The 40 Most Important People in Streaming 2023

Who are the 40 most important people in streaming, which has fast become the dominant delivery mechanism for home entertainment?

We first asked that question a year ago. And, after an extensive screening process that began with a call for nominations, a blue-ribbon committee of Media Play News editors and prominent industry insiders whittled down the list of nominees and came up with the final 40.

Our second annual list has quite a few new names, including Amy Reinhard, who is leading Netflix’s push into the ad-supported streaming segment, and Marcien Jenckes, who heads up the Xumo streaming joint venture formed late last year by Comcast and Charter Communications, the two biggest U.S. cable operators. There are also several prominent drop-offs, including Reed Hastings, who effectively retired from Netflix at the start of the year, and Michael Paull, who in April 2023 was replaced by Joe Earley as head of streaming for Disney Entertainment.

We employed the same process this year. And, once again, we want to make it clear to our readers that our definition of “important” is subjective. If we relied solely on revenue and subscriber counts, our honorees would be made up entirely of executives from Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video and the other major streamers. Leaning into the dictionary definition of “important” as “of great significance or consequence,” we also chose to factor in various other attributes, including innovation and creativity, enabling technologies and services, and diversity and inclusion.

The list is not perfect, nor is it complete. It could easily be expanded to 50, 100, even more. But one thing is certain: These 40 executives are key players in the streaming business, which continues to dominate home entertainment and, with two super-charged variants — AVOD and FAST — shows no signs of slowing.

Please join us in congratulating the 40 most important people in streaming, class of 2023! This year’s individual profiles are in alphabetical order.

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Lauren Anderson

Head, AVOD Originals, Unscripted, and Targeted Programming, Amazon Studios

Lauren Anderson

Anderson oversees all programming, including creative development, production, licensing, scheduling, research, and strategy for Amazon Freevee and Prime Video’s ad-supported FAST linear channels. She also recently assumed responsibility for the unscripted programming strategy across all of Studios, including SVOD and AVOD programming. Anderson joined Amazon Studios in 2019 as the Head of Strategic Content, managing such series as the “Savage X Fenty Show” for Prime Video. In 2020, she became co-head of content and programming for IMDb TV (now Freevee). Early accomplishments for Freevee included bringing the iconic Judge Judy Sheindlin to a streaming audience, shepherding Amazon’s first partnership with Dick Wolf and developing the AVOD spinoff of Prime Video’s longest-running series, “Bosch.” Before joining Amazon, Anderson was chief content officer for Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts, the joint venture studio between NBCUniversal and Snapchat. There, she helped launch Snap Originals on the Discover platform, making key contributions to the inaugural slate of programming.

Bela Bajaria 

Chief Content Officer, Netflix

Bela Bajaria

When she took over Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ old job in January 2023, Fortune magazine promptly declared that Bajaria “just became one of the most powerful women in Hollywood.” Fresh off a three-year stint as Netflix’s head of global TV, Bajaria now is the leading streamer’s top content executive, and is learning full well the meaning behind the old showbiz saying, “You’re only as good as your last hit.” The pressure to keep coming up with compelling, watchable content without breaking the bank is immense, and Bajaria is leaning heavily into her TV background, where the quest for hit shows, and high ratings, is constant. Bajaria is looking to meld English-language content and non-English content departments into a unified global team. Prior to joining Netflix in 2016 as head of unscripted programming, Bajaria spent nearly five years as president of Universal Television, the first woman of color to oversee a studio. Earlier, she was SVP of cable programming for CBS TV Studios, and SVP of movies and miniseries for the CBS Network.

Alisa Bowen

President, Disney+, Disney Entertainment

Alisa Bowen

Bowen is charged with scheduling content and driving subscriber and revenue growth for Disney+. She also oversees business operations across Disney+ and Hulu, working closely with Disney Entertainment streaming head Joe Earley. Bowen was named president of Disney+ in September 2022, after heading business operations for Disney Streaming since February 2019. In that role she oversaw global content and business operations for the company’s direct-to-consumer video streaming businesses: Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and Star+. This included cross-functional leadership of Disney+’s global November 2019 launch in 154 markets worldwide. Bowen joined Disney in 2017 as CTO of the company’s international operations, where she led a transformation of Disney’s broadcast channels and content operations and digital publishing across EMEA, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Prior to joining Disney, Bowen held product, digital technology, and general management leadership positions at such major media organizations as Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones and News Corp., in London, New York and Sydney.

Kathryn Busby & Alison Hoffman

President, Original Programming, Starz
President, Domestic Networks, Starz

Alison Hoffman
Kathryn Busby

Busby and Hoffman are responsible for spearheading the Starz streaming platform’s diverse programming committed to narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences. Prior to joining Starz in January 2022, Busby was EVP of Sony’s TriStar Television, where she developed and oversaw such projects as “The Afterparty,” starring Tiffany Haddish and Sam Richardson; a “Malcolm X” series based on the novels X: A Novel and The Awakening of Malcolm X from his daughter Ilyasah Shabazz; and a series based on Kirstin Chen’s crime novel Counterfeit. Busby also served as SVP of development for Sony Pictures Networks, where she developed and produced numerous projects, including “Absentia” — the critically hailed series that aired on Prime Video for three seasons. Hoffman has revenue and operational responsibility for Starz’s retail and wholesale businesses, and oversees key network operations, including distribution, marketing, publicity, product development, analytics and program planning. Hoffman was one of the key executives responsible for launching the Starz app and manages the network’s direct-to-consumer business. She reorganized the business and built performance marketing and analytics departments from the ground up. Additionally, Hoffman works closely with wholesale partners, including Prime Video, Hulu, Roku and Apple, to drive revenue on their platforms.

 

Kelly Campbell

President, Peacock and Direct-to-Consumer, NBCUniversal

Kelly Campbell

Campbell is responsible for growing and elevating NBCUniversal’s streaming business and spearheading strategy. She oversees teams across programming, marketing, product, technology, partnerships, and data sciences that together support NBCU’s direct-to-consumer portfolio. A notable strategy this year involves incorporating Bravo programming, including “Vanderpump Rules,” onto the Peacock service, and offering extended episodes of the show the next day on the streamer. “We’re really establishing a home for the fandom on Peacock,” Campbell said in June at a press interview at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Prior to joining Peacock in October 2021, Campbell was president of Hulu, where she led the SVOD and live-TV streaming businesses. This followed a role as Hulu’s chief marketing officer, where she led the brand’s overall marketing and drove the strategic vision and voice behind the Hulu brand. Before joining Hulu in August 2017, Campbell spent more than a decade at Google in marketing leadership roles across the Google Ads and Google Cloud businesses.

Albert Cheng

VP, Prime Video U.S.

Cheng is the top executive at Amazon’s Prime Video streaming service in the United States. He leads Prime Video’s tentpole programming strategy and consumer insights, in addition to overseeing the platform’s brand strategy, social influencer marketing, marketing operations, media and audience insights. Cheng is also responsible for customer acquisition, retention and engagement across SVOD, AVOD and Marketplace. Prior to assuming his present position in September 2022, Cheng served for seven years as COO at Amazon Studios. Prior to joining Amazon, Cheng spent 15 years as an executive with The Walt Disney Co., including stints as EVP of digital media and chief product officer for the Disney/ABC Television Group. During that time, Cheng and his team won four Primetime Emmy Awards, and were the first to put TV episodes on Apple iTunes in 2005, stream broadcast shows online in 2006, stream in HD in 2007, launch an iPad app in 2010, and offer live broadcast network feeds in 2013.

Dan Cohen

Chief Content Licensing Officer, Paramount Global

Dan Cohen

Cohen is charged with monetizing a large and growing portfolio of original content that airs or streams on the CBS Television Network, The CW, Paramount+ and Showtime, as well as programming from Paramount Pictures, Paramount Television Studios, CBS Studios, CBS News, CBS Media Ventures, the MTV Entertainment Studios, Nickelodeon, VIS, Miramax and third-party partners. He also oversees worldwide home entertainment. Cohen assumed leadership of the division following his role as president of global content licensing for what was then ViacomCBS. Previously, he was president of worldwide home entertainment and television distribution for Paramount Pictures. Prior to joining Paramount in 2017, Cohen spent 20 years at Disney/ABC, most recently as EVP of pay-television and digital sales for home entertainment and television distribution for the Walt Disney Studios. Cohen was also responsible for securing two of the most significant pay-television deals in history — Netflix in 2012 and Starz in 1999 — negotiating exclusive, multiyear deals and licensing agreements.

Charlie Collier

President, Roku Media

Collier joined Roku in October 2022, and continues to rejigger the CE manufacturer/AVOD/FAST content distributor. Collier recently promoted Alison Levin to VP of global media revenue, and Kristina Shepard to VP of global advertising sales and partnerships. He also expanded David Eilenberg’s responsibilities to include overseeing original content such as the “This Old House” DIY franchise, and appointed Joe Franzetta to oversee Roku’s foray into sports. An industry veteran with more than 25 years of media experience, Collier’s career began in advertising sales and evolved into programming, strategy and digital. Prior to joining Roku, Collier served as CEO of Fox Entertainment, where he was responsible for entertainment and business strategy. Prior to joining Fox, Collier was president and GM of AMC Networks, SundanceTV and AMC Studios, overseeing the creative and business operations of all three divisions and launching such award-winning series as “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead.” Collier previously held leadership and sales roles at Court TV, Oxygen Media, A+E Networks and TeleRep.

Kelly Day

VP, International, Prime Video

Kelly Day

Day leads Prime Video’s SVOD, TVOD, and Channels businesses in all locales outside the United States. Overseeing a team of regional and country managers around the world, Day drives the content strategies, greenlights, and launches of Amazon Original movies and series internationally. Prior to joining Amazon in 2022 Day served as president of streaming for ViacomCBS Networks International (now Paramount Global), where she was responsible for the international rollout and growth of Paramount+ and Pluto. Before that, she served as chief operating officer for ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI), overseeing strategy and operations, business and legal affairs, finance and business intelligence, ad sales, and location-based entertainment and events across 100+ markets. Day’s previous roles include president of Viacom Digital Studios (VDS), chief digital officer, and then chief business officer of AwesomenessTV; CEO of venture-backed Blip Networks, which she later sold to Maker Studios, one of the top YouTube Multichannel Networks; and various roles at Discovery Communications, The Knot and AOL.

