Xperi Appoints Keith Jones CFO of Adeia IP Business

Xperi Holding Corp., corporate owner of TiVo, has appointed Keith Jones CFO of Adeia, its intellectual property business.

Jones will join the company Aug. 8 and will become CFO of Adeia effective upon the separation of the company’s IP and product businesses later this fall.

Jones joins Adeia from Rambus, a technology company that develops and licenses chip interface technologies, where he served in several key finance roles since 2018, and most recently as Interim CFO.

“Keith is a proven leader and a great addition to the executive team at Adeia” said Paul Davis, president of Adeia, in a statement. “As Adeia becomes a separate publicly traded company, Keith’s expertise in the IP licensing businesses and his public company experience are the perfect strategic fit for our organization.” 

“As Adeia nears separation, I am honored to lead as CFO and am particularly excited to work with the talented team at Adeia to continue to drive its IP leadership position in the market,” Jones said in a statement.

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Jones joined Rambus in 2018 and served as the chief accounting officer, corporate controller and VP of finance before becoming interim CFO. Prior to joining Rambus, he served as the worldwide corporate controller, VP of finance and the principal accounting officer at ShoreTel before its acquisition by Mitel Networks Corp. Before that, he served as the CFO and VP of finance at PDF Solutions. Jones has also held senior leadership roles at other technology companies, including Interwoven and e-Time Capital. He began his career at Deloitte.

Departing STX Entertainment Chairman Adam Fogelson Named Vice Chair of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group

Lionsgate July 25 named Adam Fogelson vice chair of its motion picture group, beginning Sept. 1. Fogelson, who will report to Joe Drake, chair of the motion picture group, will oversee worldwide marketing and theatrical distribution and will be part of the unit’s leadership team involved in all aspects of planning and executing content strategy.
Fogelson is transitioning from his tenure as chairman of STX Entertainment’s motion picture group, where during the past eight years he oversaw such hits as Hustlers, Greenland, the “Bad Moms” franchise, The Upside, The Gift, Molly’s Game and The Gentlemen, among many others. Prior to joining STX, he was chairman of Universal Pictures.
“As we launch new installments of the ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Dirty Dancing,’ and ‘John Wick’ franchises, as well as new IP, franchises and properties, we are looking forward to having his skills, experience and respected leadership,” Drake said in a statement. “His longstanding relationships with the industry’s most creative collaborators will prove invaluable as we focus on our upcoming slate.”
Lionsgate’s upcoming slate of films includes Prey for the Devil, in theaters Oct. 28; Jesus Revolution, in theaters Feb. 24, 2023; John Wick: Chapter 4, in theaters March 24, 2023; Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, in theaters April 28, 2023; and The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, in theaters Nov. 17, 2023.
Prior to his STX tenure, Fogelson served as chairman of Universal Pictures from 2009 through October 2013. While at the company, he oversaw worldwide operations for the motion picture group, including its global theatrical, home entertainment, partnerships & licensing, finance, human resources and communications divisions.
In 2012 and again in 2013, under Fogelson’s leadership, Universal celebrated its highest-grossing years at the worldwide box office in the company’s 100+ year history at that time. During his tenure as chairman, Universal released numerous hit films including Ted, Bridesmaids, Contraband, Safe House, The Lorax, Snow White and the Huntsman, Identity Thief, Pitch Perfect, Mama, The Purge, Les Misérables. Despicable Me 1 and 2, and Fast and Furious 5 and 6. Other greenlit films while Fogelson was Chairman include Jurassic World, Lone Survivor, Ride Along, Non-Stop, Neighbors, The Purge 2, Fifty Shades of Grey and Lucy.
Fogelson joined Universal in 1998, beginning as VP of creative advertising and rising to president of marketing and distribution in 2007. During his time in Universal’s marketing operations, Fogelson worked on all the films in the “Meet the Parents,” “Bourne,” “American Pie” and “The Fast and the Furious” franchises, along with other box office successes including Mamma Mia!, American Gangster, Knocked Up, Bruce Almighty, Seabiscuit, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, 8 Mile, The Break-Up, Erin Brockovich, Notting Hill, Bring It On and Ray.

