Women in Home Entertainment 2021: Meet the Captains and See What They Have to Say

Like the world in general, Hollywood was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Productions were halted, theaters were shut, and stay-at-home orders, along with a proliferation of streaming services, led to a surge in home viewing.

But one of the few things the pandemic did not disrupt was the progress of women in Hollywood. In June, women accounted for seven of 12 governors elected for the first time to the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. UCLA’s 2021 Hollywood Diversity Report, released in April, found that in the top 185 films of 2020, women made up 47.8% of lead actors and 41.3% of overall casts — up from 44.1% and 40.2%, respectively, in the prior year.

Behind the scenes, there have been gains as well — although there’s still much work to be done. The Diversity Report found that women made up 26% of film writers and 20.5% of directors, up from 17.4% and 15.1% the year before. And on the studio level, data was conspicuously absent from the 2021 Hollywood Diversity Report — which the year before found that at the top 11 studios, only 18% of C-level positions, and 20% of all senior executive positions, were held by women.

At Media Play News, we believe further change will be driven by raising the profile of the female executives we do have and celebrating their achievements. As Serena Williams once said, “The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another.”

SEE ALSO: WOMEN IN HOME ENTERTAINMENT 2021 — THE TEAMS

Our fourth annual Women in Home Entertainment report once again features a special focus on the top “captains” who are driving the business, an elite group that this year has grown to 15 (from 12 the year before) in recognition of the blurring of lines between traditional home entertainment, television, streaming and other channels of distribution, as well as the growing number of women in high-profile executive positions. Six are new to the list; three returning executives have expanded roles and broadened responsibilities. They all have very important jobs — and they all have some equally important things to say.

THE CAPTAINS OF HOME ENTERTAINMENT: WHO THEY ARE

Bela Bajaria

Head of Global TV, Netflix

Bela Bajaria

Bajaria was named head of global TV for Netflix in 2020, overseeing English-language and local-language scripted and unscripted series around the world. Bajaria leads the team for all of television and is responsible for hit series including “Bridgerton,” “The Queen’s Gambit,” “Lupin” and “Cobra Kai.” Prior to joining Netflix in 2016, Bajaria was president of Universal Television, where she made history as the first woman of color to oversee a studio. Earlier, she held two key posts simultaneously: SVP of cable programming for CBS TV Studios, and SVP of movies and miniseries for CBS Network. Bajaria has been honored by The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment list and Variety’s L.A. Women’s Impact Report, and she was named one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in 2020. Bajaria has been honored by the “I Have a Dream” Foundation of L.A. and The March of Dimes Foundation and was given the Industry Leadership Award from the L.A. Indian Film Festival.

Michele Bell

EVP, Worldwide Creative Services, Paramount Home Entertainment

Michele Bell

Bell oversees all of the division’s product packaging and digital design, in-store and online creative assets, and print, broadcast and online advertising. Bell is recognized for navigating the ever-changing home entertainment landscape with creative solutions that reach a wide range of consumers across traditional retailers and emerging digital platforms. Under her direction, the home entertainment creative team pivoted rapidly to develop assets, trailers, and tailored advertising to launch Paramount’s first PVOD releases in 2020 with tremendous success. Her focus is on developing compelling, persuasive and disruptive creative assets that demand attention and drive consumer sales. Before joining Paramount in 2005, Bell was VP of creative services at what was then Universal Studios Home Entertainment for nearly four years and, before that, VP of creative services at New Line Cinema, also for four years.

Kelly Campbell

President, Hulu

Kelly Campbell

Campbell manages Hulu’s suite of on-demand and live-streaming businesses within the Walt Disney Co.’s Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED) business unit. Late last year, she was given additional oversight of Disney’s Digital Media and Movies Anywhere businesses. Campbell previously served as chief marketing officer of Hulu, where she led Hulu’s overall marketing across the SVOD and Live TV businesses. As CMO, Campbell worked closely with the company’s technology, distribution, content and product leaders to ensure that Hulu’s consumer proposition and brand was reflected in every aspect of the Hulu experience. Prior to Hulu, Campbell was managing director of growth marketing for Google Cloud. Campbell has earned several industry accolades, including one of Business Insider’s Most Innovative CMOs, Cynopsis Media’s Top Women in Digital Media, AdAge’s Women to Watch, FierceCable’s The Fierce 50: Executives Reshaping the Business of Pay-TV, and Forbes’ Most Influential Global CMOs list.

Andrea Downing

President, PBS Distribution

Andrea Downing

With more than 20 years of experience in the media and entertainment business, Downing has a successful history of leading organizations in dynamic landscapes. Her vision for PBS Distribution led to the transformation of the organization’s initial focus on physical goods to multichannel, multi-format distribution, with a diversified portfolio of businesses, including three direct-to-consumer, subscription video-on-demand services at its core. This evolution has created significant growth and profitability. Her vision for PBS Distribution has evolved the focus of the organization to a global distribution company. A strategic leader with an extensive operational background, Downing embraces change to transform organizations with new business strategies and products. Prior to joining PBS Distribution, she was director of operations for Discovery Communications, managing the domestic and international consumer products division. She currently serves on the boards of PBS Distribution, PBS America and DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, as well as the DEG’s Canon Club Advisory Board.

Kathleen Gallagher

EVP, Global Physical Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Kathleen Gallagher

Gallagher assumed her present position in 2020 and is charged with leading Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s physical home entertainment operations worldwide, overseeing the company’s North American joint distribution venture Studio Distribution Services (SDS) with WarnerMedia, as well as a diverse slate of licensing and distribution partnerships around the world with partners including WarnerMedia, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Paramount Pictures. Among the distributed lines under Gallagher’s purview are films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination, NBC Universal, Entertainment One, Funimation, Shout! Factory and STX. Gallagher previously served for two years as EVP and GM of North America. Before that she was SVP of sales, customer marketing and category management for UPHE’s U.S. physical sellthrough and rental businesses. She started at Universal in 2000 as assistant category manager and served in various sales, category management and customer marketing positions. Gallagher began her career in 1999 at Sony Pictures Entertainment (at the time, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment).

Rebecca Heap

SVP, Consumer Products and Propositions, Comcast Corp.

Rebecca Heap

Heap leads Consumer Products & Propositions for Xfinity, which is the nation’s largest pay-TV distributor of video and entertainment services. With a strategic focus on innovation and seamless access to the best entertainment experiences across platforms, Comcast has introduced next-generation video products and services under the Xfinity brand that transcend traditional TV, including Xfinity X1, the company’s flagship entertainment platform for its TV customers, and Xfinity Flex, a 4K streaming device that enables Xfinity Internet customers to easily find all of their streaming services and manage their connected home network. Heap has 20 years of international experience in telecommunications and digital media spanning a broad range of responsibilities across strategy, product, pricing and packaging, commissioning, acquisitions, programming, and distribution. Prior to joining Comcast, she was head of distribution, programming and digital for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, responsible for the strategic growth and development of its digital and broadcast platforms to maximize reach and impact.

Alison Hoffman

President, Domestic Networks, Starz

Alison Hoffman

Hoffman oversees domestic network operations for Starz, including all aspects of marketing and promotion, product development, distribution, analytics, and program operations. She previously served as chief marketing officer, responsible for spearheading brand and content marketing for the network, driving acquisition for the Starz app and delivering data-driven insights that support all facets of the business. Hoffman was one of the key 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 as the premium streaming content platform appealing to female audiences around the world. She’s led campaigns for the entire Starz Originals slate, including “Power,” “Outlander,” “Vida” and “American Gods.” In the past year, Hoffman assumed oversight of program operations and built world-class acquisition marketing and insights and analytics departments for Starz from the ground up.

Hilary Hoffman

EVP, Global Marketing, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Hilary Hoffman

Hoffman oversees strategic marketing for Universal and its distributed lines worldwide across feature film new-release, library and TV properties. Her responsibilities encompass defining go-to-market strategies and the company’s overall approach for consumer engagement, including developing and leveraging new platforms and technologies as well as direct-to-consumer initiatives to drive profitable growth. She is responsible for creative, digital content, retail marketing, media, digital marketing, publicity and consumer insights. Hoffman has developed cross-divisional efforts within Comcast/NBC Universal, resulting in increased exposure for key releases. Her focus on the digital space is ongoing with marketing initiatives across paid, owned and earned platforms that improve targeting and direct-to-consumer outreach. Additionally, she serves as UPHE’s key representative on priority industry initiatives, with a particular focus on evolving new and emerging technologies into revenue generating businesses.

Dametra Johnson-Marletti

Corporate VP, Category Management, Digital Storefronts, Microsoft Corp.

Dametra Johnson-Marletti

Johnson-Marletti is responsible for category management across Microsoft digital storefronts, including Store on Microsoft.com and Microsoft Store on Windows and Xbox. She oversees a multi-billion-dollar business, with a global team focused on delivering category growth and connecting tens of millions of customers to content and services across gaming, entertainment, consumer apps, advertising and physical hardware. During her 20-year tenure at Microsoft, Johnson-Marletti has helped shape strategy for several critical products and launches. She most recently served as GM of digital stores category management, playing a key role in the evolution and transformation of Microsoft’s e-commerce policies and business models. Prior to joining Microsoft Store, she worked for nine years on the Xbox business. Outside of Microsoft, Johnson-Marletti sits on the board of Medical Teams International, a global nonprofit organization built around bringing life-saving medical care to people in crisis suffering from preventable diseases.