Cameron Douglas

SVP of OTT/Streaming, Fandango Media

Douglas was promoted into his current position in August 2023 and is charged with future enhancements to Fandango’s growing streaming portfolio. As he did in his previous role, VP of home entertainment, Douglas also oversees the movie-ticketing company’s digital retail operation, Vudu. A Stanford University graduate, Douglas began his career holding various analytics and marketing roles at Disney, Fox, DreamWorks and Paramount. He moved into the digital entertainment space in 2013 as SVP of content for M-GO, which three years later was acquired by Fandango and rebranded FandangoNow. In 2020 Fandango bought Walmart’s digital movie service, Vudu, and merged it with FandangoNow. Since then, Vudu has become the No. 3 player in the competitive transactional space as well as a growing contender in the AVOD arena. In 2018, Douglas was elected chairman of OTT.X, the trade group for the streaming industry.

Andrea Downing 

President, PBS Distribution 

Andrea Downing

Downing brought PBS Distribution into the streaming era — with enviable results. Over the past seven years, she and her team have launched six subscription streaming channels on Amazon’s Prime Video Channels; brought to market five FAST channels, including “Julia Child,” “PBS Antiques Roadshow,” “Arthur” and “PBS Food”; and struck AVOD deals with several major streaming platforms, among them Roku, Pluto TV and YouTube. When PBS Distribution was established in 2009 as a joint venture between PBS and GBH, the bulk of its revenue came from DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales. Today, Downing maintains, more than 90% of revenue comes from streaming. Even before streaming’s fast rise during the pandemic, Downing was partial to multi-platform releases with big PBS titles, including Ken Burns documentaries, available the same day on disc, through digital retailers and on streaming channels. “It has always been critical for us to anticipate and evolve with the market, so we can meet viewers where they are, regardless of platform,” she says.

Joe Earley

President, Direct-to-Consumer, Disney Entertainment

Joe Earley

Earley replaced Michael Paull as head of streaming for Disney Entertainment in April 2023, less than two years after he was named president of Hulu. He oversees Disney’s streaming platforms and the teams responsible for data and insights, content acquisition, programming and operations. This year, Disney+ and Hulu earned a combined 104 Emmy nominations.  Earley joined Disney in January 2019 to help guide the launch of Disney+, which went live in November of that year. As EVP of marketing and operations, he was responsible for global brand, acquisition and engagement marketing, programming, and content curation for both Disney+ and Star. Prior to joining Disney, Earley spent three years as president of the Jackal Group, where he headed up the company’s film, TV, digital and commercial theater divisions. Before that, he enjoyed a two-decade run at 20th Century Fox, most recently serving as COO for the Fox Television Group.

Michele Edelman

Head of Growth, Premiere Digital

Michele Edelman

Edelman is one of the streaming industry’s key supply chain enablers. Since joining Premiere Digital in 2019, she has helped grow the company into one of the primary media services and technology vendors in the distribution space and broaden its focus into all aspects of digital distribution, including AVOD, SVOD and TVOD. Clients include all the major studios and streamers, as well as a growing number of digital distribution platforms. Even before joining Premiere, Edelman was a prime mover in the digital supply chain. During her more than 20 years at Warner Bros., she pushed the company toward digital distribution even as the focus was on DVD. She later headed strategy at content services provider Vubiquity. “I was born into the supply chain — literally,” she says, noting that as a child her family business was manufacturing link chains for industrial, security and decorative purposes.

Jamie Erlicht & Zack Van Amburg

Heads, Worldwide Video, Apple

Zack Van Amburg
Jamie Erlicht

Erlicht and Van Amburg jointly lead Apple TV+, which in the four years since its November 2019 launch has grown from a SVOD also-ran into a viable contender in the high-stakes competition for coveted content. Most recently, the duo was responsible in part for restoring Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon period movie from Paramount Pictures’ shelf and onto the big screen. The movie co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro in a drama involving unsolved murders on the Osage Nation Indian reservation in Northern Oklahoma. After 12 years as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Television, Erlicht and Van Amburg moved to Apple in 2017 to prepare for the launch of Apple TV+. After a slow start, Apple TV+ gained steam with originals and in 2021 became the first streamer to win the Best Picture Academy Award with CODA, which Apple acquired for a record $25 million. Apple TV+ snapped up that prize in only its second year in the film business, besting veterans such as Netflix and Prime Video. Apple TV+ continues to bridge the content divide with rivals, re-upping favorites “The Morning Show,” “Ted Lasso” and “See,” and releasing myriad new shows, including “Lessons in Chemistry” with Brie Larson, the kids-centric “Jane,” and the sci-fi thriller “Silo.”

 

Danny Fisher

Co-Founder and CEO, FilmRise

Danny Fisher

Fisher heads the largest provider of content in the AVOD/FAST space. A pioneer of the ad-supported model now embraced by Netflix, Disney+ and the other major streamers, Fisher helped fuel the growth of AVOD and, more recently, the proliferation of FAST channels. A veteran film and television producer, financier and distributor, Fisher co-founded FilmRise in 2012 and developed a proprietary data analytics methodology that measures viewer demand for content. This development led to a decade of soaring and strategic growth, with tens of thousands of FilmRise titles now streaming all over the world, including on more than 250 FilmRise FAST channels. FilmRise releases content to Prime Video, The Roku Channel, Peacock, Pluto TV, Freevee, Tubi, Samsung, Vizio and many more, with over 40,000 hours of content in its library. Fisher also created the FilmRise streaming network, one of the largest independently owned AVOD services. Prior to launching FilmRise, Fisher ran City Lights Media Group, a film and television production and distribution company.

Mark Fisher

President and CEO, OTT.X

Mark Fisher

Fisher heads the streaming industry’s trade association, with more than 120 member companies. He has been at the helm of OTT.X since it evolved nearly four years ago out of the Entertainment Merchants Association, which he had headed since 2012. Under Fisher’s direction, OTT.X has more than doubled its membership and launched an affiliate program that now includes five universities. OTT.X stages two annual tentpole events, the X-Fronts in May and the OTT.X Summit in the early fall, each attracting upwards of 600 attendees from all sectors in the streaming business — SVOD, AVOD, FAST, market research, and technology. OTT.X also hosts smaller networking events nearly every month in Los Angeles, New York City, Las Vegas, and Miami to bring its members together to collaborate and share knowledge and insights. Fisher joined what was then the Video Software Dealers Association in 1999 as VP of Membership and Strategic Initiatives and saw the organization evolve into EMA and, ultimately, OTT.X.

Larry Fitzgibbon

Co-Founder and CEO, Tastemade

Larry Fitzgibbon

Fitzgibbon is responsible for propelling Tastemade into an immensely popular global video platform reaching an audience of more than 250 million monthly viewers. Tastemade has built a growing global community around its programming in food, travel, and home and design, which appears on all major digital, mobile, streaming OTT, and linear television platforms. Tastemade’s streaming now reaches viewers in more than 50 countries and 220 million homes worldwide. In 2023, Tastemade will program 300+ hours of new shows. Fitzgibbon was instrumental in raising more than $130 million in venture capital, and spearheaded Tastemade’s recent multimillion-dollar, multiyear partnership with Constellation Brands to launch a first-of-its-kind content studio that creates and distributes social and streaming content. The partnership’s first show, “Street Somm,” is now streaming. Before Tastemade, Fitzgibbon was a part of Demand Media’s founding team. Under his management, the company’s portfolio of media properties grew to a worldwide audience of more than 140 million unique visitors.

Garson Foos

CEO and Founder, Shout! Studios

Garson Foos

Under Foos’ leadership, Shout! Studios has successfully adapted to the evolving entertainment landscape and transformed from its physical media roots into a multifaceted business — streaming, digital media, libraries, and producer of new content. A key area is content licensing and digital distribution, particularly in the realm of streaming and digital media. Shout! Studios has been recognized by the industry for revitalizing cult and classic film and TV series on various viewing platforms. Today, digital streaming — TVOD, SVOD, AVOD and FAST — has become a well-established business for Shout!, especially for cult and classic film and TV libraries. Since 2015, Shout!’s digital entertainment streaming service Shout! TV has brought timeless and contemporary cult favorites to pop culture fans. Shout! TV offers a blend of original programming, movies and series curated from major studios, independent producers, and its own entertainment library. In recent years, Shout! has also emerged as a leading distributor of top anime and animation content.

Mark Garner

EVP and Head of Global FAST Channels, A+E Networks

Mark Garner

Garner is the point man for A+E Networks’ big push into FAST. The A+E vet in September was appointed to the newly created position and is charged with accelerating the company’s FAST business internationally and extending its reach in the U.S. market. A+E ventured into FAST in 2018 with the History Shorts channel and now has more than 20 FAST channels focused on lifestyle, competition, true crime and movies. Garner previously was EVP of global content sales and business development for A+E Networks, a role in which he led the charge to position A+E Networks as an essential partner for streamers. He guided the company’s early adoption of FAST while continuing to grow and monetize A+E’s footprint across AVOD and SVOD platforms. Before joining A+E Networks in 2007, Garner worked as an executive at several start-up ventures, including a satellite broadcast network based in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he successfully built the network’s distribution to 22 sub-Saharan countries.

Devin Griffin

EVP and GM, BET+

Devin Griffin

Griffin heads the top streamer serving the African-American audience. BET+ has more than 2,000 hours of content, including new original programming and fan-favorite series, movies and specials from BET Networks and a host of leading African-American content creators, including Tyler Perry. Griffin manages BET+’s P&Ls and oversees business strategy and operations, including original programming, content acquisitions, marketing, distribution, planning and analysis. Prior to joining BET+ in 2019, Griffin was a producer and EVP at Story Lab U.S., where he co-founded and led the company’s foray into premium long-form content development. Previously, he held various senior content roles at Netflix. He formed and led the company’s unscripted group, commissioning and/or executive producing more than 40 series, including the Emmy Award-winning “Queer Eye” and the Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance. He also worked extensively on scripted drama, comedy, sci-fi and anime. Earlier in his career Griffin was head of business development at Broadway Video, Lorne Michaels’ production company.

Carol Hanley

CEO, Whip Media

Carol Hanley

Hanley was named CEO of Whip Media, a leading enterprise software platform and data provider to the world’s largest entertainment organizations, in June 2023, after two years as president. She joined the company in 2017 as chief revenue and strategy officer and has since overseen the development of new content measurement solutions that combine viewership consumption data with financial information to help streamers, broadcasters and studios track content performance and guide future licensing decisions. Under her leadership, Whip Media acquired Mediamorph, with a platform that powered more than two-thirds of all global digital transactional revenue for the film and television industries, and the TV and movie metadata platform TheTVDB. Today, Whip Media plays a key role in the content distribution and acquisition ecosystem, managing trillions of global VOD and digital sellthrough transactions annually and millions of avails for major content providers and distributors globally. Before Whip Media, Hanley was chief revenue officer of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group. Before that, she spent 15 years as EVP, chief revenue and chief marketing officer at Nielsen Audio.

