digital distribution. Today he oversees PBS Distribution’s content licensing negotiations with leading TVOD and SVOD services worldwide. Suydam also manages the company’s emerging OTT initiatives, including PBS-branded subscription services on Amazon Channels and other OTT platforms.
President, U.S. distribution
Pears oversees all areas of North American distribution for RLJ Entertainment. For every RLJ brand (Acorn TV, UMC and RLJE Films) he works to expand the availability and reach of content, services and channels. He taps his extensive network of digital contacts and partnerships to expand reach and availability via MVPDs and digital platform partners, solidifying the company’s status as one of the premiere providers of day-and-date/premium VOD feature films in North America. Since joining RLJ, Mike has doubled digital wholesale revenue.
Founder and CEO
Mallon leads a global digital distribution company established in 2015 that supplies programs to more than 70 countries around the world, including popular classic TV series such as “That Girl,” “The Best of the Carol Burnett Show” and “Robin of Sherwood,” as well as numerous indie films. Mallon has held senior management positions at Rhino Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Image Entertainment, where in 2005 he was a key player in the launch of one of the industry’s first digital content companies, Egami Media. At Egami, he assisted in building relationships with accounts including iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and Google. In 2007, Mallon helped create the Entertainment Merchants Association’s digital council and is currently the chair of the steering committee for Digital EMA.
Head, Amazon Studios
Hired away from NBC Universal in February, Salke is responsible for all aspects of television and film development, as well as production for Amazon’s entertainment division. This includes implementing an overall long-term content strategy for both units along with overseeing the short-term goals of launching upcoming series and films along with ongoing support of current series. Additionally, Salke will be responsible for executing high profile projects such as “Lord of the Rings,” “The Culture” and “Cortes” from Steven Spielberg and starring Javier Bardem.
VP, Worldwide TV Licensing and International Originals
Beale joined Amazon in 2011 and is currently responsible for licensing television on a worldwide basis. Before joining Amazon, Beale served as VP of business development for Peel Technologies, a Silicon Valley startup focusing on mobile applications for content discovery and device control.
VP, Worldwide Motion Pictures
Ropell oversees all development, production, distribution and marketing of Amazon Studios original films, as well as all acquisitions and licensing of films for Prime Video platforms worldwide. Under Ropell, Amazon in 2016 released 15 films and received seven Oscar nominations, winning three for Manchester by the Sea (Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay) and The Salesman (Best Foreign-Language Film). In 2017, Amazon released 13 titles, including critically acclaimed Sundance acquisition The Big Sick. In 2018, Ropell is overseeing a slate of 12 movies, including Life Itself.
VP, Worldwide, Amazon Video
Hart is focused on evolving Amazon’s streaming and transactional strategy. He is responsible for Amazon’s global streaming video business, leading the global product, design, technology, operations, marketing and distribution of Prime Video, transactional video-on-demand, Prime Channels and Prime Video Direct.
Director of Prime Video Channels, U.S.
Launched in 2015, Prime Channels is an OTT platform that provides Prime members direct access to third-party streaming platforms, including HBO Now, Showtime OTT and Starz. Au previously led the worldwide business development team for Kindle-supporting devices and the Kindle reading app and was on the corporate strategic business development team focused on digital media.
SVP, Internet Software and Services
Cue is rapidly expanding Apple’s forays into original programming. Last summer, Cue hired Sony Pictures Television executives Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg — 15-year veterans behind programs such as “Breaking Bad,” spinoff “Better Call Saul,” “The Crown,” “Damages,” “The Blacklist,” “Sneaky Pete” and “Rescue Me,” among others. He has also greenlighted more than 12 productions, including deals with Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, Steven Spielberg, Damien Chazelle, M. Night Shyamalan, Kristen Wiig and Octavia Spencer.
Paull joined BAMtech in March after six years at Amazon, where he was VP of digital video. Paull joins BAMtech as corporate parent Disney launches standalone over-the-top service ESPN+.
At Amazon, Paull supervised Amazon Channels, and was responsible for global content, product, technology, operations and marketing. He also oversaw Prime Video and Amazon’s TVOD business, Amazon Video in the United States and the development of Prime Music.
Content and Product Strategy
Grossman oversees original content for CBS Digital Entertainment, including original series for the CBS All Access subscription service. He works with CBS Television to support and extend CBS shows across platforms. This includes exclusive video and ancillary features for digital distribution.