Agapy Kapouranis

President, International Television and Digital Distribution, Lionsgate

Agapy Kapouranis

Kapouranis spearheads international distribution, acquisitions, sales and marketing for Lionsgate’s television and catalog feature slate. She is responsible for distributing and licensing Lionsgate’s 17,000-title film and TV library, a slate of feature films, a strong line-up of first-run TV series, and a robust portfolio of Starz programming to hundreds of SVOD, AVOD and linear platforms around the world. A versatile and prolific dealmaker, Kapouranis has helped establish Lionsgate as a partner of choice to international buyers in the SVOD, electronic sellthrough, transactional video-on-demand and ad-supported video-on-demand space. Kapouranis joined Lionsgate in 2011 as SVP of television and digital distribution and was based in Paris for four years. In that capacity, she closed global digital sellthrough deals with Apple, Xbox, PlayStation and Google. She was later promoted to EVP of worldwide subscription video on demand. Prior to working at Lionsgate, Kapouranis served as VP of international on-demand and new media at MGM Studios.

Jennifer Mirgorod

Head of Partner Management and Partner Marketing, WarnerMedia

Jennifer Mirgorod

Mirgorod is responsible for the distribution and marketing of WarnerMedia’s portfolio of linear television networks, premium channels and direct-to-consumer brands, which include HBO, HBO Max, Cinemax, CNN, TNT, TBS, TCM, truTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and HLN, as well as its transactional video business. Based in Atlanta, Mirgorod also leads a team responsible for multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD) partners in North America and global platforms. A seasoned cable veteran, Mirgorod previously served as EVP of content distribution and strategic partnerships for WarnerMedia Distribution, where she was responsible for account management, affiliate marketing and business development as well as serving as a conduit between the Turner brands and the distribution division. Before that she was EVP of brand distribution for Turner Content Distribution (TCD). Earlier positions include SVP of sales and marketing, and VP of strategic marketing. Mirgorod joined TCD in 2003.

Kim Overall

EVP, Consumer Insight and Innovation, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Overall leads Sony Pictures Entertainment’s central data team and is responsible for identifying and developing the studio’s capabilities to become a more consumer-centric, data-driven organization. Her group defines the data strategy and utilizes advanced analytics and data science to co-create tools to enable all stakeholders at SPE to make better-informed decisions throughout the value chain. She assumed her present position in 2015. Previously, Overall served for three years as SVP of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s United Kingdom, Northern Europe and EMEA partnerships. In this role, she was responsible for defining the commercial strategies for the region and supporting the EMEA territories. She joined Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in 2008 as the managing director for Australia and New Zealand. Earlier, Overall was VP of international sales marketing for Paramount Home Entertainment from 2006 to 2008, and VP of international marketing for DreamWorks Animation from 2004 to 2006.

Jessica Schell

EVP and GM, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Jessica Schell

Schell has global responsibility for WarnerMedia’s transactional home entertainment, including new theatrical titles, catalog films, TV and originals. In addition, she manages the development and launch of the studio’s new immersive entertainment offerings. This summer she oversaw the launch of the first Harry Potter Virtual Reality experience in Warner’s New York City flagship store. Prior to joining Warner Bros., Schell spent nine years at NBC Universal, where she most recently served as EVP of worldwide new media and digital entertainment for Universal Pictures, a role she assumed in late 2011. Before that she was Universal’s EVP of business development and strategic planning. Schell also served as SVP of digital media strategy and business development at NBC Universal. Schell spent the early years of her career at the Walt Disney Co. and Allen & Co. and is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School.

Amy Jo Smith

President and CEO, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group

Amy Jo Smith

Smith heads the leading trade group for the home entertainment industry, representing the interests of the world’s largest media and entertainment companies, consumer electronics manufacturers, platform providers and technology companies. A former White House communications advisor, Smith since 1997 has led the industry-funded group’s efforts to enhance and promote home entertainment during its evolution from videocassettes to DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and today’s digital age. Under Smith’s leadership, the DEG is credited with helping to make DVD the fastest-growing consumer electronics product in industry history. In 2019, the DEG launched the D2C Alliance Council as a working community within the DEG to represent the global direct-to-consumer media industry and support its members to help create a robust marketplace to lead the new era of content consumption. A University of Pennsylvania graduate, Smith serves on the Advisory Board of the Annenberg School at Penn, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and the Tom Sherak MS Hope Foundation Board.

Lexine Wong

Head of Global Multichannel Marketing, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Lexine Wong

Wong oversees marketing for the home entertainment and television distribution businesses for Sony Pictures. As part of the marketing leadership team, Wong oversees the delivery of marketing experiences across the studio’s full range of properties — from film to television, catalog and beyond — all with a data- and insights-driven approach that prioritizes consumer engagement and transaction. Specific areas of oversight include consumer and brand strategy, creative advertising, media, digital marketing, publicity, strategic partnerships, content production, and innovation within emerging platforms critical for growth in the industry, including Movies Anywhere, augmented reality and 4K Ultra HD. With more than 25 years in the home entertainment industry, Wong has overseen the studio’s biggest revenue-generating home entertainment releases as well as hugely successful TV-on-DVD releases. Wong serves as a member of Sony Pictures Action, SPE’s global racial equity and inclusion initiative. She co-chairs the Partners sub-committee focused on maintaining a vendor and partner constituency that shares the studio’s diversity and inclusion values.

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THE CAPTAINS OF HOME ENTERTAINMENT: WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY

 

Bela Bejaria, Netflix

How has your job, and your work environment, changed? We’re a global company so many of our meetings were already virtual pre-COVID. My job hasn’t changed that much — the location of where I sit has, along with not being able to travel to see the team.

What lies ahead for both segments of home entertainment, transactional and streaming? We’re continuing to see audiences welcome streaming entertainment, but it still only accounts for 27% of viewing, with Netflix 7% of that. So there’s still plenty of room to grow.

What makes a good leader? Someone who creates an environment for people to do their best work — an environment in which people can grow and take risks and learn. A leader knows and meets the needs of the individuals and the team.

What do you look for in an employee? Curiosity, positive attitude, collaborative — selflessness and good judgment.

Your life, in one movie title: A Map of the World.

 

Michele Bell, Paramount Home Entertainment

How has your job, and your work environment, changed? So much has changed in the past year-and-a-half that it’s hard to capture it all — COVID, quarantine, working remotely, home premieres, home schooling, you name it. My job is definitely more intense due to the increased need for content and the challenges of executing creative campaigns in a fully remote, limited bandwidth home office environment. Oh, and Zoom bombs from my children and dogs did not occur when I was in my office on the lot! Still, it has been an incomparable experience, and I have to say I’m incredibly proud of my team’s resilience, creativity and stamina through it all.

What lies ahead for both segments of home entertainment, transactional and streaming? What’s great is that it’s clear there’s space for both, in that consumers are engaging with physical media, digital and streaming platforms, and we’re seeing that in sales and subscriptions. It will be interesting to see how it continues to develop, and hopefully consumer appetites will remain strong for all home entertainment product. As with the transition from videocassette to DVD and the addition of Blu-ray Disc, 4K and digital, change in this business is constant as ever, and it’s exciting to be part of the evolving home entertainment landscape.

What makes a good leader? I think a good leader is comprised of many characteristics. They inspire, challenge and support their teams, and can also jump into the trenches when necessary. They lead by example and manage down as well as they manage up. Good leaders value diverse voices and opinions and encourage authentic expression. They give constructive and honest feedback and foster an environment that is inclusive, productive, engaging, fun and allows for autonomy, but with accountability.

What do you look for in an employee? To be successful in what we do, it helps to have a genuine love of movies and have passion for the work — but be strategic in execution. I look for individuals who have a clear vision for what they need to accomplish and are bold and declarative with their creative choices. I love a sense of humor and those who aren’t afraid to speak their minds. I’m fortunate to have all of that and more in my amazing home entertainment creative team!

Your life, in one movie title: Do the Right Thing.

 

Kelly Campbell, Hulu

How has your job, and your work environment, changed? Like everyone else, it’s changed in many ways. Working from home definitely has its rewards, like the ability to be home every night for dinner with my family, but it’s also peppered with challenges because it can be difficult to draw clear lines between work and home life. I’m still learning to balance both. As a business leader, I wear many hats and I strive to balance being a steward of the company and our goals, being a strong coach and advocate for our teams and maintaining a culture that attracts, develops and retains the best talent. This past year, I’m especially proud of our team’s ability to navigate through unprecedented challenges while also achieving exceptional outcomes.

What lies ahead for both segments of home entertainment, transactional and streaming? I believe that streaming is the most exciting place to be in this industry right now, largely because that is where consumers are going. That being said, streaming and transactional businesses will continue to complement each other by providing consumers with opportunities to experience content in different ways. These businesses may also start to converge, as the lines between the two start to blur. Across the industry, it’s clear that viewers will show up for both streaming and transactional in-home entertainment. We’re learning better ways of doing things we’ve always done, and these learnings will continue to drive us as we go forward.

What makes a good leader? A good leader shares a clear vision, removes obstacles, and sets their team up to achieve. It’s critical for leaders to be fully present and engaged. Furthermore, it’s important to be visible, at times leading the conversation, at other times as a listener and learner. Finally, I think a good leader surrounds her/himself with a team of trusted leaders who are empowered to make decisions and move their part of the business forward.