Mike Hopkins

SVP, Prime Video, MGM and Amazon Studios

Mike Hopkins

Hopkins has been overseeing all aspects of Amazon’s video entertainment businesses since joining the e-commerce giant in 2020. He previously served as chairman of Sony Pictures Television, overseeing the venerable studio’s prodigious episodic programming production facility to third-party distributors around the world. Prior to joining Sony, Hopkins headed Hulu as CEO. With more than 30 years of media experience and an extensive track record of developing and producing innovative TV content, Hopkins was key to the development of Hulu after joining the streamer in 2013. He helped quintuple the service’s market valuation, growing its streaming audience to more than 47 million, while greenlighting the platform’s initial original programming slate, which includes Emmy-winning “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “The Mindy Project,” “Castle Rock” and “Marvel’s Runaways,” among others. Under Hopkins’ leadership at Hulu, the streamer transitioned into the pay-TV market with Hulu + Live TV featuring live sports, weather and news, on top of its legacy SVOD business.  

Keith Le Goy

Chairman, Worldwide Networks & Distribution, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Keith Le Goy

Le Goy oversees the physical and digital distribution of television and home entertainment content to all media and retail platforms, as well as Sony Pictures Television’s direct-to-consumer properties — including anime service Crunchyroll. The fast-growing platform, which has more than 12 million subscribers, recently announced an agreement with Prime Video to carry the service and launched a 24/7 anime channel on Amazon Freevee, LG Channels, the Roku Channel and Vizio WatchFree+. Le Goy is also behind numerous lucrative content deals with Netflix and Disney, as well as the extension of a Central Eastern European pact with Warner Bros. Discovery and international sales of SPT titles including Twisted Metal, which is based on the classic PlayStation game. Prior to being appointed to his present position in April 2021, Le Goy was president of worldwide distribution for SPT before expanding his role in 2018 to include oversight of home entertainment and networks. He joined SPT in 1999 as SVP of European distribution, and later took charge of distribution in Latin America.           

Adam Lewinson

Chief Content Officer, Tubi

Adam Lewinson

Under Lewinson’s direction, Fox Entertainment’s free ad-supported Tubi streaming platform increased viewership in fiscal 2023 by 79% to more than 74 million monthly viewers, making it the No. 1 AVOD platform in the country. The platform in September generated 1.3% total TV market share, ahead of both Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platforms, according to Nielsen. To get there, Lewinson, who oversees content strategy, acquisitions and original content development and production, expedited the release of original content from myriad producers, including “The Freak Brothers” with Pete Davidson, “Hot Take: The Depp/Heard Trial” and the recent remake of “Terror Train,” among others. Before joining Tubi in 2017, Lewinson was SVP of programming/marketing at Sony Pictures Television and the AVOD platform Crackle. He was instrumental in the launch of Crackle’s original series and movies. He was also the programming executive on Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Before joining Sony in 2015, Lewinson spent more than a decade at FX Networks.

Rodrigo Mazon

EVP and Chief Content Officer, ViX

Rodrigo Mazon

Mazon oversees content at ViX, Spanish-language media giant TelevisaUnivision’s fast-growing streaming service, which launched in July 2022 with more than 10,000 hours of content and plans to stream more than 70 ViX original series and films in its first year. He was promoted to EVP and chief content officer of ViX in January 2023, less than two years after he joined Univision as EVP and GM of SVOD, a role in which he was tasked with launching the new streamer after Univision completed its merger with Televisa. In his new role, Mazon’s mandate is to focus on AVOD as well as SVOD. Since his promotion, ViX has struck distribution deals with Roku and Samsung and, in October, reported more than 40 million monthly average viewers. Prior to joining TelevisaUnivision, Mazon spent six years at Netflix, most recently as VP of content, where he was responsible for such hit shows as “Money Heist” (“La Casa de Papel”) and “El Chapo.” Before joining Netflix, Mazon was director of content at Hulu, where he launched Hulu Latino.  

Will McIntosh

President, Fandango Media and NBC Sports Next

Will McIntosh

McIntosh oversees some of the largest technology platforms in sports and entertainment. He leads several streaming businesses for NBCUniversal, including on-demand video service Vudu; golf instructional OTT channel GolfPass; and SportsEngine Play, the newly released streaming service for youth and amateur sports. Since McIntosh took the helm of Vudu in 2022, the service has seen double-digit growth year-over-year. Over the past year Vudu has become the streaming destination for AMC Theatres on Demand and has grown its library to 250,000 movies and TV shows. Under McIntosh, NBC Sports Next — a subdivision of NBC Sports and home to all NBCUniversal digital applications in sports and technology — launched SportsEngine Play, a streaming platform serving 60 million participants in youth sports. In addition to capturing and viewing live and on-demand video of sporting events, the service offers editing tools for highlight reels and player development videos from world-class athletes such as Michael Phelps, Shaun White and more.

Bill Neighbors & Geir Skaaden

Chief Content Officer;
Chief Products and Services Officer;
Xperi Inc.

Geir Skaaden
Bill Neighbors

Neighbors and Skaaden are the content and product visionaries at entertainment technology giant Xperi. Neighbors oversees the group charged with gaining access to and delivering entertainment content across all Xperi platforms inclusive of homes, connected cars, mobile devices and cinemas. Most recently, Neighbors and his team have signed multiple partners to Xperi’s independent media platforms, which power smart-TVs and connected car video streaming services. Neighbors has worked in the entertainment technology industry for more than 30 years spanning the music, TV and motion picture sectors, including his role as a foundational leader at DTS in 1993. Skaaden is responsible for product strategy at Xperi and developing the company’s roadmap across its key segments: pay-TV, connected car, media platforms and consumer electronics. Skaaden’s vision is to bring the best of Xperi’s brands (DTS, TiVo, HD Radio and Imax Enhanced) to life with an independent media platform that allows content to flow freely across environments. His goal is to make sure consumers can have an “always on, intelligent, anytime, anywhere, on any device, informed” experience, whether it’s music, movies, video games or any kind of content. Before joining Xperi, Skaaden served as the CEO of Neural Audio Corp., which was acquired by DTS in 2008.

Scott Olechowski

Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Plex

Scott Olechowskidsw

Olechowski is responsible for product strategy, product management, and business development for free live-TV streaming service Plex’s software and services. A pioneer in streaming media, Olechowski co-founded Plex as a hobby with the intent of making organizing and accessing digital media easy and seamless. Today, Plex is available in 180 countries and is considered among the most comprehensive entertainment platforms available, serving as a one-stop destination to discover, assemble a watchlist, and stream almost every movie and TV show. Over the past 25 years Olechowski has applied his entrepreneurial know-how and spirit to a number of software- and internet-focused start-ups. His professional experience includes executive positions in product strategy, business development, marketing, and international sales for a number of established brands such as Cisco, PostX and IronPort. He is an expert in cryptography with six issued encryption and authentication patents.

Erick Opeka

President and Chief Strategy Officer, Cineverse

Erick Opeka

A prominent strategist in the streaming industry, Opeka added the title of president, while continuing his role as chief strategy officer, this past May when the company rebranded from Cinedigm. He spearheads the company’s strategic initiatives as well as its merger and acquisitions efforts, and oversees its portfolio of more than two dozen SVOD, AVOD and FAST channels — most recently expanding an ad-based deal to include FAST-focused content with The Preview Channel. With eight acquisitions in the past two years, Opeka is now focused on Terrifier 2, the sequel to a low-budget horror film that was a surprise box office hit and helped drive subscriptions to the company’s proprietary ScreamBox platform. The concurrent theatrical/SVOD strategy underscores Opeka’s desire to pull on as many distribution levers as possible to maximize content revenue opportunities. Prior to becoming chief strategy officer in January 2021, Opeka was president of Digital Networks, heading up planning, development, launch and operations of a roster of digital channels.

Jim Packer

President of Worldwide Television Distribution, Lionsgate

Jim Packer

Packer oversees the distribution, licensing and marketing of Lionsgate’s 40 to 50 feature films annually, as well as its television slate, deep roster of Starz original programming, and 18,000-title film and television library to hundreds of broadcast, cable, SVOD, AVOD and FAST platforms worldwide. He has spearheaded the studio’s efforts to grow its billion-dollar global distribution business, securing distribution rights to leading third-party properties such as Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 and Jackie Brown, the global phenomenon “The Chosen,” and ABC’s hit series “The Conners.” He also signed licensing deals for the John Wick prequel series “The Continental” at Amazon’s Prime Video and Peacock, where it recently became the platform’s biggest original launch of the year. In addition, Packer led his team to develop Lionsgate’s robust FAST channel lineup that includes MovieSphere, HerSphere, OuterSphere and Ebony TV as well as single IP channels such as Nashville and Ghost Hunters.

Jean-Briac “JB” Perrette

President, CEO Global Streaming and Games, Warner Bros. Discovery

JB Perrette

Perrette was behind the rollout this past May of the revised Max streaming platform, which combined HBO Max with Discovery+ content into a unified digital product. Key to the success of the new Max is Perrette’s push for expedited streaming access to theatrical releases, including The Batman in 2022, Dune in 2021 and Barbie this year. “We expect Barbie to do incredibly well,” Perrette said on WBD’s most recent fiscal call. “[Theatrical] continues to be an incredibly important part of the SVOD business.” Separately, Perrette oversees Warner Bros. Discovery’s gaming and interactive entertainment business. Perrette previously served as president and CEO of Discovery Streaming and International. Prior to joining Discovery in 2011 as chief digital officer, he spent 11 years with NBCUniversal, ultimately serving as president of digital and affiliate distribution. During that time, he played a leadership role in creating and developing Hulu, including serving on its board for several years. 

Mike Pears

EVP, Distribution, AMC Networks

Mike Pears

Pears has been busy inking third-party digital distribution deals for AMC Networks’ portfolio of streaming assets, including British-themed Acorn TV, ALLBLK (formerly the Urban Movie Channel), the horror- themed Shudder, AMC+, WEtv, and Sundance Now, among others. In addition to securing foreign licensed content for distribution in the United States, Pears in September signed a distribution deal affording UKTV and BBC Studios with the U.K. and Benelux rights to a number of shows from AMC Networks, including “Mrs. Sidhu Investigates,” “Darby and Joan” season one, “Signora Volpe” season one, and “Whitstable Pearl” seasons one and two for companies’ ad-supported free-to-air channel drama and free streaming service UKTV Play; “Dark Winds” for crime channel Alibi; and Acorn TV’s “The South Westerlies” on UKTV Play. “Both in the U.S. and around the world, we want to make our shows available on a wide variety of platforms, to find new viewers and build awareness of the high-quality content that continues to define our company,” Pears said.