Prior to joining CBS Interactive, Grossman was VP of enterprise partnerships for NBC Universal, where he developed custom creative solutions for advertisers across the NBC Universal television and interactive portfolio.
EVP and GM, CBS Entertainment Digital
Gelick is responsible for developing cohesive CBS Interactive Entertainment experiences across multiple platforms — the web, mobile, connected devices, social, video and gaming — including CBS.com, the CBS App and CBS All Access.
Gelick’s team also spearheads development and production of original digital content to support the CBS Television Network’s slate of shows. This includes managing and producing original editorial and video for more than 40 shows’ branded pages on CBS.com as well as social accounts.
VP, Video Entertainment Services
Spinosa this year helped Comcast Cable re-launch the “Xfinity Watchathon Week,” affording subscribers binge-viewing access to thousands of hours of content — including OTT. Spinosa is also responsible for developing the rental, subscription and transactional content available on all Xfinity TV platforms. He led the launch of the Xfinity Digital Store in 2014, the first pay-TV digital sales platform for new-release movies.
SVP, Content Acquisition
Kurath leads the execution of new media and digital content licensing deals. He is one of the lead negotiators of the key programming agreements and oversees content acquisition for Comcast’s various consumer services and platforms, including Xfinity On Demand, TV Everywhere, the Xfinity Digital Store, and other emerging platforms such as Watchable. Under his leadership, Kurath’s team has executed agreements with a broad array of content providers, including the Hollywood studios, cable and broadcast network groups, and emerging digital-first players.
Chief Business Development Officer
Schwartz has served in a number of innovation roles focused on delivering interactive products, building innovation teams, partnering with leading-edge companies, and overseeing Comcast’s venture capital and Internet investments and acquisitions. He has frequently represented Comcast in the press and at conferences to discuss the evolution of business models in a multiscreen digital world, technology and content distribution. He oversees Comcast Cable’s strategic development group in sourcing, building and developing strong partnerships and businesses.
EVP and Chief Digital Officer, Sony Pictures Television Networks, and GM, Crackle
Berger helps meld a mix of business models and products, including AVOD, SVOD, TV Everywhere, video games, virtual reality, alternate reality, and voice applications to guide SPTN’s 100-plus linear international channels to on-demand, direct-to-consumer streaming services and increasing portfolio of commercial digital initiatives.
Berger also serves as GM of Crackle, overseeing operations, marketing, technology, and product launches for the ad-supported streaming network, and directs the ad sales initiatives for PlayStation and PlayStation Vue.
SVP, Global Ad Strategy and Operations, Digital Networks, Sony Pictures Entertainment/Crackle
Santaella is responsible for leading global advertising monetization strategy and operations for Sony’s connected services and devices in and out of the home. In this role, Santaella leads Sony Pictures Television Digital Networks’ global programmatic ad platform and audience measurement initiatives; and works closely with business groups and regions across Sony to grow ad revenue. He additionally supports the Sony Pictures Television digital networks direct sales team for Crackle and PlayStation advertising by overseeing ad solutions, ad operations, yield management and sales marketing in the U.S. market.
VP, Programming and Acquisitions
Agbe-Davies oversees program planning, current series, licensing partnerships, and content performance analytics. Having grown and engaged audiences for both startups and established media conglomerates, Agbe-Davies’ expertise now sits squarely at the intersection of video, technology and business.
SVP, head of marketing and communications
Rockmore heads up marketing and communications for the nation’s leading digital network for all things movies.
A veteran broadcast and digital media marketer, Rockmore is responsible for Fandango’s brand positioning, programming and membership strategies, serving consumers throughout the entire movie lifecycle. Rockmore oversees advertising, promotions, direct-to-consumer, communications, and social media marketing for all of the company’s brands, including the recently acquired MovieTickets.com, Flixster, Rotten Tomatoes, on-demand video service FandangoNow, and online fan merchandise marketplace, Fandango FanShop.
With a background almost exclusively in entertainment and digital content marketing, Douglas is responsible for creating and developing key relationships with Fandango’s studio content licensors. He brings 20 years of experience strategizing and monetizing content from his work with leading companies in entertainment such as DreamWorks, Paramount, Fox and Disney.