What do you look for in an employee? We are accountable to one another, and in order to achieve what we set out to do, we need people who possess a can-do attitude, take initiative and have a strong drive to get things done. No one person or team can do everything, so if people can maintain a high degree of integrity and make strategic decisions with confidence, that’s all I can ask for.

Your life, in one movie title: Your Day Will Come.

 

Andrea Downing, PBS Distribution

How has your job, and your work environment, changed? PBS Distribution has always had to be nimble, anticipating where the market is headed and focusing on continuous improvement. This really helped us when the pandemic hit. Once we were 100% remote, we quickly assessed how we were working as a team and the framework we needed to be connected and informed so we could make good business decisions. We pivoted quickly when things were not going according to plan and doubled down when they exceeded our expectations. Now we’re moving into a hybrid work plan to build on our “remote” strengths while creating room for connection and collaboration.

What lies ahead for both segments of home entertainment, transactional and streaming? What we think of as “home entertainment” will continue to expand and evolve significantly. We’ll also see tremendous change in how content is funded, distributed and consumed. The rise in transactional spending during the pandemic surprised many of us, but it’s clear the long-term growth drivers are subscription and ad-supported streaming. This rise has already shifted the balance inside many media organizations and has affected permanent change to longstanding industry models like funding sources and release windows. At the end of the day, “home entertainment” has become core to the industry’s future success.

What makes a good leader? I think the last year has shown us that good leaders are flexible, listen really well, and are open to letting go of what they “know” in favor of trying new things to see what will lead to success. They set a clear and engaging vision, overcommunicate, and help their teams build resilience. Most important, good leaders know they cannot achieve success on their own and that a good team is invaluable to the sustainability of an organization.

What do you look for in an employee? To me, the best employees are successful because they are curious and see ways to contribute that are often outside their role. They take initiative, learn from their failures, have integrity and strong ethics, and use critical judgment. Most of all, they are team players who are focused on moving the business forward.

Your life, in one movie title: Riding the Waves, because it seems like that’s what life is really about! In our lives, we experience everything from gentle swells that are easy to ride to astonishing waves that are exhilarating to ones that come out of nowhere that knock us around. But we keep getting back on the surfboard and going out to find the next great set of waves.

 

Kathleen Gallagher, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

How has your job, and your work environment, changed? My organization has undergone a massive change over the past year since announcing our plans to launch a joint venture with our partners at WarnerMedia. I am incredibly proud of both organizations for what we were able to accomplish in setting up the new organization against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, including working from home, distance learning and all of the additional challenges that 2020 brought us.

What lies ahead for both segments of home entertainment, transactional and streaming? The creation of the joint venture, SDS, was driven by the need to find efficiencies to successfully position us to continue to support the physical piece of our home entertainment business. We continue to be impressed by the strong performance of our library content over the past year. It’s served as a great reminder that consumers want and need to interact with our content in many different ways.

What makes a good leader? The right blend of strategic thinking, tenacity and empathy — especially in today’s environment.

What do you look for in an employee? The best team is one where everyone is willing to roll up their sleeves, be creative, and have the ability to flex to meet the changing needs of the organization.

Your life, in one movie title: It’s Complicated.

 

Rebecca Heap, Comcast

How has your job, and your work environment, changed? An easier question would be, “What hasn’t changed?” Over the past year, we have seen so much change — social change, changing consumption patterns, new industry dynamics, changes to the way we work. It’s exciting and I’m grateful to work in a role and organization that is as dynamic as the industry we work in.

What lies ahead for both segments of home entertainment, transactional and streaming? Ultimately, I think there’s a place for both as today’s consumers value more choice and flexibility in their home entertainment. As the industry continues to evolve, our goal will be continuing to meet customers where they are — offering easy access to the content customers want, surfacing winning recommendations when they need them, on the terms that work best for the customer.

What makes a good leader? A “good” leader is not good enough! Leadership is a lifelong art that I will always want to be better at and I’m grateful to have been able to work with, and learn from, some of the very best. Top of my list of great leader attributes are a clear vision, the ability to empower others, inclusivity, an eye for talent and a genuine interest in your teammates.

What do you look for in an employee? Passion, curiosity, initiative, empathy for customers and colleagues, and the ability to execute.

Your life, in one movie title: How to Train Your Dragon.

 

Alison Hoffman, Starz

How has your job, and your work environment, changed? Many more Zooms. No more high heels.

What lies ahead for both segments of home entertainment, transactional and streaming? Like in so many other segments, the future is aggressively female. Women will continue to drive subscriptions and viewership in the household and demand programming that reflects their lives and experiences in a real and honest way.

What makes a good leader? Understanding what the team around you needs to succeed, both as a unit and individually, and then being relentless about putting those things in place.

What do you look for in an employee? Curiosity, passion, empathy, smarts and ambition.

Your life, in one movie title: It’s Complicated.

 

Hilary Hoffman, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

How has your job, and your work environment, changed? In a time when so many businesses faced unprecedented challenges, I am incredibly proud of our marketing team, who so skillfully adapted to working remotely. More than a year later, creativity and productivity remain high across the team, as we continue to test, learn and innovate amid what is still a very fluid global landscape. While we have experienced meaningful upside in working together remotely, I look forward to returning to the office for that in-person collaboration that I have always found to be engaging and motivating.

What lies ahead for both segments of home entertainment, transactional and streaming? We are seeing transactional and streaming continuing to grow and co-exist. As this past year has so clearly underscored, content is still king. Consumers wanting choice and convenience have become progressively more savvy about how and where to find content cross-platforms, driving increased momentum across all digital. Our plan is to continue leveraging this momentum to further differentiate our offerings and drive home the unique benefits of ownership, delivering entertaining bonus content and reminding consumers that ownership means your movie is always on.

What makes a good leader? In a year that has prompted so much learning and reflection for me personally and professionally, I think it is clear that being a good leader requires focus on a combination of having the right people, the right strategy and the right environment. Working from home creates a challenge to maintain the right environment, but I am proud of the NBCU culture and believe that it has endured through the last year. NBCU is also very dedicated to strengthening our focus on diversity, equity and inclusion. The opportunity to learn and educate myself as leader and as part of the organization as a whole has allowed me to evolve my leadership style in a meaningful way.

What do you look for in an employee? Working in an industry known for its unique challenges and ever-evolving nature, creativity and adaptability represent two key qualities I find critical in ensuring an employee is well set for success in their role.

Your life, in one movie title: Bring It On.

 

Dametra Johnson-Marletti, Microsoft Corp.

How has your job, and your work environment, changed? Working remotely the past 14 months has forced us all to work in new ways, both individually and in how we collaborate with co-workers. Thankfully, great tools like Microsoft Teams have allowed us to maintain keen productivity levels and deliver results. That said, as work and life have more seamlessly bled together, clearer boundaries had to be established for greater balance and wellness. As a leader, ensuring that we are more frequently “checking-in” with our teams, to maintain our connections, better support each other, and continue to strengthen our esprit de corps across the group, has also been super important.

What lies ahead for both segments of home entertainment, transactional and streaming? Despite a slow movement toward more-normal times, it’s clear the entertainment industry will be forever changed. Consumers have become far more knowledgeable about their choices for content consumption. The good news is I believe there will be a place for all options; consequently, it will remain important to keep customer choice at the center of industry strategy. I think customers continue to have a keen interest in continuing to build their libraries, which gives ongoing vibrance and viability to transactions. Additionally, smart windowing, content variety, breadth and depth of catalog all make streaming options attractive to customers as well.

What makes a good leader? There are many facets of a great leader, and one’s ability to be a great leader is a journey of constant learning and evolution, not a stagnant destination. I would say a great leader demonstrates the ability to deliver strong results and growth the organization expects, while also bringing the people you lead and work with along the journey in a positive and inspiring way, and all within a healthy and inclusive culture.

What do you look for in an employee? I look for two key pillars in candidates, and within each of those pillars are a set of traits that contribute to their success and that of the organization — capability and character. Capability entails doing a fantastic job in the position for which they are being hired. That can be demonstrated through past successes in similar or related experiences. Character means can they successfully add to our culture, bringing diverse perspectives, inclusive collaboration and a growth mindset.

Your life, in one movie title: What Dreams May Come.

 

Agapy Kapouranis, Lionsgate

How has your job, and your work environment, changed? I had to adapt quickly to our work-from-home schedule, securing time for individual support and expressing my appreciation to a relentless team. I communicate openly and extensively. My team is uber-involved in critical thinking and decision making. I also make an effort to designate time and space for safe team bonding during these epic changes we’re living through.

What lies ahead for both segments of home entertainment, transactional and streaming? More disruption — and we are ready for it. Consumer expectations and usage habits are changing rapidly, and we’re seeing an influx of competitors come into international markets like never before. Consumers expect to access television and film content anytime, anywhere and in the format that suits their immediate needs.

What makes a good leader? Great leaders are passionate about what they do because they believe in what they do. They communicate a vision and build a strong foundation for connection. Empathy plays a huge role as you mentor and cultivate confident people who can work well as a team. Leaders nurture growth and provide constructive feedback to motivate others to be their best, inspiring people to do things they never thought they could and relishing achievement!