Colin Petrie-Norris & Marcien Jenckes

Chief Revenue Officer and Platform Officer;
President;
Xumo

Marcien Jenckes
Colin Petrie-Norris

As CEO of the old Xumo, Petrie-Norris successfully partnered with the world’s largest television OEMs to revolutionize the way TVs are programmed. With traditional linear TV viewership declining, he recognized the need to change things up. As a result, he spearheaded an initiative that combined linear TV with over-the-top (OTT) content, creating a streaming-centric viewing experience. Petrie-Norris is now chief revenue officer and platform officer for the revamped Xumo, a newly formed joint venture between Comcast and Charter aimed at consolidating consumers’ access points to third-party streaming video platforms. His extensive background establishing and building digital advertising networks afforded him an inside track on how each partner in the joint venture can best monetize digital content. As president of the new Xumo, Jenckes oversees all aspects of the joint venture, including product direction, distribution and market plans, content strategy, and monetization models. Concurrently, he serves as managing director of Comcast Advertising, including Effectv, Comcast Cable’s ad sales division, and FreeWheel, a technology platform connecting buyers and sellers. Prior to taking on these roles, Jenckes served as the president of Comcast Advertising. Before that, he was EVP of Comcast’s consumer services division, overseeing the company’s residential lines of business, including Xfinity Video, Xfinity Internet, Xfinity Home and Xfinity Voice.

Ryan Pirozzi

Head, Amazon Freevee

Ryan Pirozzi

Pirozzi has overseen a rash of content deals this past year for Freevee, Amazon’s free, ad-supported streaming service, which was launched in 2019 as IMDb TV and rebranded to Amazon Freevee in April 2022. Most recently, the service added three lifestyle FAST/live TV channels from All3Media International: “Gardening With Monty Don,” a channel for the cooking competition series “Great British Menu,” and “Fifth Gear,” about automobiles. Pirozzi, who was promoted into his present position in August 2022 after two years as co-head of content and programming, has spearheaded two international launches in the United Kingdom and Germany, Freevee’s first Emmy nominations, and the app’s expansion across household televisions and mobile devices. He also gets credit for securing exclusive streaming-window film deals with major studios such as Disney and NBCUniversal. Prior to joining Freevee, Pirozzi was head of worldwide television and film licensing for Amazon’s Prime Video. Before joining Amazon in 2011, Pirozzi spent seven years at Best Buy, where he led several store categories, including physical and digital video.

Katherine Pond

Group VP, Platform Content and Partnerships, Vizio

Katherine Pond

Pond heads distribution, content acquisition, programming, platform partnerships, and marketing at Vizio, the CE brand that has embraced streaming more fervently than any of its competitors. Since joining the Irvine, Calif.-based company in 2012, Pond has initiated, negotiated, and closed deals across content distribution and acquisition, IP, advertising, and data verticals. She leads the teams responsible for closing deals with Amazon, Apple, Disney, Google, Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery, Sony and more. She also has been instrumental in monetizing new lines of business, including Vizio’s ad-supported WatchFree+ streaming platform. In addition to wearing myriad corporate hats, Pond is passionate about the development and success of future generations, co-founding Vizio’s Ascend Women’s Network. She has received honors including Stream TV Top Executive in Content Distribution (Finalist, 2023), Media Play News’ 40 Under 40 in Home Entertainment (2022) and Women Captains of Home Entertainment (2023), and Next TV’s The Watch List 2020.  

Amy Reinhard

President, Ads, Netflix

Amy Reinhard

Reinhard is driving Netflix’s push into the ad-supported streaming market. She was given the assignment in October 2023, replacing Jeremi Gorman, who, in just a year on the job, orchestrated the November 2022 launch of Netflix’s ad-supported tier. Citing Reinhard’s seven-year tenure at Netflix, co-CEO Greg Peters said the executive had proved to be an exceptionally strong leader, with a deep understanding of the entertainment business and consumer tastes as well as the ability to build lasting partnerships across the industry. “These skills, in particular her strength in TV and film, are critical for the success of our ads business,” Peters said. Reinhard, who previously headed studio operations, joined Netflix in 2016 as a VP of content acquisition after 10 years at Paramount Pictures. There, she oversaw the global licensing of movies and TV shows, in addition to local-language content acquisitions across Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India. Reinhard also spearheaded studio productions and facilities management, among other responsibilities.

William J. Rouhana Jr. & Philippe Guelton

Chairman and CEO;
Chief Revenue Officer;
Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment

Philippe Guelton
Bill Rouhana

Rouhana and Guelton are the powers behind Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, the biggest AVOD network not owned by a major media or tech firm. Rouhana is a former cable exec who realized early on that the subscription streaming model is not sustainable because of its reliance on a single revenue stream — hence, his early push into the ad-supported sector that all the other streamers are jumping into. Guelton is charged with making Rouhana’s vision of multiple revenue streams happen. Earlier this year CSSE launched Crackle Connex, an advertising sales platform designed to simplify the buying process for marketers with consistent measurement and performance tracking. Crackle Connex recently cut a deal with TransUnion to help it develop custom audiences from first-party viewership data and retarget viewers of connected-TV campaigns at Redbox kiosks nationwide. Both Rouhana and Guelton have impressive backgrounds: Rouhana was the founder and CEO of Winstar Communications, a wireless broadband pioneer, and Winstar New Media, one of the earliest online content companies. Guelton prior to joining CSSE in 2019 was CEO of SheKnows Media (now She Media), a digital media company acquired by Penske Media Corp. in 2018. Previously, Guelton served as president of Thrillist Media Group, a leading men’s lifestyle digital brand now part of GroupNine.

Tom Ryan & Jeff Shultz

President and CEO, Streaming, Paramount Global
Chief Strategy Officer, Chief Business Development Officer, Paramount Streaming

Jeff Shultz
Tom Ryan

With Ryan at the helm, Paramount+ has seen considerable growth in 2023, with revenue up 61% year-over-year and the global subscriber count reaching 63 million through September 2023. In June 2023 Ryan expanded the Paramount+ offering with the integration of Showtime. He also orchestrated the November Paramount+ rollouts in Australia, Brazil, Canada and Mexico. Shultz in January helped drive a deal with Delta Air Lines, giving all Delta SkyMiles members free access to Wi-Fi and Paramount+ on Delta domestic flights. In June, Shultz helped forge a partnership with Verizon+Play, which combined the Paramount+ with Showtime offering with Netflix, the first time two major streamers were offered in a bundle together. That pact is the latest in a string of global deals Shultz has been involved with, including partnering with Walmart and its Walmart+ membership platform and making Paramount+ available to Sky TV customers with Sky Cinema at no extra cost. Shultz joined Viacom (now Paramount Global) in 2019, as part of its acquisition of Pluto TV, where he was the chief business officer, reporting to Ryan. Viacom acquired Pluto for $340 million in 2019 and both men came aboard as part of the deal.

Ted Sarandos & Greg Peters

Co-CEOs, Netflix

Greg Peters
Ted Sarandos

Sarandos has spent much of the year as Netflix’s public face on the Hollywood work stoppages. The product of a union household growing up in suburban Phoenix, Sarandos has attempted to straddle the political fence between studios/content producers and non-celebrity working actors who help make Netflix’s programming a reality. In doing so, he has upped his industry profile, offering tough rebuttals to actors’ demands for revenue sharing on streaming subscribers, but also helping bring both sides back to the bargaining table in hopes of ending the strike. Sarandos, a former video retailer, joined Netflix in its infancy and helped grow the company alongside co-founder Reed Hastings, who in July 2020 appointed his longtime content czar co-CEO. Peters in January 2023 was elevated into the same post after Hastings stepped down and became executive chairman. Peters’ job has been to solidify Netflix’s move toward ad-supported streaming, and re-upping excommunicated password freeloaders now mandated with either getting their own subscription or paying a $7.99 monthly fee to continue sharing an existing third-party account. Peters, who speaks five languages, joined the streamer in 2008 and as international development officer helped launch Netflix in Japan. In July 2017 Peters became chief product officer, and in 2020, chief operating officer.

Srinivasan KA

Co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer, Amagi

Srinivasan KA

A technology entrepreneur, Srini leads Amagi’s foray into the CTV-led FAST revolution, enabling content owners and broadcasters to create, distribute and monetize live linear FAST channels. Under Srini’s leadership, Amagi has built deep technical integration with upwards of 50 FAST platforms. Amagi has a market share of more than 25% among unique U.S. FAST channels and supports more than 700 content brands with 3,800-plus channel deliveries. Its customers include NBCUniversal, ABS-CBN, Accuweather, Blue Ant Media, CNN, Gannett and the NFL. The company has doubled in size over the past three years, and has attracted marquee SaaS investors such as Accel, Norwest, Avataar, General Atlantic and Premji Invest. Last year, the company achieved unicorn status, making it one of the highest-valued media tech companies in the world. Srini is a technology entrepreneur with nearly a quarter of a century of experience in establishing and successfully scaling businesses. Before co-founding Amagi in 2008, Srini co-founded wireless audio company ImpulseSoft. He began his career at Texas Instruments as a software engineer.

40 Most Important People in Streaming Luncheon

To celebrate the publication of “The 40 Most Important People in Streaming” in the November 2022 issue of Media Play News, we partnered with OTT.X, the streaming trade association, on a luncheon held Dec. 1 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. The first-ever event was sold out and will likely grow into a much bigger cocktail party in the coming years! Kudos to honorees Paul Colichman of Here TV, Cameron Douglas of Fandango/Vudu, Danny Fisher of FilmRise, Adam Lewinson of Tubi, Gene Pao of Shout! Factory, Katherine Pond of Vizio, and Stefan Van Engen of Xumo who were on hand for the fun, along with Christy Willingham of Xperi (representing honoree Bill Neighbors), Matt Montemayor of Canela Media (representing honoree Isabel Rafferty Zavala), and Tony Huidor of Cinedigm (representing honoree Erick Opeka). (Media Play News staff photos)

The 40 Most Important People in Streaming 2022

In the span of just 15 years, streaming has become the dominant way to watch entertainment in the home or on the go.