Director of Marketing, FandangoNow
Song leads efforts that accelerate new growth and customer retention for Fandango’s premium video-on-demand service through digital marketing, advertising and partnerships. Prior to joining the company, she held several brand marketing roles at Universal Studios Home Entertainment, as well as marketing and finance roles at Fox Television and Sony Pictures.
A financial backer of FlixFling since 2009, Heffler has taken a more active role helping expand the digital platform internationally. During the past 12 months, Heffler handled new distribution deals, while exploring strategic initiatives that included white label partnerships, and mergers and acquisitions.
Head of North American Entertainment, News and Sports Partnerships, YouTube; Head of Worldwide Movie and TV Partnerships, Google
Zepp oversees entertainment, sports, news, enterprise and multicultural content partnerships for YouTube in North America, and the Google Play movie and TV content partnerships team globally. Zepp and his teams are focused on growing Google’s transactional EST/VOD digital video service available on Google Play and YouTube, and are responsible for business relationships with more than 600 partners.
Since 2011, Zepp has established and driven complex video partnerships relating to key Google products. This includes expanding Google Play’s presence to more than 100 countries, launching YouTube Red in the U.S. in 2015, and partnering with Disney Movies Anywhere (now Movies Anywhere) to enable Google Play to be the first service to offer interoperability with Apple iTunes.
Zepp is also vice-chairman of the board of directors of the Entertainment Merchants Association.
VP, Digital Content
Rosenberg leads a cross-functional team that includes product development, engineering, content merchandising, business partnerships and operations for Google Play, Google’s digital content store offering apps, games, music, movies, books and more. Prior to Google, Jamie was VP of premium services for Danger Inc.
Partner Product Manager, TV/Film
Kotzman spearheads development and adoption of standards, specifications and best practices for the digital video supply chain, creating efficiencies that reduce costs and speed content availability for consumers. He has been a key driver in the adoption of the Entertainment Merchants Association’s avails standard for content availability metadata, which has been widely embraced by content providers and retailers.
Prior to taking the helm at streaming service Hulu in October 2017, Freer served as COO of Fox Networks Group, where he oversaw revenue, distribution, operations, business development and strategy for all aspects of the Fox Television Group, FX, Fox Sports and National Geographic Partners. Additionally, he was responsible for rights acquisitions and team and league relationships on behalf of Fox Sports.
Chief Content Officer
Stillerman is responsible for driving the overall content strategy for the company, and oversees Hulu’s content acquisitions, originals development and content partner management teams. He works closely with Hulu senior leadership across marketing, distribution, advertising sales, technology and product, and plays a key role in delivering the strategic vision for the company’s content set, overseeing the growth of Hulu’s content partnerships, the expansion of the Hulu Originals slate, and the use of the company’s viewer consumption data and other analytics to ensure that the right mix of TV and film content is available to viewers.
Chief Marketing Officer
Campbell leads Hulu’s overall marketing across the SVOD and Hulu Live TV businesses, and drives the strategic vision and voice behind the Hulu brand. Campbell leads a team of marketers who are responsible for creating and executing initiatives across Hulu’s brand, creative, performance and content marketing, as well as entertainment publicity and consumer research. Campbell also works closely with the company’s technology, distribution, content and product leaders to ensure that Hulu’s consumer proposition and brand is reflected in every aspect of the Hulu experience.
SVP, Head of Distribution and Partnerships
Connolly is responsible for driving subscriber and audience growth by working with partners. His team manages relationships with device manufacturers like Apple, Roku and Google, multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) like Cablevision, and other industry players, including American Express. Most recently, Connolly managed digital distribution and new product development for the Disney and ESPN TV networks. Prior to Disney and ESPN, Connolly served in various product management and business development roles at Ericsson, working on mobile applications, networks, and professional services.
Erwich spearheads Hulu’s content license deals, including originals and acquisitions. He greenlighted a slate of Hulu Originals, including “The Handmaid’s Tale,” winner of eight Emmy Awards, “11.22.63,”“The Path” and “Casual,” the latter earning Hulu’s first Golden Globe nomination. Erwich helped Hulu acquire SVOD rights to “Seinfeld,” “Empire,” “Blindspot,” “Fargo,”“Broad City” and “UnReal,” and signed content deals with TV brands, including AMC, FX and Turner.