Blu Digital Group’s Paulette Pantoja to Be Honored With DEG’s Hedy Lamarr Award

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group will present Paulette Pantoja, founder and CEO at Blu Digital Group, with the 2022 Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology.

In its sixth year, the Hedy Lamarr Award recognizes female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry. The 2022 awards will be presented during an in-person event in Los Angeles in the fall. 

Paulette Pantoja

Pantoja founded Blu Digital Group in 2007 with a focus on quality control for film and TV content distributed on physical media. Her focus on proprietary workflows and her patented applications have since grown the company into a go-to solution for content owners and platforms of all sizes that need to deliver streaming content at highest quality and with best user experience, according to the DEG. Blu Digital Group’s cloud-based automation software for content distribution has demonstrated real innovation, and Pantoja’s expansion of the localization division within Blu in 2021 further broadened the company’s ability to deliver international content to audiences around the world, according to the DEG.

After working at Ascent Media and Panasonic Hollywood Labs, Pantoja set up Blu Digital as the first dedicated Blu-ray Disc testing facility. In 2015, she evolved the business to provide content services for the digital media supply chain, leveraging Blu’s cloud-based automation software for content distribution to broadcasters and OTT platforms. In 2017, Blu began licensing its software to give clients control and visibility of their content preparation and distribution workflows. The company now also provides localization services and ad-insertion technology. Since its founding, Blu Digital Group has reached more than 300 million viewers, provided media services for more than 25 film and TV titles recognized by the Academy Awards and Emmy Awards, and has serviced 3 million content hours. In 2021, Blu was recognized as one of the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the United States, and Pantoja this year is an Ernst & Young Greater Los Angeles Entrepreneur of The Year 2022 finalist.

The 2022 Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology, honoring a female college student whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise, will be presented at the same time to Danielle Takahashi, an undergraduate student at the University of Southern California who is majoring in Media Arts and Practice in the School of Cinematic Arts. She will receive a financial award to continue her education.

“It is my honor and pleasure to recognize Paulette Pantoja, who is well known to many in the DEG community, with this year’s Innovation Award. Throughout her career, Paulette has focused on proprietary workflows and her patented applications help streamline key operational aspects for entertainment companies. By extension, consumers benefit every day from Paulette’s innovations,” Amy Jo Smith, DEG president and CEO, said in a statement. “It is also an immense pleasure to present the Achievement Award to Danielle Takahashi to support her use of her artistic skills for empowerment, social justice, and fostering empathy through storytelling. The 2022 Hedy Award winners are remarkable women in their field who clearly share Hedy’s passion for innovation.”

“I am so excited to accept the Hedy Lamarr Innovation Award from DEG,” Pantoja said in a statement. “I strive to build a culture of innovation and inclusion at Blu Digital, and DEG is helping to do that on an industry level with these awards recognizing women, who have traditionally been underrepresented in media technology. The pace of technology is always evolving, and I am honored to accept this recognition of Blu’s dedication to developing better and more efficient media management workflows.”

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Austrian American actor Lamarr was a Hollywood legend who is best known for her roles in film classics including Samson and Delilah, The Strange Woman and Tortilla Flat. She was also a lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering “frequency hopping,” which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology. Conceived by Lamarr and composer George Antheil for radio guidance systems and patented in 1942, this highly secure technology resists interference and dropout, and is used today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications. To honor Lamarr, the Innovation Award seeks to recognize and commemorate female industry leaders who have made a similar impact in the field of entertainment technology. Past honorees include Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Nonny de la Peña, CEO of Emblematic Group; Dean Willow Bay of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS Kids Digital; and Poppy Crum, former chief scientist at Dolby Laboratories.

To determine the award winners, DEG enlisted industry leaders including members of its Canon Club Advisory Board, which comprises a cross-section of senior executives representing the entertainment, technology, IT and consumer electronics industries. Among other factors, the judging panel based its decisions on the candidates’ embodiment of the following principles: innovation, engagement and excellence.

Gravitas Ventures Appoints Chris Horton Senior Director of Business Development

Gravitas Ventures, an Anthem Sports and Entertainment company, has appointed film veteran Chris Horton senior director of business development.