What do you look for in an employee? I’m always willing to hire for potential, not just experience, people who are willing to listen, learn and grow as individuals and with the team. One constant in life is change, so being resilient and adaptable will always serve you well. Finally, I welcome diverse thinking and POVs from employees who are self-motivated and eager to collaborate while having fun.

Your life, in one movie title: Around the World in 80 Days.

 

Jennifer Mirgorod, WarnerMedia

How has your job, and your work environment, changed? A better question would be, “How hasn’t it?” Over the course of the past 20-plus years, so much about the media industry has changed and I’ve had a front row seat to much of it, from the evolution of the linear business to the rise of streaming and most recently the transformation of content windowing. Add to that the more obvious impact of the pandemic to our new hybrid workforce and a changing company culture and structure, and the past few years have been dynamic, to say the least.

What lies ahead for both segments of home entertainment, transactional and streaming? As consumer viewing habits evolve, so, too, does our content windowing strategy across transactional, linear networks and streaming to maximize exposure for our movies, series and specials. Though timelines may shift, there are unique audiences for each window, and at the end of the day, our goal is to meet our consumers where and when they want to consume content. We are very focused on promoting our key assets throughout their lifecycles, and we work closely with partners to develop marketing campaigns that highlight when an asset is available on HBO Max and then available in its transactional window.

What makes a good leader? In my estimation, a good leader is one who communicates effectively and sets expectations for the team, expresses gratitude for the work and serves as the team’s advocate. Good leaders also surround themselves with talented people who possess differentiated skills, and are collaborative, strategic and kind. Particularly in our business, so much of what we do is equal parts strategy and partnership driven, so it’s important the team is equal parts pragmatic and thoughtful.

What do you look for in an employee? A good employee is intellectually curious and looks for creative ways to approach everyday challenges. They are in an industry where change is the only constant and the approach taken last year might need to be radically adapted, so someone who is not only comfortable in that type of environment, but who thrives in it, is a huge asset for any team. I also appreciate people with diverse backgrounds and experiences that inform their perspectives.

Your life, in one movie title: Bend It Like Beckham.

 

Kim Overall, Sony Pictures Entertainment

How has your job, and your work environment, changed? It has changed in ways that I couldn’t have imagined, but that have brought unique opportunities. I have learned new ways to engage and communicate, and new skills that I never knew I needed, but which have proved immensely valuable in all aspects of my life. I have been very fortunate to be able to explore new ways to get closer to our audiences and understand what is resonating and why. If there was ever a time where I have seen the appetite for content change and evolve it was in the last 18 months.

What lies ahead for both segments of home entertainment, transactional and streaming? We are still listening, watching and figuring this out, both personally and within the industry. We have seen our entertainment ecosystems change, and the type of content we are seeking evolve. And the way we consume it looks different. The most important thing we can do right now is pay attention to what is changing and why — if there is one thing we know, a year from now it will look different again. We need to stay close to how these changes impact our ability to meet audiences where they are and give them the content they are looking for.

What makes a good leader? The ability to listen, constantly learn, connect the dots, and lead with empathy and compassion. It is so inspiring when we see and feel the impact of great leadership on a team and their creativity, and it’s amazing to be a part of that team. There is an art in the ability to ask the right questions to unlock great potential.

What do you look for in an employee? Curiosity and courage, learning agility, passion and drive. I am a big believer in having an aligned set of values that we all commit to as a team. It makes the wins sweeter and the tough stuff easier.

Your life, in one movie title: The NeverEnding Story.

 

Jessica Schell, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

How has your job, and your work environment, changed? We’ve learned that we can be highly effective outside of a traditional office environment, and leadership at every level is more open to being flexible about work locations. But in-person interaction with colleagues is so valuable for all the intangible aspects of community — building trust, sparking innovation and driving collaboration. So we are still figuring out what that is going to look like. My job and my team’s role have evolved beyond a focus solely on transactional home entertainment to applying our skills, assets and knowledge also to new businesses. We are supporting the launch of HBO Max globally by bringing our rich marketing, artwork and bonus content assets to the HBO Max platform, and driving Max subscriptions through our data, social assets and collaborations. We are also leveraging our skills to bring new products to market, such as the recent launch of Harry Potter VR in our New York flagship store.

What lies ahead for both segments of home entertainment, transactional and streaming? We are in a time of unprecedented experimentation and learning. My division is working with teams across the company to maximize the value of Warner Bros. content across its full lifecycle on all windows and platforms. How the landscape will shake out remains to be seen, but early insights show that giving consumers choice seems to be expanding the market.

What makes a good leader? The ability to embrace change and motivate people while demonstrating empathy.

What do you look for in an employee? Resilience, flexibility, the ability to look for white spaces in which to add value.

 

Amy Jo Smith, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group

How has your job, and your work environment, changed? Things at the DEG are moving more quickly. Since our pivot to virtual meetings and events, we have found we’re able to assemble the membership with greater ease and provide more frequent programming. This has improved our ability to cultivate a community where all segments of the industry are included, which has turned out to be a powerful draw for new members. Bringing in these new viewpoints is proving to be very valuable as we chart our future course in support of advanced content delivery to consumers.

What lies ahead for both segments of home entertainment, transactional and streaming? It’s a very exciting time for our industry. There is an abundance of content coupled with numerous platforms for viewing. The consumer is in the driver’s seat and will show us where to go.

What makes a good leader? A good leader is someone who leads, allowing the team to follow, but also someone who follows. A good leader needs to
support the team so they can do their best work. And, a great (not good) leader must be a good listener, open to suggestions and willing to change course if necessary.

What do you look for in an employee? A strong team includes members with different skillsets. The ideal employee is someone who brings additional talents helping to round out and complement the team.

Your life, in one movie title: Groundhog Day (during the pandemic, it just feels like that!) or Teacher’s Pet (yes, it’s true, I’m guilty of this).

 

Lexine Wong, Sony Pictures Entertainment

How has your job, and your work environment, changed? What hasn’t changed since we left our offices in March 2020! School, work, home life, entertainment … and the list goes on. The waves of this pandemic will ripple for some time to come, yet there have been some great learnings along the way. At Sony, we used the time to future-proof our organization by combining our global home office marketing and distribution teams across theatrical, home entertainment and television distribution. This new structure will allow us to maximize each film’s potential with a lifecycle approach. Working remotely for an extended period has enabled us to be more inclusive, democratize meeting participation, and connect with colleagues and clients around the world in a much more intimate way. Our reliance on teamwork was never more necessary than over the past year.

What lies ahead for both segments of home entertainment, transactional and streaming? For the past several years, the home entertainment business had been relatively stable. The onslaught of the pandemic and simultaneous launches of several major streaming services have driven unprecedented windowing experimentation. Voila! The home entertainment business has become much more complex. Each studio/service/platform has a unique ecosystem and strategy to deliver corporate and consumer value. Knowing what, where and how to watch movies is more confusing than ever. Sony aims to deliver each filmmaker’s vision to as many consumers as possible: from theatrical all the way through the lifecycle — no matter what platform.

What makes a good leader? Earlier in my career, I thought a good leader was simply someone who was smart, directive and espoused a clear vision. While I still value those qualities, they aren’t necessarily the pillars I had envisioned originally. Integrity, diversity, transparent communication and empowerment are even more foundational. I’ve been lucky enough to have worked for some strong leaders who have exemplified these traits and inspired me to be more purposeful in my role as a coach and motivator.

What do you look for in an employee? It’s funny, as I was considering what makes a good leader, I couldn’t help but reflect on how those same key characteristics describe a great employee as well. Generally, young employees who are passionate and collaborative seem to find longevity in our dynamic and demanding industry. Diverse thinkers who can connect the dots and stay a step ahead are our future leaders. I’m so excited to get back to the office at some point and connect in person with everyone!

Your life, in one movie title: Sense & Sensibility or Stand by Me.

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Women in Home Entertainment 2021: The Teams

The home entertainment sector is filled with smart, strategic teams that support the captains of the big studios and streamers.

The industry also has many other talented women leaders at independent content distributors, digital retailers, streaming services and ancillary service providers.

Here are some of the standouts.

SEE ALSO: WOMEN IN HOME ENTERTAINMENT 2021 — THE CAPTAINS

Amazon

JENNIFER SALKE
Head of Amazon Studios
Salke leads all aspects of television and film development, as well as production for Amazon’s entertainment division. This includes implementing an overall long-term content strategy for both units along with launching upcoming series and films, as well as ongoing support of current series. High-profile projects include the pending “The Lord of the Rings” series debuting in September 2022.

MARIE DONOGHUE
VP, Global Sports Video
Donoghue heads up Amazon’s global sports content business, as well as its sports strategy, enabling customers to access live and on-demand sports content, on hundreds of devices, in more than 200 countries and territories. She was responsible for Amazon acquiring exclusive rights to “NFL Thursday Night Football,” in addition to expanded professional soccer league rights in Europe. Prior to joining Amazon, Donoghue served as EVP of global business and content strategy at ESPN, leading the ongoing development and implementation of its enterprise-wide business and content strategy. Donoghue oversaw all digital dealmaking for ESPN, including ESPN’s relationship with Disney-owned BAMTech, the home of ESPN’s first direct-to-consumer (OTT) streaming platform.