Subscription video-on-demand (SVOD), in which consumers, for a monthly fee, get to watch as many movies, series or shows offered by a specific service as they like, now accounts for 80% of all home entertainment spending, dwarfing DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and à la carte digital rentals and purchases.

And yet despite this success, the increasingly competitive streaming business continues to evolve. SVOD has spawned two variants: ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) and free ad-supported television (FAST).

AVOD has two different business models. In the traditional model, viewers can watch movies, TV shows and other programs, on demand, for free, with streaming services making their money from other revenue sources, mostly the sale of advertising. The other model, pioneered more than a decade ago by Hulu, has SVOD services offering subscribers a lower monthly fee in return for watching commercials. FAST offers linear channels supported by ads, just over the internet instead of through cable or broadcast.

Coming up with a list of the 40 most important people in streaming is no easy task. Defining “important” is subjective, and our approach was to not limit ourselves to revenue and subscriber counts lest we come up with a list made up entirely of Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+ executives. We also factored in a variety of other attributes, including the candidate’s role in the development and growth of the streaming business, innovation and creativity, and reaching underserved audiences. Nominations were open to the public, with the final 40 chosen by a blue-ribbon committee assembled by Media Play News’ editorial team.

Here, then, are the 40 most important people in streaming.

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Reed Hastings & Ted Sarandos

Co-CEOs, Netflix

Ted Sarandos
Reed Hastings

They’re the ones who started it all. Hastings, with then-partner Marc Randolph, launched Netflix in 1997 as a DVD-by-mail rental service. A decade later, he and top lieutenant Ted Sarandos, a former video rental dealer, moved into streaming and applied the same all-you-can-watch monthly subscription model they had used to dominate the disc-rental market. Hastings at the time told Forbes Netflix was focused “on convenience and simplicity.” The rest, as they say, is history: Using Hollywood movies as bait, Netflix built a huge subscriber base, initially in the United States, and then went global with a growing slate of original, and often localized, content. As of last month, Netflix had more than 223 million subscribers worldwide. The service is spending upwards of $17 billion on original content. “Big shows that folks engage with and talk about drives a lot of [subscriber] growth,” Sarandos said last month on Netflix’s earnings call. This month, the streamer launched a cheaper ad-supported tier that some analysts believe could boost total revenue by as much as 11%. —TKA

Greg Peters

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Product Officer, Netflix

Greg Peters

“Innovate or Die.” The slogan is practically tattooed to Peters’ forehead. The 14-year Netflix veteran has a lot on his plate, keeping the streamer at the forefront of user-friendly technology. Peters leads the product team, which designs, builds and optimizes the Netflix experience, which includes most recently making sure subscribers pay — via well-timed price hikes, a pending paid sharing option and the lower-cost subscription tier that launched Nov. 3. “We think that this lower subscription price will bring in a lot more members,” Peters said on Netflix’s most recent earnings call. “We see that to be a pretty sticky choice.” Fluent in five languages, Peters previously helped launch Netflix Japan in 2015 and served as international development officer, responsible for the global partnerships with consumer electronics companies, internet service providers and multi-channel video programming distributors that enable Netflix to operate across a range of devices and platforms. —EG

Albert Cheng

VP, Head of Prime Video U.S.

Albert Cheng

Like watching NFL’s “Thursday Night Football”? Cheng helped secure the 11-year, $11 billion exclusive rights to the weekly game. Cheng leads Prime Video’s U.S. and global programming strategy, in addition to overseeing brand, social, influencer marketing, and media and audience insights. He is also responsible for customer acquisition, retention and engagement across SVOD, AVOD and other markets. Cheng, who joined Prime Video parent Amazon in 2015, previously served as COO at Amazon Studios, where he oversaw general management alongside Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios. Cheng previously spent 15 years as an executive at The Walt Disney Co., most recently as EVP of digital media and chief product officer for the Disney/ABC Television Group. During that time, Cheng and his team won four Primetime Emmy Awards, and were the first in history to put TV episodes on iTunes in 2005, stream top broadcast shows online in 2006, stream in HD in 2007, launch an iPad app in 2010, and offer live broadcast network feeds in 2013. —EG

Mike Hopkins

SVP, Prime Video, MGM and Amazon Studios

Mike Hopkins

Hopkins scored a major Hollywood coup last year following the completion of Amazon’s $8.5 billion acquisition of MGM Studios. That mega transaction included more than 4,000 titles and showcase movie franchises such as “James Bond” and “Rocky,” among others. Hopkins, who has an extensive background in television and digital media, joined the e-commerce behemoth in February 2020 and reports directly to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. Hopkins previously served as chairman of Sony Pictures Television, where he oversaw all television production, distribution and marketing operations globally for the studio, as well as Sony Pictures Entertainment’s media networks business. A key accomplishment while he was CEO of Hulu from 2013 to 2017 was the creation of Hulu + Live TV, the online TV platform that now leads the virtual pay-TV market with 4 million subscribers. Hopkins pushed for the move based in part on his background as a former Fox executive in charge of television distribution, including a desire to meld the subscription business with advertising. —EG

Ryan Pirozzi

Head, Amazon Freevee (formerly IMDb TV)

Ryan Pirozzi

Pirozzi helped spearhead two international launches of Freevee in the U.K. and Germany, its first Emmy win, and the app’s expansion across household televisions and mobile devices. Formerly co-head of content and programming for Freevee since 2020, Pirozzi became head of the former IMDb TV platform this past August — spearheading the business side, including overseeing marketing, product functions, and boosting revenue. In his previous role, Pirozzi oversaw a 70% increase of original content on the platform, including the series “Bosch: Legacy,” “Uninterrupted’s Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers” and “Bug Out,” among others. He also secured exclusive streaming-window film deals with major studios such as Disney and NBCUniversal. Prior to joining Freevee, Pirozzi was head of worldwide television and film licensing for Prime Video. Before joining Amazon in 2011, Pirozzi spent seven years at Best Buy, where he led several store categories, including physical and digital video. —EG

Michael Paull

President, Direct to Consumer, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution

Michael Paull

Paull is no stranger to digital distribution. The longtime executive oversees Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and Star+ globally. Paull and his team are responsible for marketing, product, technology, data science and business operations for the streaming services, along with programming and content curation, working closely and collaboratively with the content engines fueling Disney’s direct-to-consumer ecosystem. Paull joined Disney in 2017 with the acquisition of Bamtech Media, a 2015 spinoff from MLB Advanced Media. Paull and his team played a key role in Disney’s pivot to the direct-to-consumer ecosystem, launching ESPN+ in 2018, Disney+ in 2019, and general entertainment platform Star+ in Latin America in August 2021. Before joining Bamtech, Paull spent five years at Amazon, where he ran Amazon Channels worldwide and was responsible for its global content, product, technology, operations and marketing. He also oversaw Prime Video and Amazon’s transactional VOD business in the United States, as well as the development of Prime Music. Before joining Amazon, Paull led Sony Music’s digital business worldwide and held other senior leadership positions with Sony Pictures Entertainment, Fox Entertainment Group and Time Warner. —EG

Joe Earley

President, Hulu

Joe Earley

Earley joined Hulu from Disney+ less than a year ago, replacing Kelly Campbell, who departed to lead NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platform. Earley manages Hulu and the Hulu + Live TV streaming businesses, helping the two units contribute significantly to the Disney Streaming portfolio, which surpassed 221 million subscriptions through June 30. The executive’s expertise greatly contributed to Hulu’s record-breaking year for content, including 58 Emmy nominations, the No. 1 streaming premiere on Hulu to date (20th Century Studios’ Prey) and Hulu’s most-watched series premiere (“The Kardashians”). Earley also helped lead the acquisition of U.S. streaming rights to the award-winning comedy “Schitt’s Creek.” Before joining Hulu, Earley served as EVP of marketing and operations for Disney+, and was responsible for global brand, acquisition, and engagement marketing, programming, and content curation for both Disney+ and Star. In this role, Earley and his teams led the marketing campaign efforts behind the launch and continued global rollout of Disney+ and Star, while collaborating closely on content marketing with teams across the company, including Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. —EG

Alisa Bowen

President, Disney+, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution

Alisa Bowen

Bowen had led global business operations for Disney’s streaming platforms, including Disney+, since the streaming platform’s launch in November 2019. She works closely with key leaders across Disney to drive a continued focus on innovation, including the Dec. 8 launch of the advertising-supported subscription tier, as well as multi-channel promotional support for Disney+ and its content slate. Regional leaders for Disney+ in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), Canada, Asia Pacific and Latin America report to Bowen. She is a seasoned media executive with decades of experience in product, technical, and operational leadership roles in several global media organizations. Before becoming president of Disney+ at the end of September, she served as EVP of global business operations for Disney Streaming, overseeing global content and business operations for the company’s direct-to-consumer video streaming businesses, including Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and Star+. Bowen joined Disney in 2017 as SVP of digital media and CTO of the company’s international operations, a role in which she led a transformation of Disney’s channel broadcast technology, content operations and digital publishing across EMEA, Asia Pacific and Latin America. Prior to joining Disney, Bowen was CTO of News Corp. Australia. —EG

Dan Cohen

Chief Content Licensing Officer, Paramount Global

Dan Cohen

Cohen leads the company’s global content licensing and distribution operations. He is responsible for monetizing a large and growing portfolio of original content that airs or streams on the CBS Television Network, The CW, Paramount+ and Showtime, as well as programming from Paramount Pictures, Paramount Television Studios, CBS Studios, CBS News, CBS Media Ventures, the MTV Entertainment Studios, Nickelodeon, VIS, Miramax and third-party partners. He also runs worldwide home entertainment for the company, overseeing the distribution of the industry’s largest library of film and television titles. Cohen joined Paramount in 2017 as president of worldwide television licensing. Before that, he enjoyed a 20-year run at Disney/ABC, where he most recently served as EVP of pay-television and digital sales for home entertainment and television distribution for Walt Disney Studios. In this role, he distributed catalog and properties such as Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, ABC and Disney Channel to businesses around the globe. Cohen was also responsible for securing two of the most significant pay-television deals in history — Netflix in 2012 and Starz in 1999 — negotiating exclusive multiyear deals and licensing agreements. —TKA