Horton reports to Gravitas president Michael Murphy.

In his newly-created role, Horton will be responsible for developing original IP to further bolster the content libraries of Gravitas and Anthem properties — driving the media companies’ mission to create and distribute content across multiple platforms. The new IP will be produced for AVOD and FAST channel platforms, complementing the company’s already-existing roster of FAST channels that includes AXS TV Now, IMPACT! Wrestling, Gravitas Movies, Gravitas Documentaries, Gravitas Adrenaline, Fight Network, Unexplained and Inside Sportfishing.

Horton has more than 20 years of experience across every facet of the independent film landscape — ranging from financing and production to sales and distribution. Before joining Gravitas, he spent nine years with the Sundance Institute, where he founded and led the Creative Distribution Initiative. While there, Horton also spearheaded the marketing and distribution efforts for more than 200 films, including Columbus, Unrest and Thunder Road. Prior to joining Sundance, Horton served as the head of acquisitions for independent distributor FilmBuff, where he acquired more than 300 films. He spent his early career working with John Sloss’ Cinetic Media.

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“It’s thrilling to be working with Nolan, Michael, and the rest of the Gravitas team,” Horton said in a statement. “I’ve known and admired them for years, and am excited to implement and drive new content strategies to help the company grow.” 

“As we continue to produce new FAST channels in a dynamic global environment, adding senior talent with strong experience as entertainment executives with a solid foundational understanding of how to connect the dots becomes more and more crucial,” Murphy said in a statement. “If you know Gravitas, you know Chris was cut from a similar cloth, making him the perfect complement to our team. It’s great to have an immediate shorthand with a new teammate and it’s been fun to watch Chris triangulate on viable commercial opportunities right out of the gate. We could not be more excited to have him onboard.”

Parrot Analytics Names Two New Partnership Execs

Entertainment research firm Parrot Analytics has added Laurine Garaude as partnerships director for EMEA and Grant Cover as partnerships director for North America.

Garaude is the former head of the MIP Markets for what is now RX France (previously Reed MIDEM). In her new position, she will help entertainment companies inform their strategic content decisions through demand-driven solutions. She will work with executive teams across strategy, finance, research, programming, distribution and marketing functions to add value and drive industry growth.

Cover spent 15 years at Gracenote and Nielsen, where he most recently served as SVP of client solutions, leading the client business relationships with CBS and Paramount+. In his new position, he will help entertainment companies solve their most critical business questions, from content investments and valuation to programming, distribution and D2C growth, by leveraging Parrot Analytics’ unique data products and strategic insights.

“Parrot Analytics’ attention economy metrics quantify how content resonates with billions of audiences globally,” Wared Seger, CEO of Parrot Analytics, said in a statement. “Our client base around the world continues to expand and we are seeing growing demand for our data and insights from the industry. This is an exciting growth period for our company and we are thrilled to have Laurine and Grant join our team. Their wealth of experience and knowledge will be invaluable as we continue to scale our business. With Laurine and Grant on board, we will continue to innovate and provide the most comprehensive and complete view on the global business of entertainment to our client partners.”

Before joining Parrot Analytics, Garaude had been a longstanding executive leader at Reed MIDEM (now RX France), part of the RELX Group, since first joining in 1993. As Director of its television division since 2009, Garaude led the growth and development of the flagship international MIPCOM and MIPTV entertainment markets held in Cannes. Under her tenure, MIPFormats was launched in 2011, followed by regional markets MIP Cancun in 2015 and MIP China in 2017. She also introduced new events, including the World Premiere TV Screenings, which have become signature highlights of MIPCOM and MIPTV, the Women in Global Entertainment Lunch and the Diversify TV Excellence Awards. In 2020, spurred on by the pandemic, Mrs. Garaude led the digital transformation, introducing successful virtual markets across the MIP portfolio.