Group Manager, Movies & TV Service
Larrinaga supervises Microsoft’s movies and TV program digital sales and transactional VOD service, from ingestion and processing to delivery. He manages a team of program managers, software engineers, service software engineers and business operations personnel. After exploring various ventures, including his own startup, VideoActiva, Larrinaga joined Microsoft media services in 2013.
Co-Founder and CEO
Since co-founding Netflix, Hastings has helped transform a by-mail disc rental service into a pioneering/global subscription streaming video behemoth with a $135 million market capitalization. Hastings is as much social media spokesperson as business leader. As a member of Facebook’s board, Hastings said the social media platform’s recent data breach scandal underscores the Internet’s ongoing learning curve. “I think of it as all new technologies have pros and cons. And in social [media], we’re just figuring that out,” Hastings told an April 14 TED confab in Vancouver.
Chief Content Officer
Sarandos oversees an $8 billion content war chest in 2018 and helped greenlight about 80 original movies, including Will Smith’s Bright, the Jane Fonda/Robert Redford starrer Our Souls at Night, Angelina Jolie’s First They Killed My Father, and drama/mystery Mute, starring Alexander Skarsgård, Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux. Sarandos also continues to push industry norms, including at the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, which Netflix is skipping because French law mandates a minimum 36-month theatrical window for feature films released in the country. Sarandos contends movies should be released simultaneously across all distribution channels.
Chief Product Officer
Peters leads the product team, which designs, builds and optimizes the Netflix experience. Previously, Peters was international development officer for Netflix, responsible for global partnerships with consumer electronics companies, Internet service providers and multichannel video programming distributors that enable Netflix to deliver movies and TV shows across a full range of devices and platforms.
Smith leads the groundbreaking disc kiosk company that most recently made its second foray into digital delivery. After an aborted attempt at digital delivery streaming via a joint venture with Verizon, Redbox under Smith’s leadership in December 2017 launched Redbox On Demand, a transactional digital business with more than 6,000 movie and TV show titles available for rental or purchase.
Chief Marketing and Chief Customer Experience Officer
Eldifrawi joined the company in February 2017. Prior to joining Redbox, he served as chief commercial officer at Gogo, a global provider of inflight Internet service. Before joining Gogo in 2010, Eldifrawi was chief marketing officer at Hayneedle, an online retailer of home and leisure products. Earlier in his career, he served as a senior director of brand advertising at Google, where he was responsible for all CPM-based revenue. He also spent time as a managing director at Wrigley, and in management consulting at McKinsey & Company.
Chief Technology Officer
Lavin oversees all technology innovations and transformations developments, including the Redbox On Demand execution. Prior to joining Redbox, Levin led all technology initiatives at Outerwall Inc., the former parent company of Redbox, Coinstar and ecoATM. Lavin was responsible for innovation strategies for all infrastructure and operations, technology R&D, business process engineering strategies, and technology execution for new adjacencies and new ventures as a shared service across the enterprise. Lavin has also held various technology leadership positions at RedSky Technologies, Abbott Laboratories and Arthur Andersen.
Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer
Brought on board in October 2017, Kwong previously headed up content acquisitions for Fullscreen’s subscription VOD service. He was also VP of content and applications at Sonifi Solutions, which serves approximately 1.4 million hotel rooms worldwide in addition to healthcare facilities throughout the United States with interactive television, broadband connectivity and advertising. Kwong also worked at Netflix as director of content acquisition focusing on U.S. film deals. He has also held roles at Helio, Virgin Mobile and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution.
Director of Brand and Product Marketing
Gray has led multiple, large-scale brand and marketing initiatives since joining Redbox, including the most recent Redbox On Demand launch. Prior to Redbox, she focused on ad sales and partnership marketing at the National Geographic Channels.
Director, Product Management
Bike is responsible for product oversight at Redbox On Demand. Prior to joining Redbox, Lowell spent six years at Gogo, where he held various leadership positions focused on the company’s Inflight Entertainment solution. He held similar positions over five years at Carfax.