Tom Ryan

President and CEO, Streaming, Paramount Global

Tom Ryan

Ryan helped launch the ad-supported VOD platform Pluto TV in 2014, which Viacom (now Paramount Global) acquired for $340 million in 2019. Since then, Ryan has been fast-tracking both Paramount+ and Pluto’s global rollout, including the former operating in more than 45 countries by the end of the year, and in India in 2023. Paramount+ is set to launch in France on Dec. 1, and in Austria, Germany and Switzerland on Dec. 8. Paramount’s Showtime brand is also continuing its Euro reach in a partnership with Comcast-owned satellite TV operator Sky, doing business as SkyShowtime. In October Ryan was awarded the National Association of Television Program Executives’ (NATPE) inaugural “Award for Executive Leadership in Global Streaming.” “We’re the only player that’s really focused on the combination of both a free- and pay-streaming strategy, and we think that is very powerful,” Ryan said in a media interview. —EG

Jean-Briac ‘JB’ Perrette

CEO and President, Global Streaming and Games, Warner Bros. Discovery

JB Perrette

Perrette is responsible for the recently combined company’s streaming businesses around the world, including management of HBO Max and Discovery+. Perrette will also lead the rollout of an enhanced streaming platform that brings together the HBO Max and Discovery+ content catalogs, which is planned for 2023. Additionally, he oversees Warner Bros. Discovery’s gaming and interactive business, which includes Warner Bros. Games’ publishing and game development operations across all platforms. Perrette most recently served as president and CEO of Discovery Streaming and International. He oversaw and set the strategy for all of Discovery’s businesses outside the United States, including the second-largest broadcast group in Europe and top pay-TV portfolios in Latin America and Asia. Perrette was also responsible for the launch of Discovery+ in 2021. Perrette joined Discovery in 2011 as chief digital officer. Prior to that he spent 11 years with NBCUniversal, ultimately serving as president of digital and affiliate distribution. During that time he played a leadership role in creating and developing Hulu, including serving on its board for several years. —TKA

Tyler Whitworth

SVP, Global Product & Design, Warner Bros. Discovery

Avi Saxena

Chief Technology Officer, Global Digital, Warner Bros. Discovery

Avi Saxena
Tyler Whitworth

Whitworth and Saxena are leading global product and engineering teams to create Warner Bros. Discovery’s enhanced direct-to-consumer streaming platform that will combine the content catalogs from HBO Max and Discovery+ into a single SVOD service. Whitworth is planning the rollout and designing a product that will serve as the streaming home of HBO Max tentpoles such as “House of the Dragon” as well as an expansive catalog of Discovery content across genres such as true crime, home improvement and food. Saxena leads engineering efforts to build a strong and secure tech platform that will host the combined service. Whitworth has more than 20 years of leadership experience that includes a seven-year stint at Amazon, where he led product, design, engineering, science, and analytics teams to build products and services for Amazon’s customers and selling partners worldwide. Saxena also has more than 20 years of experience, more than half of that at Amazon, where he most recently served as VP of technology for Amazon Marketplace. —TKA

Jim Packer

President, Worldwide TV and Digital Distribution, Lionsgate

Jim Packer

Why did Packer just re-up his employment contract at the same time that Lionsgate finds itself at a strategic crossroads contemplating the spin-off of its Starz streaming business and/or studio operations, including theatrical and TV production? Because Packer is a key executive in both businesses, supervising Lionsgate’s global distribution with licensing deals among various platforms such as for the “John Wick”-based original series “The Continental” on NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platform; the CBS series “Ghosts” that also plays on Paramount+; and the award-winning comedy series “Schitt’s Creek” on Hulu. Under Packer’s leadership, Lionsgate has expanded the studio’s Pay 1 movie distribution deal with Starz, in addition to separate Pay 2 deals with Roku and Peacock. A movie’s first pay window typically occurs following its theatrical and home entertainment releases. During Packer’s tenure, Lionsgate’s 17,000-title film and television library has nearly doubled its revenue to almost $800 million. The television distribution group annually licenses 40 to 50 feature films, a slate of TV shows, and Starz original programming, in addition to a library catalog across broadcast, cable, SVOD, AVOD and FAST platforms. —EG

Matt Strauss

Chairman, Direct-to-Consumer and International, NBCUniversal

Matt Strauss

Strauss is responsible for all aspects of Peacock, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, as well as the company’s Fandango and International Networks business units. He was promoted into his present position in August 2020, a year after he joined NBCUniversal to lead Peacock and NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises. Prior to that, he was EVP of Xfinity Services for Comcast Cable, where he led the strategy and development of products and services that served more than 30 million customers across Comcast’s residential lines of business — including Xfinity TV, one of the nation’s largest pay-TV distributors of video and entertainment services; Xfinity Internet, the nation’s largest gig provider; Xfinity Home; and Xfinity Voice. Prior to joining the senior management team at Comcast in 2004, Strauss was EVP and GM of Rainbow Media’s on-demand service Mag Rack, where he pioneered the video-on-demand model with one of the first national on-demand networks. Earlier, he held several management positions with Disney-ABC, including serving in the strategic planning department for the ABC Television Network. —TKA

Kelly Campbell

President, Peacock and Direct-to-Consumer, NBCUniversal

Kelly Campbell

Since taking the helm of NBCUniversal’s streaming service a little more than a year ago, Campbell has engineered a strategic shift toward growing the hybrid SVOD/AVOD provider’s paying customers. Peacock has 27 million active monthly accounts, but only 15 million are paid subscriptions. Her focus is on next-day streams of NBC and Bravo shows, which in late September became available on Peacock rather than Hulu, their previous streaming home. Among them are such popular series as “Saturday Night Live,” “The Voice” and the “Law & Order” franchise. Prior to joining Peacock, Campbell, too, was at Hulu, spending four years there as chief marketing officer and then president. Before that, she spent more than a decade at Google, where she held a variety of leadership and marketing roles across the Google Ads and Google Cloud businesses. She began her career in investment banking at JPMorgan Chase. Campbell has received numerous honors, including spots on Media Play News’ Women in Home Entertainment, Business Insider’s Most Innovative CMOs, and AdAge’s Women to Watch lists. —TKA

Keith Le Goy

Chairman, Worldwide Networks and Distribution, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Keith Le Goy

Le Goy oversees the physical and digital distribution of Sony Pictures’ film, television and other content to all media and retail platforms, as well as Sony Pictures Television’s networks around the world. And while Sony Pictures is the only major studio without its own general entertainment streaming service, though it has two targeted streamers, Crunchyroll and Pure Flix, Le Goy’s deal-making prowess has helped lead the company to its highest profits in its history. Distribution deals during Le Goy’s watch include a licensing agreement with Netflix for “Seinfeld”; the sale of “Seinfeld” cable rights to Viacom; various lucrative content deals with Netflix and Disney; and integrating the Funimation and Crunchyroll brands under the Crunchyroll banner. Prior to assuming his present position in 2018, Le Goy spent 10 years as president of distribution for Sony Pictures Television (SPT). He joined SPT in 1999 as SVP of European distribution and later took charge of distribution in Latin America. “Sony’s unique position as an independent, content-driven studio allows us to focus on maximizing the value of everything we distribute,” Le Goy says. —TKA

Danny Fisher

CEO, FilmRise

Danny Fisher

Fisher heads the largest third-party provider of content in the AVOD/FAST space. An early advocate of the ad-supported model long before most in the industry took it seriously, Fisher helped fuel the growth of AVOD and, more recently, the proliferation of FAST channels. A veteran film and television producer, financier and distributor, Fisher co-founded FilmRise in 2012 and developed a proprietary data analytics methodology that measures viewer demand for content. This development led to a decade of soaring and strategic growth, with tens of thousands of FilmRise titles now streaming all over the world. FilmRise releases content to Amazon’s Prime Video, The Roku Channel, Peacock, Pluto TV, Freevee, Crackle, Tubi and many more, with more than 40,000 hours of content in its library. Fisher also created the FilmRise streaming network, the largest independently owned AVOD service in the United States. Prior to launching FilmRise, Fisher for nearly 30 years ran the City Lights Media Group, a film and television production and distribution company with one of New York’s largest post-production facilities. —TKA

Adam Lewinson

Chief Content Officer, Tubi

Adam Lewinson

These are heady times for Lewinson and Tubi. Fox Entertainment’s AVOD/FAST platform just ended the most-recent fiscal quarter with a record 1.3 billion hours viewed, with ad-revenue topping the advertising revenue generated by Fox Entertainment’s linear-TV platforms for the first time. Lewinson oversees content strategy, acquisitions and original content development and production for Tubi, including deals with more than 500 content partners. He has launched more than 60 Tubi Originals to date, including “The Freak Brothers” with Pete Davidson, “Hot Take: The Depp/Heard Trial” and the recent remake of “Terror Train,” with more than 100 originals in development and production this year. Previously he was SVP of programming/marketing at Sony Pictures Television and the AVOD platform Crackle (now owned by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment). He was instrumental in the launch of Crackle’s original series and movies. Lewinson was also the programming executive on Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” (2016 Primetime Emmy nominee), including the most-viewed episode with President Barack Obama. Previously, Lewinson spent more than a decade at FX Networks, spearheading the launch of FXM (formerly Fox Movie Channel). —EG

Miguel Penella

President of Streaming Services, AMC Networks

Miguel Penella

Penella is no stranger to the SVOD frontlines. For years, he successfully led British-themed streamer Acorn TV against industry behemoth Netflix and market competitor BritBox. As president of streaming services at AMC Networks, Penella is also responsible for Shudder, Sundance Now and ALLBLK, as well as AMC+. He oversees WE tv, AMC Networks’ unscripted lifestyle network; IFC Films, a highly regarded distributor of independent film; and AMC Networks International, the company’s global division. Prior to joining AMC Networks, Penella was CEO of RLJ Entertainment when it was acquired by AMC Networks in 2018. He previously served as chief operating officer and was a board member. From 2007 to October 2012, Penella was CEO of Acorn Media Group (which was acquired by RLJE in October 2012), where he oversaw operations and was the driving force behind the worldwide expansion of the Acorn brand, including the acquisition of a majority of Agatha Christie Limited and the launch of Acorn TV, the company’s first proprietary subscription SVOD channel. From 2004 to 2007 Penella was president of Acorn’s direct-to-consumer operations offering DVDs through mail-order catalogs and e-commerce. —EG