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“I am so thrilled to join Wared Seger and the team at Parrot Analytics,” Garaude said in a statement. “I have always been passionate about the international content industry and I am continuously inspired and motivated by the positive impact of technology on content and the business of entertainment. In the last few years especially we have all seen the exponential growth and influence of content from around the world, with some local series becoming worldwide hits. Global content investments have continued to ramp up also and there is now more competition than ever. This is why it is so important today to find the right balance of intuition, great talent, smart insights and value-adding datasets to help de-risk decisions and investments. Parrot Analytics is an innovation leader and the time has come for our industry to embrace data at the decision making table. I am looking forward to helping executive teams to optimize their content decisions and help them succeed with their international growth strategies at this very exciting yet critical time.”

During his tenure at Gracenote and Nielsen, Cover worked closely with studios, networks, talent agencies, production companies and performance marketing agencies, bringing to market client-focused solutions and services.

“It’s a perfect time to be joining Parrot Analytics,” Cover said in a statement. “The content industry must adapt to the attention economy. The increasing number of platforms and competition for audience attention is already stretched thin. Parrot Analytics has a distinct and complete toolkit to measure and capture attention metrics that is unbiased, nuanced and holistic. The positive momentum of the company and the differentiated solutions prove that the timing is right for Parrot Analytics to become the global leader in unlocking the power of the attention economy. I couldn’t be more excited to join Parrot Analytics and I am confident my background and expertise will help Parrot Analytics continue to scale and grow.”

Dolby Labs Appoints Shriram Revankar SVP

Dolby Laboratories has appointed Dr. Shriram Revankar SVP of the Advanced Technology Group.

Steve Forshay, who previously served in the position, will support this leadership transition and will retire in June.

Most recently, as VP and fellow at Adobe, Shriram founded several of Adobe’s global research labs, including the Big-Data Experience Lab and the Document Intelligence Lab. Through these centers he built and led the team that identified and delivered innovations that enabled the growth of Adobe’s Experience Cloud and Document Cloud businesses. As the leader of Adobe’s advanced technology capabilities, he identified and built near-term and future technology needs for multiple businesses and SaaS-based offerings that rely heavily on data science, immersive media experiences, artificial intelligence and computer vision.

“Throughout Shriram’s career he has identified and delivered technology innovations to enable significant business growth for new and established businesses,” Kevin Yeaman, president and CEO of Dolby Laboratories, said in a statement. “I’m confident that Shriram’s leadership, passion for innovation and domain experience will help fuel Dolby’s future technology offerings and create more immersive experiences.”

“Dolby continuously innovates to deliver the best audio and imaging technologies,” Revankar said in a statement. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to build on Dolby’s strong product foundation and lead the team inventing the next generation of immersive tools, content and services.”

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Prior to joining Adobe, Shriram was a Xerox fellow and founded and led its Smart and Adaptive Systems Lab. As chief architect of the production solutions business at Xerox, he developed a platform that enabled integration of multiple independently developed enterprise solutions to interoperate at scale.

Shriram holds a masters and Ph.D. in computer science from SUNY Buffalo.

IFTA and AFM Exec Jonathan Wolf to Step Down

The Independent Film & Television Alliance announced that Jonathan Wolf, managing director of its American Film Market and EVP of the trade association, will step down when his current term ends on June 30.  

Jonathan Wolf

Wolf, who has led the AFM for 24 years, will continue on as an advisor through the 2022 AFM, which is set to make its in-person return to Santa Monica for the 43rd edition Nov. 1-6. 

Under Wolf’s leadership, the AFM transformed from its import-export roots to an event that serves and includes the entire independent film production and distribution community.

During his tenure, Wolf enhanced the market’s tools for buyers and sellers. He launched TheFilmCatalogue.com, a leading industry resource with information on thousands of projects and films available from global producers, distributors and sales companies, and its companion “TFC Weekly Update” email. He also introduced networking and education programs, including multi-stage conferences and panels, and the MyAFM online platform. 

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“Jonathan has been central to the success of the association’s growth and transitions,” IFTA’s president and CEO Jean Prewitt said in a statement. “He consistently has focused on making the AFM the best place for the industry to do business and has built an outstanding and long-established AFM team who share his commitment to excellence. We are grateful that Jonathan will be available to advise through the 2022 market.”