BritBox

EMILY POWERS
EVP and Head , BritBox North America
Powers launched the BritBox business in 2017 and spent the next four years overseeing the commercial side of the business, growing it to more than
2 million subscribers. Due to her success in this role, Powers was appointed head of BritBox North America last year with the task of continuing to drive growth domestically and also play an important role in expanding the business globally (Australia/South Africa). In her short tenure heading up BritBox North America, she has greenlighted two already buzzed about 2022 Emmy contenders — Hugh Laurie’s adaptation of Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?, which he is appearing in and directing, and The Long Call, an adaptation of Ann Cleeves’ “Two River” series.

Discovery+

LISA HOLME
Group SVP of Content and Commercial Strategy, Discovery

Holme leads programming and partnership for Discovery’s aggregated, direct-to-consumer streaming service, Discovery+. In this role, she oversees the editorial vision, working closely with the company’s content and programming teams to source original content and license third-party programming. She also collaborates with the affiliate and ad sales teams to prioritize, structure and negotiate distribution deals for direct-to-consumer products, with the goal of driving subscriber growth. Holme is based out of Discovery’s Los Angeles office and reports directly to CEO David Zaslav. Prior to joining Discovery, Holme led the investigation and strategy for Hulu’s international expansion, which followed several years of leading Hulu’s content acquisition team, where she was responsible for negotiating tens of billions of dollars’ worth of content deals, helping to expand the service from zero to roughly 30 million subscribers.

VIKKI NEIL
EVP, Global Brand, Originals Marketing & Creative
After leading the Lifestyle Digital Group for many years and most recently overseeing the launch of Food Network Kitchen in 2019 in partnership with Amazon, Neil pivoted in 2020 to lead the marketing efforts for Discovery’s largest initiative to date, the Discovery+ streaming service. Neil and her team were responsible for conceptualizing and executing a number of marketing campaigns across all mediums to drive subscription rates. Anchored by Discovery’s investments in content, beloved personalities and brands with huge consumer appeal, Neil has helped Discovery+ grow nationally in subscriber additions, customer engagement, and retention. In April 2021, Discovery announced that they have now surpassed 15 million total paying direct-to-consumer subscribers globally.

 

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution

KRISTEN FINNEY
EVP, Content Distribution Strategy and Development, Disney Platform Distribution
Finney is responsible for overseeing key support functions for global content sales including content portfolio management, deal support and analysis, and formats and rights management for both the sales and direct-to-consumer teams. In this role, Finney advises on key strategic initiatives companywide, working in close collaboration with sales colleagues across all regions. In addition, her team acts as a liaison between the sales and direct-to-consumer acquisition teams and the company’s creative content organizations.

LINDSEY GREEN
SVP, Content Sales Disney Platform Distribution

Green is responsible for licensing of feature films and television content across domestic and global SVOD and AVOD platforms, West Coast-based cable networks and select pay-TV networks. She and her team also manage the company’s distribution of content to its direct-to-consumer streaming services — Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu. Her client roster includes Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and Facebook, to name a few.

CHRISTEN HARRIS
SVP, Platform Distribution, Disney Platform Distribution
LAUREN MORRISEY
SVP, Platform Distribution, Disney Platform Distribution
Harris and Morrissey negotiate key licensing agreements on behalf of the company across a wide array of media platforms and businesses including domestic multichannel subscription distribution and global direct-to-consumer platforms. Among these substantial high-profile agreements managed by their teams are in-home VOD and transactional sales, and DTC app penetration among digital aggregators, MVPDs, devices, wireless providers and social media applications. Between the two of them, they oversee more than 100 key accounts, such as Apple, Comcast, Google, Roku and Verizon.

LORI LeBAS
SVP, Business Operations, Disney Platform Distribution

As head of Disney Platform Distribution’s business operations team, LeBas supports the development and distribution of products and services that create meaningful value for the company, its partners and consumers. She is focused on the design and implementation of business processes for efficient management and operation of all media distribution, including linear networks, SVOD/AVOD/TVOD, transactional, syndication, audio and direct-to-consumer products. LeBas also leads the creation of cross-functional business requirements for new products, as well as oversight of all post-sales processes for content distribution across all platforms.

SUMMER IMAI, VP, Rights and Content Management, Platform Distribution
BROOKE JOHNSON, VP, Platform Distribution
JANE KIM, VP, Distribution Planning and Analysis, Platform Distribution
JENNIFER LOURIE, VP, Product Management, Platform Distribution
LORI COHEN-ELIAS, VP, Product Management, Networks
JAIME GORMAN, VP, Creative Development, Networks
SUZANNE KAMENIR, VP, Global Creative Marketing, Networks
MICHELLE LEVISOHN, VP, Creative Development, Networks
KIMBERLY WILSON, VP, Multi-Platform Marketing, Networks

Disney+/Disney Streaming Services

JAYA KOLHATKAR
EVP, Data, Disney Streaming Services
Kolhatkar oversees customer intelligence and all data- and analytics-related efforts at Disney Streaming. In her role, she is responsible for elevating customer intelligence, implementing strong data governance and driving a culture of objective, data-driven decision-making. Previously, Kolhatkar served as the SVP of global data and analytics platforms at Walmart Labs, where she built data and analytic platforms that provided data and tools for making business decisions.

ALISA BOWEN
SVP, Business Operations, Disney Streaming Services

Bowen is in charge of ensuring operational effectiveness for The Walt Disney Company’s direct-to-consumer video streaming businesses, including Disney+ and ESPN+. As part of her oversight, Bowen is responsible for overall program management, including the rollout of Disney+ across international markets, identification and implementation of Disney+ internal synergy opportunities, and leading global customer support for ESPN+ and Disney+.

MOLLY BRADY
SVP, Growth Marketing, Disney Streaming Services

Brady oversees a team that is responsible for growing the subscriber base for The Walt Disney Company’s direct-to-consumer video streaming businesses, including Disney+, ESPN+ and the Disney Bundle. As part of her oversight, Brady is responsible for launching and rolling out customer acquisition initiatives and optimizing performance of media investments globally across North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. In the three years since she started at Disney, ESPN+ has grown to more than 13 million paid subscribers and Disney+ has acquired more than 100 million subscribers in 59 countries in the 18 months since it launched.

LEAH ASHLEY, VP, Paid Media, Disney+
PAULA BECK, VP, Operations, Disney+
JESSICA CASANO-ANTONELLIS, VP, Communications, Disney+ and Hulu
BILLIE SUE CHAFFINS, VP, Software Development, Disney Streaming Services
CYNDI CRUZ, VP, Acquisitions & Licensing, Disney+
ANDREA CUTRIGHT, VP, Product Marketing, Disney+
JACQUELINE DONALDSON, VP, Product Strategy, Disney Streaming Services
NATALIE MARGULIES, VP, Deputy Chief Counsel, Disney Streaming Services
PAULA MCMAHON, VP, Integrated Marketing, Disney+
CLAISIAN PHILLIPS, VP, Marketing, ESPN+
JUDY SCHWAB, VP, HR, Disney Streaming Services

Dolby Labs

JACLYN PYTLARZ
Staff Researcher, Applied Vision Science

Pytlarz plays a key role at Dolby as a lead engineer keenly focused on Dolby Vision display technology and development. Her research includes vision science surrounding color mapping and display management algorithms for high dynamic range and wide color gamut displays. By integrating knowledge of human vision, her designs help ensure that a consumer, on any display in any environment, can experience the director’s creative intent. Pytlarz’s innovative work is one of the drivers of the technology behind the thousands of titles and millions of devices that define the Dolby Vision ecosystem for the home entertainment industry, now and in the future.

Fandango

DANA BENSON
SVP, Communications, Fandango

Benson spearheads all corporate communications and public relations functions across the company’s ticketing, e-commerce and editorial content portfolio, including Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster, MovieTickets.com and its leading TVOD service, Vudu. She also oversees public relations for subsidiary Ingresso.com in Brazil. Prior to joining Fandango, Benson was director of public relations at Disney Interactive. Benson has held senior positions at top family entertainment and technology companies, including Hasbro, Mattel and Broderbund Software, and public relations agencies Edelman, B/HI and The Lippin Group.

REMA MORGAN-ALUKO
Senior Director, Software Engineering, Fandango

With more than 15 years of experience in technology, engineering leadership and software development, Morgan-Aluko leads the technology group for Fandango’s leading TVOD service, Vudu. She oversees the development of Web, mobile apps, OTT applications and services, as well as application program interfaces (APIs). To improve diversity and inclusion across the technology industry, Morgan-Aluko co-founded Fandango’s TECHWomen chapter, which aims to advance opportunities for female technologists within the company and beyond. Previously, Morgan-Aluko led the development and implementation of several initiatives across Fandango’s verticals, including trailers (Movieclips), video and editorial content, movie and entertainment metadata, commerce, user profiles, CRM, marketing campaigns, and programs, as well as advertising and monetization.

LORI PANTEL
Chief Marketing Officer, Fandango

Pantel directs all brand and marketing strategies across the company’s e-commerce and editorial content portfolio, including Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster, MovieTickets.com, Fandango Movieclips and its leading TVOD service, Vudu. Throughout her career, Pantel has effectively redefined and executed strategies for global consumer brands, with a focus on ensuring a cohesive global brand DNA that resonates with consumers, retailers and partners. Before joining Fandango, Pantel served as SVP and global GM for Mattel’s girls’ brands, overseeing global teams responsible for worldwide brand and marketing strategy, creative execution and product development for Mattel’s “Monster High” and “Ever After High” brands, as well as the company’s “DC Super Hero Girls” line. Prior to that, Pantel served as VP of marketing for Mattel’s North America division, VP of global brand marketing, and associate brand manager on the “Barbie” brand.