Erick Opeka

Chief Strategy Officer, Cinedigm

Erick Opeka

Opeka is a busy guy. The executive has been operating on overdrive, spearheading Cinedigm’s transition from home entertainment content distributor to facilitator of branded SVOD, AVOD and FAST streaming platforms across myriad genres and special interests. The company just hit a theatrical home run with the slasher film Terrifier 2, which is now streaming on Cinedigm’s ScreamBox SVOD/AVOD platform. The concurrent theatrical/SVOD strategy underscores Opeka’s desire to pull as many distribution levers as possible to maximize content incremental revenue opportunities. Prior to assuming his present position in January 2021, Opeka was president of digital networks. In that role, he helmed Cinedigm’s planning, development, launch, and operations of a growing roster of digital-first channels, which include the factual network Docurama; fandom lifestyle network CONtv; gaming and eSports network WHAM; the family friendly Dove Channel and Dove Kids; combat sports network Combat Go; Asian pop culture network HallyPop; soccer-themed Real Madrid TV; the Chinese entertainment channel Bambu; and Cineverse, a platform showcasing proprietary and third-party streaming channels. —EG

Bill Rouhana

Chairman and CEO, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment

Bill Rouhana

A more than 30-year veteran of the media business, Rouhana heads the biggest AVOD network not owned by a major media or technology conglomerate. Since buying Chicken Soup for the Soul in 2008, he has built what at the time was a book publishing company into a publicly traded operator of video-on-demand streaming services that include Crackle, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Popcornflix and, most recently, Redbox, an August 2022 acquisition that brought the company more than 145 free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channels, the Redbox AVOD app, as well as a TVOD service and legacy disc-rental kiosks. Rouhana chuckles at the hurried entry into AVOD of the major streamers, particularly Netflix. “The subscription video guys … made the mistake of thinking that somehow or another they were going to get their money back [that they spent] on buying content just from subscriptions, and it’s proved to be completely false,” he told Media Play News last August. “So now they’re all coming to AVOD because they need more money.” —TKA

Galen Smith

Executive Vice Chairman, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, and former CEO, Redbox

Jonathan Katz

President, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment

Jonathan Katz
Galen Smith

Smith and Katz are Bill Rouhana’s top lieutenants at one of the leading AVOD services — and one with ambitious and strategic growth plans. As CEO of Redbox from 2016 until the company’s sale to Chicken Soup earlier this year, Smith led the DVD rental kiosk company through a digital transformation that saw it shift focus to digital distribution and all its incarnations — AVOD, TVOD and FAST. At Chicken Soup, he now oversees all long-term planning for the company, including strategy, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate services. Katz runs day-to-day operations, including the company’s streaming, kiosk, distribution and studio businesses. He’s a digital distribution veteran who launched Bounce TV on the secondary digital channels of TV stations around the country, rebooted Court TV, and in 2017 sold Katz Networks, his digital over-the-air startup, to E.W. Scripps for more than $300 million. He subsequently spent two years as COO and head of entertainment for Scripps’ National Networks unit. Chicken Soup expects to finish 2022 with a run rate exceeding $500 million of revenue and $100 million to $150 million of adjusted EBITDA. —TKA

Alison Hoffman

President, Domestic Networks, Starz

Alison Hoffman

Hoffman oversees key domestic network operations for Starz, the global media streaming platform owned by Lionsgate. Hoffman was one of the executives responsible for launching the Starz app and managing the network’s direct-to-consumer business. She has worked closely with partners including Amazon, Hulu and Apple to successfully launch Starz on new platforms while continuing to build the Starz brand. She played a vital role in the launch of Starz Originals slate, which includes such hits as the “Power” franchise, “Outlander,” “P-Valley” and “Gaslit” among many others. “At Starz, we remain focused on premium programming and cater to audiences who have been traditionally underserved in the landscape, particularly women and viewers from underrepresented communities,” she told Media Play News in October. “We drop our series week-to-week instead of binging them so that there can be a communal experience and a cultural conversation that plays out over a sustained period of time. And we don’t look to the same people to run our shows that have gotten all the opportunities in the past.” —TKA

Andrea Downing

President, PBS Distribution

Andrea Downing

Downing has led PBS Distribution into the streaming era. Over the past six years, she and her team have launched six digital subscription channels on Amazon Prime Video Channels — PBS Masterpiece (U.S. and Canada), PBS Kids, PBS Living, PBS Documentaries and PBS America (U.K.) — and, most recently, unveiled eight FAST channels and struck AVOD deals with several major streaming platforms. When PBS Distribution launched in 2009 as a joint venture between PBS and GBH, 90% of revenue came from DVD. Today, Downing says, more than 90% of revenue comes from streaming. Even before streaming’s big bump during the pandemic, Downing was partial to multi-platform releases with big PBS titles, including Ken Burns documentaries, available the same day on disc, through digital retailers and on streaming channels. “Reaching viewers across multiple platforms is critical to our public service mission,” she says. Downing is also actively involved in DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, speaking at seminars and webinars, mentoring women in the industry, and serving on the steering committee for the D2C Alliance. —TKA

Cameron Douglas

VP of Home Entertainment, Fandango, and Lead Executive for Vudu

Cameron Douglas

Douglas is best known in the home entertainment industry for his stewardship of Vudu, one of the leading digital retailers in the TVOD arena. But he also oversees Vudu’s fast-growing AVOD service, which offers thousands of movies and TV shows viewers can watch on demand, for free. Douglas began his career holding various analytics and marketing roles at Disney, Fox, DreamWorks and Paramount. He moved into the digital entertainment space in 2013 as SVP of content for M-GO, the DreamWorks Animation/Technicolor joint venture, prior to its acquisition by Fandango and rebranding as FandangoNow in 2016. He oversaw multiple years of double-digit growth in this era, beating the market with a focus on content and core consumer experience. In 2018, Douglas was elected chairman of OTT.X, the trade group for the streaming industry. With the acquisition of Vudu in 2020, Fandango firmly established itself as the No. 3 player in the competitive transactional space as well as a growing contender in the AVOD arena, which the service entered six years ago. —TKA

Jamie Erlicht & Zack Van Amburg

Heads of Worldwide Video, Apple

Zack Van Amburg
Jamie Erlicht

Erlicht and Van Amburg have joint custody over Apple TV+, which in the three years since it launched in November 2019 has grown from an also-ran into a viable contender in the high-stakes SVOD competition. After 12 years as co-presidents of Sony Pictures Television, the pair moved to Apple in 2017 to prepare for the launch of Apple TV+. After a slow start, Apple TV+ gained steam with originals and in 2021 became the first streamer to win the Best Picture Academy Award with CODA, a Sundance Film Festival hit that Apple acquired for a record $25 million. Apple TV+ snapped up that prize in only its second year in the film business, besting veteran streamers such as Netflix and Amazon. Erlicht and Van Amburg also set up deals with A24, Skydance and Imagine, among others. This year, Apple earned a record 52 Emmy nominations across 13 titles. The streamer ended up winning nine Emmy Awards, including four for “Ted Lasso,” a back-to-back winner for Best Comedy Series. —SP

Devin Griffin

EVP and GM, BET+

Devin Griffin

Griffin heads the leading SVOD service focused on the African-American audience. BET+ has more than 2,000 hours of premium content, including exclusive new original programming and fan-favorite series, movies and specials from BET Networks, world-renowned creator Tyler Perry, and a host of leading African-American content creators. Griffin, who reports to BET Networks president Scott Mills, manages the BET+ profit and loss, and oversees business strategy and operations, including original programming, content acquisitions, marketing, distribution, planning and analysis. Prior to joining BET+ in 2019, Griffin was a producer and EVP at Story Lab US, where he co-founded and led the company’s foray into premium long-form content development. In less than a year he developed original series with Anonymous Content, ITV, Stephen David Entertainment and the NBA Players Association. Previously, he held various senior content roles at Netflix. He formed and led the company’s unscripted group, commissioning and/or executive producing more than 40 series, including the Emmy Award-winning “Queer Eye” and the Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance. He also worked extensively on scripted drama, comedy, sci-fi and anime. Earlier in his career Griffin served as head of business development at Broadway Video, Lorne Michaels’ production company. —TKA

Anthony Wood

Founder and CEO, Roku

Anthony Wood

Wood joined Netflix in 2007 during its DVD-by-mail rental heyday as VP of internet TV. He helped guide the company’s pioneering streaming VOD aspirations with the launch of a branded Netflix streaming video player that would evolve into the Roku set-top box. Netflix was an early investor before selling its stake. In addition to selling streaming devices and HDMI sticks, Roku now markets a line of Chinese-made smart televisions, in addition to a branded operating system for third-party consumer electronics. The San Jose, Calif.-based company also operates an ad-supported VOD platform, The Roku Channel, which boasts more than 60 million platform subscribers. Roku is now upping investment in original content after it acquired programming from the short-lived Quibi streaming platform in 2021. “It doesn’t take nearly as much to convince someone to watch a free movie or TV show,” Wood said in a media interview. “So, for us … it just makes more sense to [create content] ourselves. We are looking for shows that work well with the AVOD business model.” —EG

Mark Garner

EVP, Global Content Sales and Business Development, A+E Networks

Mark Garner

Garner is focused on how best to monetize A+E Networks’ vast library of owned and original content through partnerships with traditional and emerging content distribution platforms. Under the leadership of Stephen MacDonald, president of global content licensing and international, he has led the charge to position A+E Networks as an essential partner for streamers. He has guided the company’s early adoption of FAST while continuing to grow and monetize A+E’s footprint across AVOD and SVOD platforms. Garner and his team have also tapped into new revenue sources by expanding into podcasting and new business initiatives that optimize A+E Networks’ creative IP. “The ways in which our content is being consumed is essentially TV 3.0,” Garner says. “These are the newest iterations of storytelling delivery.” Prior to joining A+E Networks in 2007, Garner worked as an executive at several start-up ventures, including a satellite broadcast network based in Johannesburg, South Africa, where he successfully built the network’s distribution to 22 sub-Saharan countries.  —TKA

Katherine Pond

Group VP, Vizio

Katherine Pond

Pond could be excused for wearing running shoes to the office. She has been a blur of activity in 2022, spearheading the consumer electronics manufacturer’s foray into ad-supported VOD and free ad-supported streaming television (FAST). Pond leads the teams responsible for digital distribution, content acquisition and programming, platform partnerships, content and partner marketing, and enterprise programs. Notable accomplishments this year include distribution deals with Scripps Company Channels, Starz, TikTok, A&E, Sling TV, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Amazon Music, and Disney, Sony and Warner on-demand movies. Since joining Vizio in 2012, Pond has initiated, negotiated and completed deals across content distribution and acquisition, IP technology, advertising and data verticals. She has a history of building, growing and monetizing new lines of business, including Vizio’s owned-and-operated service WatchFree+. Other content distribution deals include Apple, Google and Netflix, among others. “The content addition marks another significant advancement in our commitment to provide our users with access to the programming they love and endless entertainment options for millions of users who begin their entertainment journey with Vizio,” Pond says. —EG