“It’s been a privilege to lead the AFM and work with passionate volunteer board members for more than 20 years,” Wolf said in a statement. “I was supported by a terrific team that worked tirelessly to produce a world class event; we achieved much together.  I’m excited to see what the future holds — for the AFM, IFTA and me.” 

With the IFTA, Wolf spearheaded the launch of IFTA Collections, the industry’s first centralized service for the collection and distribution of royalties and levies from secondary audio-visual rights for films and television programming.  To date, IFTA has collected more than $150 million for its clients and continues to distribute more than $5 million annually.   

Wolf’s connection to the IFTA began as an elected board member and vice chairman, finance, while CFO at IFTA Member New World International. He joined the association as SVP in 1993 and was appointed to lead the AFM as managing director in 1998.

Talent Talk: ‘Titanic 666’ Actress Giovannie Espiritu Discusses Working on the Tubi Original

Filmmaker-actress Giovannie Espiritu has worked on both sides of the camera.

Her first short film, Ultra-Feminist, got an Honorable Mention at Outfest: Fusion, and her second film, ALLY 3000, won over 12 awards at film festivals in scriptwriting, social justice and women in film. She is a member of the Alliance of Women Directors and the Producers Guild of America.

As an actress, her television credits include “ER,” “Bones,” “Gilmore Girls,” “Trauma,” “Perfect Harmony” and “Young Sheldon.” She can currently be seen as the lead in the Amazon series “Dyke Central.” She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at Method Fest for the feature film Fiona’s Script. Other feature film work includes supporting roles in the thriller D-Railed with Lance Henriksen and Middleton Christmas with Eileen Davidson and Michael Pare.

Recently, she was recognized as one of 23 “Most Influential Filipina Women in the World” in the Innovator & Thought Leader category by the Filipina Women’s Network and given a “Special Thanks” credit at the end of Pixar’s Turning Red for being the on-call acting coach for Rosalie Chiang.

Espiritu can now be seen on Fox Entertainment’s free ad-supported streaming service Tubi in the the service’s original film Titanic 666, which started streaming April 15. She plays Nancy, an overzealous fan to Mia, a social media influencer played by Annalynne McCord.

In Titanic 666, 110 years after its namesake’s deadly journey, the Titanic III is fated to repeat one of history’s greatest disasters. A faithful replica of the original, the mammoth cruise ship is safeguarded with the most advanced technology to assure clear passage on its maiden voyage for the famous influencers, historical enthusiasts and other excited travelers on board. But unbeknownst to all, there is a stowaway amongst them with vengeful intentions to channel dark forces still at sea. As the ship halts over the surface of the original gravesite, crew and passengers are terrorized by ghosts. 

We asked Espiritu about her experience starring in the Tubi original.

MPN: How did you first get involved in and what attracted you to the project?

Espiritu: I auditioned for Titanic 666, back when it was still called Dead Water. As a working (not name) actor, I generally audition for everything and anything my team sends me. Sometimes you don’t know exactly what project is until you book it. 

MPN: You’ve done lots of work for traditional television outlets and studios. What was different/similar about participating in a project that would appear on a free streaming service such as Tubi? Had you watched the service before?

Espiritu: I actually didn’t know about Tubi until working on this. It’s great that there are so many outlets now for filmmakers and storytellers to showcase their work. I feel like, with the advent of streaming networks, more diverse stories and points of view can be told. We need more of that in the world today. I think that acting and storytelling can help the world become a more empathetic place.

AnnaLynne McCord (left) and Giovannie Espiritu in Titanic 666. (Photo courtesy of Tubi © 2022)

MPN: Can you describe your on-set experience? Are there any fun stories?

Espiritu: I loved working on this. First of all, the location in Long Beach was beautiful. The Queen Mary is such a majestic ship and imbued with so much history, I felt like it was like a fairytale in a way … well, a haunted fairy tale, because it is haunted in real life. I had an orb show up in my behind-the-scenes pictures and I ended up getting freaked out, so I asked production if I could stay in my car or hang out with the background talent instead of being alone in my room. 

MPN: Can you describe the character you play? What did you identify with most about your character?