JENNI READIO
Senior Director, Merchandising and Licensing, Vudu

Readio is a 17-year entertainment industry veteran. For the past 10 years she has led merchandising, licensing and content acquisition strategy at Vudu (acquired from Walmart by Fandango in April 2020), where her team continues to successfully grow revenue and content partnerships annually. Under her ideation and leadership, Vudu launched the exclusive merchandising functionality “Mix & Match.” Prior to joining Vudu, Readio managed the Walmart music business, including its brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce and digital downloads storefronts, and original music content platform Walmart Soundcheck.

PRIYA SINGHEE
VP, Analytics and Data Science, Fandango

Singhee is a seasoned analytics leader with more than 15 years of experience across both enterprise and consumer tech startups. Her team drives optimizations in the customer lifecycle using data and machine learning. Prior to joining Fandango, she led customer analytics at Vudu, delivering deep insights into consumer behavior across the tens of millions of devices that stream premium home entertainment content on Vudu. Prior to joining Vudu, she held key analytics roles at various consumer tech startups, such as Smule, GoFundMe and Flipboard. Relevant areas of expertise include managing growth roadmaps, identifying growth KPIs, predictive modeling, A/B testing, data visualization, funnel optimization, UX research, customer segmentation and media mix modeling.

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Fox Weather

SHARRI BERG
President, Fox Weather
Chief Operating Officer, Fox Television Stations
Berg joined Fox News Channel at its inception in 1996, and currently serves as the president of Fox Weather, Fox News Media’s pending ad-supported streaming weather service launching in the third quarter. She is also the chief operating officer of news and operations for Fox television stations. A founding member of the Fox News Channel launch team, Berg has held several senior management positions throughout the past 24 years of its existence, including serving in a dual role spanning FNC and FTS since 2005. In 2016, she was named chief operating officer of news and operations at FTS, while maintaining her role as the EVP of news operations at FNC.

Google/YouTube TV

CHRISTINA AVITABILE
Head of Content Distribution and Licensing, YouTube/Google Play

Avitabile oversees business development and partnerships for Google’s
transactional movies and TV stores (on Google Play and YouTube) as well as licensing and acquisition deals for YouTube. Before joining Google in 2014, Avitabile spent a year in content acquisition, digital video, at Amazon.

KELLY MERRYMAN
VP, Global Content Partnerships, YouTube

Merryman is a veteran in the streaming entertainment space. She oversees the platform’s largest partners across the creator and media ecosystems across televisions, movies, sports, news, gaming, lifestyle, fashion, beauty, food, learning, family and health. Merryman manages a team of 300 people across the Americas, with employees in five countries. Prior to joining YouTube, Merryman served as VP of content acquisition at Netflix from 2007 to 2014. She also held positions in digital distribution and business development at Sony Pictures.

Gravitas Ventures

SOPHIA FIELDS
Senior Director, Operations

On more than 300 releases per year, Fields oversees technical onboarding from filmmakers and delivery to Gravitas Ventures’ vast network of domestic and international distribution partners, including digital, linear (broadcast and cable), theatrical and home entertainment. With more than 20 years of content distribution experience, she leads the Gravitas operations team, maximizing internal efficiencies and streamlining workflow with outside labs that service the company’s content. She loves cultivating new talent at the company, always glad to share her experience and help develop their skill sets.

LINDSEY MOFFAT
Director, Business Affairs and Filmmaker Relations

Moffat oversees communication between Gravitas Ventures and its partners, overseeing and conveying distribution strategy in both domestic and international markets throughout each film’s lifecycle. Additionally, she serves as rights manager and maintains the database of Gravitas’ robust catalog of films. She has built up a wide variety of institutional knowledge across operations, marketing and global sales throughout her tenure with Gravitas and is passionate about her role as an educator for both her team internally as well as supporting the next generation of filmmakers.

HBO Max

SUSANNA FELLEMAN
EVP, Business Affairs, HBO, HBO Max, TBS, TNT and truTV

Felleman is responsible for overseeing business and legal negotiations for the networks’ programming, including talent deals, co-financing and licensing arrangements, and business strategy. Felleman joined HBO in April 2001 as associate counsel, legal, West Coast; was named senior counsel, legal, West Coast, in April 2003; was promoted to director of business affairs, West Coast, in August 2005; and was elevated to VP of business affairs in December 2006. She was promoted to her current position this year.

MEREDITH GERTLER
EVP, Content Strategy and Planning, HBO and HBO Max

Gertler is responsible for shaping the HBO Max portfolio and developing overall content and programming strategies for Max and all HBO and Cinemax streaming and on-demand platforms, and linear networks. In addition, she oversees content and promotion scheduling for Max and all HBO platforms. She joined HBO in 2004 on HBO Video’s marketing team, where she developed and executed strategic business and marketing plans for original programming on DVD. In 2012, she made the move to program strategy and planning and helped craft the content planning and scheduling framework in support of the launch of the HBO Now direct-to-consumer product in 2015.

JANET GRAHAM BORBA
EVP, Production, HBO and HBO Max
Borba is responsible for supervising production on all HBO and HBO Max programming. She shares production oversight of TBS, TNT and truTV with Brett Weitz, GM, TBS, TNT and truTV. Prior to this role, Borba was SVP of West Coast production, overseeing films and miniseries, where she worked on “Game of Thrones” from the pilot stage onward. She also worked on the multiple award-winning miniseries “Olive Kitteridge,” “The Pacific,” “John Adams” and “Angels in America,” as well as films such as Paterno, Lackawanna Blues, Something the Lord Made, Iron Jawed Angels and Wit.

SARAH LYONS
EVP, DTC Global Product Management, HBO Max

Lyons helps define the vision for the HBO Max product’s features, user experience and product roadmap. She is shaping the app experience across all major platforms, defining how users discover content they care about, as well as paving the way for innovation on how content is viewed and experienced globally. Prior to this, Lyons held various positions within AT&T/DirecTV, including VP of OTT Media Products, responsible for the DirecTV Now product, and the launch of their next-generation video platform.

SU KELSAY
SVP, Marketing Technology and Operations, HBO Max
Kelsay is driving strategic growth, retention and engagement for the worldwide launch of HBO Max through innovative marketing strategies, technology and analytics. She has helped Max successfully increase engagement and decrease churn by establishing tools to measure and monitor customer lifecycle patterns. Under Kelsay’s leadership, her team was pivotal in growing HBO/Max domestic subscriber count from 33 million to 47 million since Max’s launch, surpassing AT&T’s projected figure for 2022. The 14 million is more growth in subscribers than HBO had in the United States in the past 10 years combined. Following the launch of Max in 39 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Kelsay’s team will play an instrumental role in onboarding colleagues in Europe later this year by serving to streamline data collection efforts and processes.

MELISSA WEINER
SVP, Product Management, HBO Max

Weiner leads a global team across various focus areas, including portfolio prioritization and roadmap, product innovation, budget and operational processes, app store go-to-market strategies, and measurement and experimentation. Seasoned at launching new products and revamping existing business models, Weiner is also responsible for managing the HBO Max international product roadmap starting with the platform’s rollout in Latin America and across Europe. Weiner’s team will help facilitate a uniform experience in new regions around the world, including localization with capabilities to accept new payment methods for each region, provide local language support and more. She previously oversaw product planning efforts for the platform’s May 2020 launch, including the app replacement strategy that helped facilitate the transition of HBO Now to HBO Max.

DUAN PENG
SVP, Data and Artificial Intelligence, WarnerMedia/HBO Max

Peng leads the global data and AI group including data science, data engineering, machine learning engineering, business intelligence and analytics, data product, and data governance to support the launch and growth of HBO Max across multiple countries. In her role, she powers strategy and decision-making across product, marketing, content, revenue management and operations. Her team analyzes consumer behavior and data to provide insight into audiences and in effect builds out personalized experiences for Max customers, which has helped grow the service to 41.5 million HBO/Max U.S. subscribers at the end of 2020, surpassing AT&T’s projected figure for 2022.

LINDSEY EMERSON
VP, Product Management, HBO Max, Kids and Family

Emerson has more than a decade of experience in product management building streaming platforms across educational and entertainment spaces. Since joining HBO Max as a founding team member, her team launched the Kids & Family experience, offering kids an autonomous and age-appropriate experience while giving parents transparent controls. Prior to joining WarnerMedia in 2017, Emerson served as director of product management for The Bouqs Company. There she drove e-commerce platform optimization and improved distribution effectiveness. Emerson also managed the growth of the marketplace while at DogVacay, which was acquired by Rover in March of 2016. As a part of the acquisition, she was tapped to help manage the integration of the DogVacay marketplace onto the Rover platform.

Hulu

REAGAN FEENEY
SVP, Live TV Content Programming and Partnerships
Feeney is responsible for setting the vision and strategic direction for Hulu’s live-TV distribution, including managing partnerships with national channels, regional sports networks and local broadcast affiliates. Her team also leads the strategy surrounding premium add-ons, ESPN+ on Hulu, and ABC News Live specials. Previously, she was VP of content at AT&T’s DirecTV, where she was responsible for identifying and negotiating general entertainment and sports programming acquisitions, as well as maintaining external business relationships for linear cable channels, out-of-market sports subscribers.