Founder, Chairman and CEO
Wood founded Roku in 2002. Roku, which means “six” in Japanese, is the sixth company started by Wood, a pioneer and innovator in TV and digital media. In the early days of Roku, he was the VP of Internet TV at Netflix, where he developed the company’s TV distribution licensing strategy and the first-ever streaming player — today known as the Roku player — to deliver Netflix to the TV using the Internet. Prior to establishing Roku, Wood invented the digital video recorder (DVR) and founded ReplayTV, where he served as CEO before the company’s acquisition and subsequent sale to DirecTV. Before ReplayTV, Anthony founded and served as CEO of iBand, an Internet software company which was acquired by Macromedia. The code base developed by Wood at iBand became a central part of the original core code of Macromedia, which was acquired by Adobe and is today known as Adobe Dreamweaver.
Chief Marketing Officer
Anderson is responsible for global marketing and communications. Prior to that, Anderson was a strategic advisor to the company, focusing on corporate strategy and development, including capital raising and supporting marketing and communications. Previously, Matthew was group director of strategy and corporate affairs for Europe and Asia, at News Corp.
GM of Platform Business
Rosenberg oversees advertising, content and services. Before joining Roku, Rosenberg co-founded and served as CEO of Umami Co., a companion TV mobile application company. Prior to that, Scott served as VP of advanced advertising at Rovi Corp., where he led advertising sales.
GM of Roku TV and Players
Smith oversees Roku’s growth of active accounts and the company’s retail sales and licensing efforts around the “whole home network.” Prior to joining Roku, Smith ran his own digital media business consulting company. He also previously held executive positions at Avid Technology and Digidesign.
EVP and Group President
Schlichting oversees all aspects of the Sling TV business, including strategy and performance. He also oversees the acquisition and renewal of all programming content for Dish TV and Sling TV, and advertising sales for both groups.
Head of Marketing
Sugarman leads overall marketing strategy for Sling TV, including brand, creative, digital, social media and retention. She oversaw the development and execution of Sling TV’s most recent marketing campaign, “We Are Slingers,” described as a cheeky spin on a video-consuming lifestyle.
VP, Content Acquisition and Strategy
Bishnoi is responsible for the overall content and distribution strategies of Sling TV, including licensing of programming and strategic partnerships. Bishnoi’s role includes determining Sling TV’s unique offer structure, which promotes genre-based, a la carte-like packaging, as well as leading teams for both English- and Spanish-language OTT services.
VP, Product Marketing and Management
Chaudhari oversees the day-to-day development and performance of Sling TV apps. He is responsible for program strategy, roadmaps and user experience across the various platforms that Sling TV supports.
VP, International Business
Slowikowska oversees international programming and marketing for both Dish and Sling TV, where she secures multi-platform distribution rights and manages strategic development initiatives for the brands’ international offerings. From a marketing perspective, Slowikowska leads efforts for both international brands, including recent grassroots efforts in specific communities that best support and utilize local and international retailers.
Seth Van Sickel
Director of Operations
Van Sickel leads operations at Sling TV, guiding his team to create innovative partnerships, technologies and operations practices for the company. He is responsible for managing teams that focus on Sling TV’s customer experience, command center, operational analytics, device partner operations, user acceptance testing, programming partner operations, payments, risk mitigation, project management office and release management.
SVP, Global Chief Media and Content Officer
Angiolet is responsible for building, scaling and driving the growth of Verizon’s traditional and emerging global video product and digital media portfolio. He oversees company-wide strategy, planning, new business development/M&A, as well as licensing and acquisitions for video and content initiatives.
GM, OTT Entertainment, Oath
Kirkbride is responsible for overall management and growth of the OTT video product portfolio. She launched go90 Networks, which houses 1,400 hours of original programming and 25,000 hours of live sports and television, and has spearheaded a focus on premium content, which culminated in an Oscar win (Best Animated Short) for Dear Basketball — a first for an ad-supported digital platform and retired NBA superstar/screenplay author Kobe Bryant.
VP, GM, Vudu and Video Games and Media
Verba is instrumental in expanding Vudu’s reach, media properties and digital platforms for corporate parent Walmart. This year, Verba has been instrumental in melding Vudu with Movies Anywhere, the industry-backed, cloud-based digital retail locker. Under his leadership, Vudu has seen unprecedented growth and new partnerships.
VP, Product Management and Design
Blanksteen is responsible for bringing new services to market, including advanced streaming options such as disc-to-digital, 4K Ultra HD, new audio and video compatibilities, and expanded mobile initiatives.
(Profiles by Stephanie Prange and Erik Gruenwedel)