Espiritu: With Nancy, I have an affinity for the loner, losers and outcasts, because I definitely feel like one a lot in my life. Her breakdown was: “She has no life or friends and is a super fan of the influencers.” It was easy for me to do because I tend to put people on a pedestal in my real life and I’m an introvert by nature. 

MPN: What was your favorite scene?

Espiritu: I loved running around like a crazy person in the ballroom when the ship crashes into the iceberg, but my favorite scene to film was when Mia (Annalynne McCord), Jackson (Derek Yates) and I find Idina (Lydia Hearst) doing her seance because we actually got to go down into the boiler room.

MPN: How would you describe Titanic 666 to viewers? What kind of fans will like it?

Espiritu: If you love campy movies like Sharknado, I think you’ll enjoy it. It is a silly, fun, titillating ride. It knows what kind of movie it wants to be. 

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MPN: In addition to being a performer, you are also active politically. How does your political activism inform and affect your career choices?

Espiritu: My identity is already political. I used to be an undocumented dreamer born to a teenage mom. I spent time in a Biblical Doomsday cult as a teen. I became a young mom myself and had to learn how to navigate the world as a single parent trying to make ends meet on gig work. Most of my storytelling comes from that worldview where I try to heal generational trauma, and dismantle the patriarchy mainly because I’m trying to figure out and heal myself through art. 

MPN: What’s next for you?

Espiritu: I’m traveling to Indonesia this week to do some scouting and research for a feature film that I’ve been commissioned to write. Hopefully, I’ll direct it. I also have a few shorts in development and I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing a personal documentary since my upbringing is so unusual. And I’ll be performing in a benefit production of The Vagina Monologues at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco at the end of May. V, formerly known as Eve Ensler, who wrote the play, will also be there, so I’m super excited. I admire her so much. Her work has sparked movements of education for women globally.

Whip Media Hires Disney Vet Artin Nazarian

Software platform and data provider Whip Media has appointed former Disney exec Artin Nazarian VP of global enterprise account management.

In the newly created role, Nazarian will develop and grow the company’s enterprise platform customer relationships worldwide including focusing on strategy, product adoption and revenue.

Artin Nazarian

Nazarian joins Whip Media following nearly two decades at The Walt Disney Co., where he most recently served as the entertainment giant’s head of global integration and digital distribution operations strategy. He designed and implemented operating models to align with the company’s ever-growing business needs, streamlining the global digital supply chain for digital retailers such as Apple, Netflix and Disney’s streaming service Disney+. In addition, Nazarian was part of the leadership team involved in the integration of Twentieth Century Fox’s distribution operations following Disney’s $71 billion acquisition. 

In his 19 years at Disney, Nazarian’s areas of emphasis included strategy, digital distribution, process and organizational integration, change management and system adoption, and technical services. 

“Artin’s understanding and application of technology, process improvement and people is second to none.” Saj Jayasinghe, Whip Media’s SVP of global enterprise account management, said in a statement. “His track record of success in understanding and implementing enterprise technologies with daunting timelines at one of the largest entertainment companies in the world while — maintaining stellar key internal and external relationships with many of Disney’s partners so successfully, make him an immediate asset to Whip Media and our customers. After working with him for so many years as a great partner and now getting to work with him side by side at Whip Media to exponentially grow our business is incredibly exciting.”

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Nazarian is also an author and entrepreneur, having founded multiple enterprise software startups. Last year he wrote about his distinctive journey — having emigrated from Iran at the age of 10 and becoming an entertainment executive by 30 — in his Amazon best-selling book Side Adventure: The playbook to leverage your corporate job, pursue a side venture, and find happiness and fulfillment

“I couldn’t be more excited to join Whip Media,” Nazarian said in a statement. “The company has a distinctive value proposition and Whip Media is held in high regard thanks to its unique suite of tools. I’m confident my background and expertise will help Whip Media continue to scale and grow for years to come.” 

Nazarian’s appointment comes only weeks after the commercial launch of the Whip Media Exchange, a global licensing and research platform for film and TV content.