BRITTANY HVEEM
Head of Business Affairs
Hveem leads negotiations of development and licensing deals related to Hulu’s slate of original series, documentaries, international co-productions and specials. She oversees the business and production relationships with studio suppliers such as Warner Bros., Universal Television, Sony and Lionsgate, approving production budgets and negotiations with talent. Prior to joining Hulu in 2016, Hveem was most recently VP of business affairs for Warner Horizon Television and was previously counsel at ABC Studios.

ANGIE KANG
VP, Business and Legal Affairs and Deputy Chief Counsel
Kang oversees the company’s legal and business affairs matters. Since
starting at Hulu about a decade ago, she has led numerous high-profile deals and initiatives that have grown Hulu’s content library to include some of the most in-demand, premium content in the market. Before joining Hulu, Kang was an associate at Latham & Watkins, where she was responsible for mergers and acquisitions, public company representation and corporate finance transactions across a wide range of industries including technology, media and entertainment.

ANNIE LUO
SVP, Business Development and Operations

Luo is responsible for driving expansion efforts and relationships with partners and connecting business operations across the organization. Prior to joining Hulu, Luo worked at McKinsey & Company, where she was a founding member for their consumer tech and media practice, leading operations and strategic alliances globally. She spent six years as the head of media, entertainment and information practice at the World Economic Forum and held various roles across top media brands, including BBC Worldwide (Asia), CNBC and Bloomberg Media Group.

IMDb TV

LAUREN ANDERSON
Co-Head of Content and Programming
Anderson oversees all programming for IMDb TV, including creative development, production, licensing, scheduling, research and strategy. She joined Amazon Studios in 2019 as the head of strategic content, managing such series as “The Savage x Fenty Show” for Prime Video. Anderson was named to Next TV’s 2020 “The Watch List” as well as Business Insider’s “AVOD Industry Leaders.” Early accomplishments for IMDb TV include bringing the iconic Judge Judy Sheindlin to a streaming audience, shepherding Amazon’s first partnership with prolific creator Dick Wolf — his only half-hour crime procedural — and developing the AVOD spinoff of Prime Video’s longest-running series, “Bosch.”

Lionsgate

CHASE BRISBIN
EVP, International Television and Digital Distribution

Brisbin was promoted to EVP in May. A skilled strategist, she’s responsible for licensing Lionsgate’s TV and film content, both library and first run, to an expanding international SVOD marketplace. She helped negotiate the syndication of “Mad Men” and works closely with the Starz team to support their international expansion. She joined Lionsgate in 2012 and has negotiated some of its most innovative deals.

KATE NEXON
EVP, Domestic Television and Digital Distribution

Nexon was promoted to EVP in May and is an invaluable member of the domestic distribution team. A 12-year Lionsgate veteran, she’s responsible for licensing the studio’s TV and film properties across hundreds of SVOD, AVOD and linear platforms in the United States. She leads domestic sales, overseeing strategic planning and execution of multi-platform initiatives. She helped negotiate the syndication of “Mad Men,” and she also helped secure Lionsgate’s Pay 1 theatrical output deal with Starz.

JILL ANDERSON
SVP, Home Entertainment Sales

Anderson oversees Lionsgate’s home entertainment business for retail’s
largest accounts. She continually looks for new opportunities to uniquely position Lionsgate’s 17,000-title library, driving her team to do the same. Anderson is a consummate team player who is dedicated to finding win-win solutions. She’s extremely proud to be an 18-year veteran of Lionsgate’s entrepreneurial culture, its commitment to innovation, and its passion for bold, original, relatable entertainment.

ERIN CARTER
SVP, Marketing
Carter is a 14-year veteran of Lionsgate and predecessor company Anchor Bay, part of the studio’s acquisition of Starz. She oversees the marketing and distribution strategy for Lionsgate’s 17,000-title film and television library, one of the largest in the world, which achieved a record $780 million in revenue during the past 12 months. She continues to be at the forefront of content licensing initiatives to an expanding array of new and traditional buyers around the world. Carter also spearheads content lifecycle planning for Lionsgate’s distribution partners, including Roadside Attractions, Grindstone Entertainment and A&E Television. She joined Lionsgate in 2017 from Anchor Bay, where she spent a decade leading the
company’s strategy for its independent theatrical releases.

KENYA HART
SVP, Procurement and Inventory Operations
Hart oversees the daily operations of the materials management, inventory
reconciliation and procurement/demand planning teams to ensure timely finished good product delivery in support of new release, catalog and promotion deadlines for U.S. and Canadian distribution. As the SAP super user/departmental systems manager, she works closely with IT to test, implement and validate systemic upgrades and enhancements. Additionally, she handles cost analysis and business acquisition onboarding.

AMELIA McPARTLON ROGERS
SVP, Marketing, Global Content Strategy

Rogers oversees overall marketing strategy in the limited theatrical and
digital distribution space. She leads her teams to develop a full 360-degree
marketing strategy for Lionsgate’s entire limited theatrical and multiplatform release slate, as well as for the company’s vast library and third-party distribution companies.

LAUREN BIXBY
VP, Acquisitions and Co-Productions

Bixby builds a slate of 12-plus feature films per year, curating a pipeline of programming across a wide range of genres for a variety of distribution strategies and platforms. She handles both the business side, making offers and negotiating deals, and the creative side, often pre-buying projects before production. Building relationships with producers, she champions high-concept thriller, action, comedy, romance and horror films, and shepherds projects through to release.

KATHY ARENDAIN, VP, Creative Marketing, Digital and Social
MELISSA CLARKE, VP, Retail Operations
TIFFANY OLIVARES GIRARDI, VP, Publicity and Digital Engagement
LINDSAY LEFRANCOIS, VP, Procurement
SHANNON PARKER, VP, AV Creative Services
HELEN REICH, VP, Sales Administration

Movies Anywhere

KARIN GILFORD
SVP, Digital Media, The Walt Disney Co., and GM, Movies Anywhere
Gilford oversees a portfolio comprised of cloud-based digital library service Movies Anywhere, an independent, dedicated, cross-functional team that includes product, technology and marketing professionals, and Digital Media, a cross-functional team that drives engagement and monetization across The Walt Disney Co. portfolio. She oversees product development, business strategy and long-term growth of all aspects of Movies Anywhere and Digital Media, and serves as key liaison, working with various key stakeholders and participating studios and retailers.

ELISSA BROWN
VP, Finance and Operations
Brown leads day-to-day operations, developing and executing key business and platform strategies to drive growth and deliver operational efficiencies across all facets of Movies Anywhere. This organization includes finance, strategy, business development, partner management, business intelligence/analytics, customer care and program management.

BETH K. BAIER
Assistant Chief Counsel
Baier leads all day-to-day legal and business affairs matters and serves as the senior legal advisor to the company’s business teams. She actively participates in legal analysis, modeling, negotiations and drafting of new strategic business models and high-profile deals involving emerging digital distribution technologies, distribution platforms, technical operations and marketing strategies. She was instrumental in developing Movies Anywhere’s Screen Pass and co-viewing features that were launched during the pandemic, including advising on compliant functionalities, business rules, branding and consumer messaging.

NBCUniversal/Peacock

Maggie McLean Suniewick
President, Digital Enterprises, NBCUniversal Media
President, Business Development and Partnerships, Peacock
Suniewick leads NBC Universal’s digital business strategy and partnerships with new-media and technology companies to deliver premium content to emerging platforms. She previously served as SVP of strategic integration, where she was charged with identifying creative, technological and strategic opportunities between Comcast Corp. and NBCUniversal. She led Symphony, the companywide marketing initiative that promotes NBCUniversal TV programming, movies and events, including the Olympics, and Comcast’s products and services across the entire portfolio to drive awareness and help connect with consumers.

Netflix

TRACEY PAKOSTA
VP, Comedy, Original Series
Pakosta was named head of comedy on the original series team at Netflix in November 2020. She oversees both development and current programming for Netflix’s slate of scripted comedy series, including adult animation and live-action family comedies, as well as the stand-up and comedy formats team. Prior to joining Netflix, Pakosta had served as co-president of scripted programming at NBC Entertainment since 2018. In this role, she was responsible for comedy development, drama development, current programming, casting and diversity programming initiatives for NBC. Previously, Pakosta served as EVP of comedy development at NBC Entertainment. While in a leadership role with the network, she developed a number of acclaimed series, including “The Good Place,” “Superstore” and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.”

AMY REINHARD
VP, Studio Operations

Reinhard was named VP of studio operations in 2020. Since joining Netflix in 2016 as VP of content acquisition, she has led global studio licensing for films and television series as well as local language acquisitions from Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India. In addition to global licensing, Reinhard oversees physical production, production facilities management, consumer products and creative services, including casting, literary scouting, IP management and music business development. Prior to joining Netflix, she was the president of worldwide TV licensing and distribution for Paramount Pictures, where she held various roles for over 10 years.

BOZOMA SAINT JOHN
Chief Marketing Officer
Saint John was named CMO of Netflix in June 2020. She previously held the same role at Endeavor after serving as the first-ever chief brand officer at Uber. Her 20-year marketing career also includes tenures as head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes, and head of the music and entertainment marketing group at Pepsi-Cola North America. Saint John has been recognized for her breakthrough work by both the industry and her peers, having been inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement in 2014. Additionally, she serves on the boards of Girls Who Code and Vital Voices, and in March 2017, she was named as a Henry Crown Fellow by the Aspen Institute.