Stefan Van Engen

SVP, Content Programming and Partnerships, Xumo

Stefan Van Engen

Van Engen develops, leads and executes the content programming and acquisition strategy for Xumo, Comcast and Charter’s streaming platform joint venture. His oversight includes Xumo’s FAST service, content store and app partners. Since joining the company in 2016, he has launched VOD and FAST channels for providers such as the PGA Tour, History Channel Shorts, Hallmark Movies & More, and Fox TV’s Divorce Court — all industry-first FAST channels. Xumo now has more than 250 channels and more than 12,000 on-demand choices. Xumo’s growth, Van Engen says, “has been fueled by our unique dual-pronged approach. One part of our business serves content in a direct-to-consumer application, while the second part of our business provides a complete advertising and content offering for our enterprise customers. Under the newly formed joint venture between Charter and Comcast, the brand now represents an entire streaming ecosystem inclusive of content, devices and an underlying operating system.” Prior to joining Xumo, Van Engen was SVP of programming and production for the digital startup Bedrocket Media Ventures and, before that, co-executive producer of “The Gayle King Show” for O.W.N. —TKA

Mitchel Berger

SVP, Global Commerce, Crunchyroll

Mitchel Berger

Berger oversees all consumer products, merchandise, content sales and theatrical businesses for Crunchyroll, the biggest anime streaming service in the world. Crunchyroll serves millions of fans in more than 200 countries and territories, and boasts an anime library with 44,000 episodes of series and films, with new series added daily. Berger is credited with managing the distribution of 10 of the top 20 highest-grossing anime releases of all time in North America, including Demon Slayer: Mugen Train in 2021, Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero in 2022, and Jujutsu Kaisen, also in 2022. Berger was responsible for instituting the “next-day” digital-sellthrough strategy, bringing both subtitled and dubbed episodes of new anime shows to major digital retailers within 48 hours of their premiere on Funimation. Berger has also helped establish the Funimation Shop e-commerce business as the premier hub for Funimation merchandise, home entertainment and collectibles. Prior to joining Crunchyroll and Funimation, Berger spent 21 years with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, most recently as SVP of sales, category management and customer marketing for North America. —TKA

Jennie Baird

EVP and Managing Director, Digital News and Streaming, BBC Studios

Jennie Baird

Baird is known as a digital media trailblazer. Throughout her career she has driven growth and innovation for some of the industry’s most-successful digital brands. At BBC Studios, Baird is leading the development of the company’s vision and investment plans to continue driving growth and audiences for the BBC’s digital news products around the globe. This includes BBC Studios’ direct-to-consumer documentary service, BBC Select, and BBC Podcasts. Before joining BBC Studios in February 2022, Baird served as SVP and global head of product at News Corp. There, she was responsible for developing digital solutions for Dow Jones, News UK, News Corp Australia, the New York Post, Storyful, Realtor.com, Foxtel and HarperCollins Publishers. Prior to that she held various roles at a number of large-scale digital businesses, including AOL, iVillage and Entertainment Weekly. Earlier in her career, she was instrumental in bringing the pioneering and award-winning website SmartMoney.com to market in the mid-1990s. She also co-founded the cult baby name website BabyNameWizard.com, exiting with a sale to CafeMedia. —TKA

Steve Walter

Global Marketing Lead, Verizon Business Group’s Sports, Media, Entertainment and Technology Practice

Steve Walter

Walter is known for his vision of how technology can evolve the industry from a physical infrastructure to a workflow that lives in the cloud. At Verizon, he works on go-to-market strategies and tactics for a broad base of virtualized and cloud-based content contribution-distribution workflow solutions. An experienced executive in the global entertainment industry, Walter has specific expertise in strategic planning, bringing new services to market, monetizing IP, and developing innovative partnerships with businesses at the intersection of media and technology. He has longstanding relationships with C-level executives at the largest global media companies, agencies and vendors in the tech ecosystem. Over the course of a 28-year career in the industry, Walter has maintained a successful track record in creating new media product launches and executing corporate strategic plans and solutions. “Delivering live video over 5G networks is no longer just a theory,” he says. “5G deployment is real and has the power to transform the way content is produced, distributed and consumed.” —TKA

Bill Neighbors

Chief Content Officer, Xperi Corp.

Bill Neighbors

His hobby might be fly-fishing, but professionally Neighbors is out to hook consumers up with the best-possible entertainment experience. At Xperi, Neighbors has global oversight of the functional group responsible for acquiring access to, and enabling the distribution of, entertainment content to cinemas, homes and individuals through a wide array of Xperi-enabled devices and technologies. Since merging with TiVo in June 2020, Xperi has become one of the largest licensing companies in the world. Other Xperi brands and partnerships include DTS, the audio and imaging technologies company; Imax Enhanced, which offers an immersive viewing experience by bringing together best-in-class certified devices, remastered content and elevated streaming second only to a theater; and TiVo, whose recent launch of the TiVo Media Platform is set to bring a rich content-first experience to millions of consumers around the world. Neighbors has worked in the entertainment technology industry for more than 30 years spanning the music, TV and motion picture sectors, including his role as a foundational leader at DTS in 1993. —TKA

Chris Blandy

Director of Strategy and Business Development for Media and Entertainment, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

Chris Blandy

Blandy is streaming’s behind-the-scenes tech wizard. He leads strategy and business development for the Media and Entertainment business unit, working with customers and partners to drive innovation across a number of M&E solution areas, including content production and direct-to-consumer. Blandy has a keen understanding of the inner workings of production, distribution and monetization of content. While he is known for his impressive grasp of networking technologies used in broadband video, he is equally recognized for his enthusiasm and reliability as a valued partner in moving the industry to a cloud-based solution. Blandy joined AWS in 2021 after 21 years at Fox Networks and Disney. Most recently he was EVP of technology solutions at Fox Networks Engineering and Operations, where he oversaw systems design, implementation, program management, capital planning and sustaining engineering for broadcast, cable and digital platforms. He previously worked for several years in Fox’s interactive media division, overseeing video platform initiatives, and served as technical lead for the launch team that laid the foundations for Hulu. —TKA

Paul Colichman

CEO, Here Media

Paul Colichman

Colichman heads the world’s leading multimedia company targeting the LGBTQ+ consumer through, among other vehicles, Here TV, the world’s first SVOD LGBTQ+ streaming service, and PlanetOut, the world’s largest LGBTQ+ AVOD service. The two streamers reach millions of viewers each month and have earned five Daytime Emmy Award nominations. Colichman won the 2021 Daytime Emmy Award for the short-form documentary series “Girls’ Voices Now,” a social-justice program that amplifies the voices of young women from underrepresented communities in Los Angeles by teaching them documentary filmmaking. Colichman is a well-regarded motion picture executive with more than 20 years of experience who has produced and/or distributed more than 150 motion pictures and television series episodes, including the Academy Award-winning films Departures, Tom and Viv, and Gods and Monsters. Colichman previously owned the largest LGBTQ+ publishing brands for a decade, including The Advocate, OUT Magazine, Pride.com and Gay.com. He currently serves on the board of directors of streaming trade association OTT.X. Colichman is also the founder and chair of the OTT.X Social Impact Awards, which recognizes creators, producers, and channels that are using the power of streaming video to make a positive impact. —TKA

Isabel Rafferty Zavala

Founder and CEO, Canela Media

Isabel Rafferty Zavala

Rafferty Zavala heads one of the top Hispanic media companies — and the parent of Canela.TV, a free Spanish-language streamer that serves more than 28 million unique users in the United States, Mexico and Latin America. Canela.TV was launched in May 2020 as the first AVOD service built exclusively for Latinos by Latinos. It features series, movies, sports, documentaries, telenovelas and other programming in Spanish. The company’s revenue for 2022 is projected to nearly double from 2021. In September Canela.TV made the jump into original content. Prior to starting Canela Media, she founded Mobvious, a mobile-advertising company aimed at U.S. Hispanics and African-Americans. The company quickly became the largest Hispanic-focused ad network and was acquired by PRISA in 2017. In addition to being a minority woman CEO in an industry dominated by men, Rafferty Zavala is one of the few Latinas to successfully secure VC funding for her company, with tremendous support from women-led funds. Earlier this year, she was named Entrepreneur of the Year New York by E&Y. —TKA

Gene Pao

EVP of Strategy and Digital, Shout! Factory

Gene Pao

Pao in 2015 launched Shout’s digital streaming business and Shout! Factory TV. Under Pao’s direction, Shout! Factory has been a pioneer in digital streaming since launching its first AVOD and FAST services on adRise (now Tubi) and Pluto TV. Shout! Factory TV has since expanded to AVOD on Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, and branded channels on a wide range of platforms; to SVOD on Roku and Amazon Prime Video; and to FAST with eight channels (Shout! Factory TV, the Mystery Science Theater 3000 channel, Johnny Carson TV, The Carol Burnett Show channel, TokuSHOUTsu, the ALF channel, Scream Factory TV, and Shout! Cult, with more to come). Shout! had two of the first FAST channels with professionally produced content on Pluto TV, and was part of the first set of FAST channels launched on Samsung TV+, IMDb TV, Xumo, Comcast Xfinity, Vizio, STIRR, LocalNow, Redbox and Twitch. Pao’s 20-year career in digital media started in 1997 at Digitas, a digital marketing agency. In 1999 he joined Firstlook.com, which pioneered the use of digital video for promoting music, movies and video game titles. —TKA

Scott Olechowski

Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Plex

Scott Olechowski

Olechowski is responsible for product strategy, product management, and business development for Plex’s software and services. A pioneer in streaming media, he co-founded the company as a hobby, with the intent of making organizing and accessing digital media easy and seamless. Today, Plex is available in 180 countries and is considered among the most comprehensive entertainment platforms available, serving as a one-stop destination to discover, assemble a watch list, and stream almost every movie and TV show. Tom’s Guide recently called Plex “the best media server you can get right now,” noting that “not only are Plex apps available on the best streaming devices, but a mastery of Plex will complement the best Netflix shows and the best Hulu movies.” Over the past 25 years Olechowski has applied his entrepreneurial know-how and spirit to a number of software- and internet-focused start-ups. His professional experience includes executive positions in product strategy, business development, marketing, and international sales for a number of established brands such as Cisco, PostX and IronPort. He is an expert in cryptography with six issued encryption and authentication patents. —TKA