Q&A: Premiere Digital’s Michele Edelman Discusses the Company and Her Two Decades in Home Entertainment

Michele Edelman is head of growth at Premiere Digital, a media services and software solutions company. With more than 20 years of executive experience and extensive knowledge of home entertainment, Edelman has been at the forefront of an evolving OTT landscape, from launching TVOD/EST programs at Warner Bros., to spearheading VOD strategies at Vubiquity, to redefining distribution at Premiere Digital.

Before joining Premiere Digital, she served as EVP of marketing and content strategy at Vubiquity, where she oversaw global execution of cross-departmental marketing, corporate communications and creative strategy, as well as the management and merchandising of premium content. Prior to that, she was worldwide VP at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, where she oversaw a variety of departments, including direct-to-consumer marketing, digital distribution marketing, programming and acquisitions.  Her work includes sales and marketing campaigns for some of the world’s biggest studios, including ESPN, Disney and MTV Networks, as well as cross-industry initiatives to promote the growth of emerging digital formats. In October of 2019, Michele joined Premiere Digital to focus on the company’s mission of helping its customers monetize content and streamline operations, as well as on its vision of positioning itself for the ongoing future of digital distribution.

Media Play News asked Edelman about her company’s game plan and about the direction of a home entertainment industry she has been a part of for more than two decades.

MPN: Can you tell us about the history of Premiere Digital and what services it offers?

Edelman: Premiere Digital was founded in 2008 by Erik Anderson who was on the original iTunes video distribution team. We currently have three production facilities located in Los Angeles, Stamford, Conn., and Bangalore, India, and a satellite sales office in Toronto. Erik always had vision and realized the digital supply chain could be “smarter,” so he started Premiere Digital. 

Erik also happened to be my client while I was at Warner Bros. and when he called me to welcome me to Premiere his number came up with the Apple/iTunes co. I felt like I shot back 10 years while at the same time was moving ahead 10.

MPN: Premiere last year launched its first title The Wall. What’s the strategy for getting into content distribution, what other titles has Premiere launched and what others are in the works?

Edelman: The amount of content that does not make it to the marketplace is staggering. Tons of films and TV shows are made and never seen by an audience. We’re giving those projects a chance at making it to screens and aggregating on behalf of the content makers to the marketplace. This project started back in 2019 and The Wall was the first big one to date. We plan to do a number of these a year. One other successful TV show that was distributed by us was “The Chosen” that performed so well on digital platforms, the production company created a season two.

MPN: Premiere has been a champion for women in technology. What steps have you and the company taken to make it a welcoming environment for women and how does it affect company strategy?

Edelman: Premiere is a champion of people and many of them happen to be women. I don’t want to make it sound like I’m skirting the issue but we truly are champions of people and do our part to participate where the need is. For example, we go above and beyond in the social awareness category almost every month, changing our logos color to reflect a necessary cause and making donations where we can. LGBTQ+, Breast Cancer Awareness, Black History, Hispanic Heritage … the list goes on. WiTH is also part of this donation to support Women in Technology in Hollywood. So, to support your statement, we champion women, minorities and whoever needs additional support.

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MPN: As a home entertainment industry veteran, how do you see the evolution of the business, from its early days on VHS to disc to today’s business models What kind of smart tools do companies need to thrive in a constantly evolving digital ecosystem?

Edelman: I love this topic and feel proud to have been on the ground floor of the physical to digital entertainment shift. It was exciting to see how the industry pulled together and then the market just evolved as a result. It was the people that spearheaded it with the original transactional platforms … cable VOD, iTunes, Amazon, Xbox, Playstation and now today it’s pretty much all we know. What sensational times.

MPN: Speaking of this evolution, what kind of smart tools do companies need to thrive in a constantly evolving digital ecosystem?

Edelman: We probably need better tools that manage all assets whether they be video, artwork, languages, data, promos, even text in one location so that companies can build their assets for global distribution. We spend a lot of time looking for components in multiple locations so a central point that includes all asset elements would be the pie in the sky. An individual film title goes live globally with various languages, metadata, promotional assets and creative elements for advertising. Multiple teams develop and store assets in multiple locations. Multiple individuals have access for various reasons in multiple languages. A central location for everything would make everything easier for everyone.