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Paramount Pictures

MELINDA FROELICH
SVP, International Marketing, Paramount Home Entertainment
Froelich handles international marketing, advertising, public relations, promotions and release strategy for all transactional windows post-theatrical. She also oversees global marketing for all worldwide television partners. Froelich joined the studio in 2005, having previously worked at The Walt Disney Company for eight years.

HILARIE HILDEBRANDT
SVP, Global Accounts and Customer Marketing, Paramount Home
Entertainment
Hildebrandt oversees customer marketing and sales for global digital accounts with a focus on aligning strategic initiatives across new-release, catalog and television product. Her responsibilities include executing consumer-focused programs with each retail client to maximize sales and drive growth formats including 4K Ultra HD, digital sellthrough and VOD. Hildebrandt and her team work to leverage the continually evolving digital retail environment to ensure Paramount and its partners reach their core objectives. Hildebrandt previously served as VP of retail marketing at 20th Century Fox, and also held sales director positions at Fox and Polygram Filmed Entertainment in Canada.

NANCY POPE
SVP, Human Resources, Paramount Pictures
Pope supports the home entertainment, theatrical marketing and TV licensing divisions. Early in her career she worked for AT&T as both an operations manager and HR professional. Upon earning her master’s degree in industrial psychology, Pope left AT&T and joined Nestle USA, where she became the director of training and development. In 1999, she joined EMI Music North America to become VP of human resources, and in 2007 she joined Paramount Pictures.

ALANNA POWERS
SVP, Brand Marketing, Paramount Home Entertainment
Powers leads the division’s global marketing strategies, product development, and management of new releases, acquisitions and library titles. She and her teams develop campaigns for physical and digital distribution channels that align with cross-divisional partners to maximize the studio’s full portfolio of titles. Prior to joining Paramount, Powers held senior marketing positions at Redbox and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment after starting her career at FCB.

AUBREY THOMASON
SVP, Business Affairs and Legal, Paramount Pictures
Thomason focuses on acquisitions for distribution primarily through television and home entertainment channels, related security agreements, interparty agreements and theatrical services agreements, as well as domestic video sublicensing matters. Prior to joining Paramount, Thomason was an associate at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP (2000-05), where she primarily worked on corporate finance and real estate transactions, but also served as outside counsel to Paramount Pictures between 2003 and 2005.

LEDA CHANG, VP, Digital Marketing, Paramount Home Entertainment
MICHELE RUMAIN, VP, Advertising (Media), Paramount Home Entertainment
PAMELA SIVULA, VP, Financial Planning, Paramount Home Entertainment

PBS Distribution

GERMAINE DEAGAN SWEET
Managing Director, Content Acquisitions
A TV industry veteran, Sweet has worked her way across the globe, from her homeland in Australia to London and the United States. As head of the acquisitions unit, she is responsible for ensuring a significant and consistent pipeline of quality drama for PBS Distribution and, with key internal partners, the larger PBS system. Additionally, she focuses on increasing and solidifying co-production partnerships and financing for a wide range of productions developed by PBS, WGBH, WETA and WNET, as well as programs from independent producers such as Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and well-known U.K. producers. Prior to joining PBS Distribution in 2017, Sweet held key executive positions at Fox Network Group, where she launched its international sales unit and merged the Fox International Channels and National Geographic content sales businesses. She also launched and led the National Geographic Channels global content sales business.

JILL GREENBLATT
Senior Director, Production Operations
Greenblatt directs the production operations department at PBS Distribution. Her department is responsible for the acquisition, creation and distribution of assets for streaming media, Blu-ray and DVD, and broadcast worldwide. She developed and implemented an end-to-end media supply chain and overhauled technical specifications and developed other day-to-day operational processes. Her efforts have increased production output for the company by more than 40%. Greenblatt previously worked at 21st Century Fox, Sony Pictures and numerous other companies in a variety of post-production, operations and
engineering positions.

Premiere Digital

MICHELE EDELMAN
Head of Growth
With more than 20 years of executive experience, an unmatched business acumen and extensive knowledge of home entertainment, Edelman has been a driving force behind innovation and growth at the forefront of an evolving OTT landscape. From launching TVOD/EST programs at Warner Bros., to spearheading VOD strategies at Vubiquity, to redefining distribution at media services company Premiere Digital, Edelman has been instrumental in implementing international market plans across media services, distribution and software-as-a-service disciplines.

EVELYN ARTEAGA
Executive Director of Operations
Arteaga has become a key influence in developing digital workflows at Premiere Digital since she joined the company near its inception. Evolving through her roles as a digital media technician to a manager and her current position, she has improved and developed processes that efficiently adapted with the company’s growth. In supporting significant functions of the company, she has curated instrumental industry knowledge that has positioned the company as a primary technological solution for media servicing and distribution.

BETH ARCHER
Director of Mastering
Since joining Premiere Digital, Archer has risen from an entry level position in ingest and mastering to director of mastering. She is responsible for establishing the company’s roots on the East Coast, launching the Stamford, Conn., facility and consolidating workflows and technologies to support the Los Angeles headquarters. In developing efficient processes and leveraging a honed knowledge of new technologies, she has been a key contributor to the company’s growth alongside the rise of digital media in entertainment.

ABIGAIL HUGHES
VP, Growth, EMEA
Hughes is a well-respected global supply chain and operations expert with significant experience at top entertainment companies, working with sales teams and customers to optimize end-to-end content distribution. Her career includes stints at BBC Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Endemol Shine where she led multiple efforts including digital supply chain transformation and global technical operations. At Premiere Digital, she leads global expansion in Europe, growing the company’s presence worldwide and establishing the company as a media and technology solution for global industry leaders.

NATALIE MARTIN
VP, Growth and Development
Martin has been a top-performing digital distribution executive for more than a decade, using her deep sales and operations expertise to help global brands monetize content with innovative strategies and solutions that maximize profitability. In her current role, she is responsible for driving revenue by nurturing key industry relationships and building new revenue streams, including the company’s rapidly expanding aggregation business that increases scale and efficiency between digital platforms and content owners.

CARRIE MOORE
VP, Product Development
Moore is the quintessential Premiere Digital success story. Since joining the company as the seventh employee, she has become a reliable expert in digital distribution with experience in mastering, fulfillment and SaaS technology. She helped expand the company’s global footprint, launching the Bangalore facilities, workflow and teams to enable global operations. She also developed a product support infrastructure for all software used at Premiere Digital, continuing to grow the company’s flagship media management products, Storefront and PDX.

Redbox

KAVITA SUTHAR
CFO
Suthar assumed her current role in 2020. From 2015 to 2020, she served in various finance positions at Redbox, including VP of finance, strategy and analytics and senior director of financial planning and analysis. Before joining Redbox, Suthar worked in positions in finance, strategy and audit at U.S. Cellular from 2004 to 2015. In addition, she worked as an auditor for Grant Thornton from 2002 to 2004. Suthar received a B.A. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a licensed CPA.

KRISTIN BOWSER
VP, Operations
Bowser leads the company’s field support group of 1,000 employees across the U.S. who service and stock Redbox kiosks. She and her team also provide service and support to third parties through Redbox’s service business including Amazon Lockers, ECO ATM and other kiosk businesses. During the pandemic, she played a pivotal role for Redbox and its third-party service business ensuring millions of customers were able to enjoy new-release movies, easily access purchases and recycle electronics safely. She joined Redbox in 2009 in the machine support department and quickly moved through the organization to her current role. Prior to joining Redbox, Kristin worked as district manager for Family Video.

LAURA FLORENCE
Senior Director, Content Partnerships and Programming
Florence leads Redbox’s digital partnerships and programming teams, handling content acquisitions and programming for TVOD/EST, AVOD and FAST Channels. A more than 14-year veteran of the entertainment industry, with extensive experience in both the physical and digital categories of content distribution, Florence has partnered with some of the largest digital distributors and retailers in the industry, including Walmart, Amazon, Vudu and iTunes. Most recently, she worked at Gravitas Ventures running North American sales and marketing for theatrical, TVOD/Cable/Satellite, home entertainment and AVOD Sales.

LORI FLYNN
VP, Content
Flynn is focused on revenue-growth strategies, including exclusive and original content opportunities for the movie business. Prior to joining Redbox, she spent more than 17 years at Blockbuster Video, where she was responsible for managing the rental/merchandising group for corporate stores and online.

MAURA GRAY
Senior Director, Consumer Marketing and Partnerships
Gray helps Redbox’s 40 million customers discover and enjoy entertainment across all the products the company offers, from transactional to ad-supported free content. She oversees multiple large-scale brand initiatives and was tasked with building awareness for the launch of Redbox’s most recent services, Free Live TV and Free On Demand. Prior to joining Redbox, she focused on ad sales and partnership marketing at the National Geographic Channels.

NICOLE HENRY
Senior Director, Financial Planning and Analysis
Henry oversees the financial strategy and analytics team at Redbox, including budgeting, payments, content analytics and deal support. She has also handled financial planning and analytics for Redbox’s digital transactional business as well as its ad-supported free content platforms. Prior to joining Redbox, Henry served as manager, corporate financial planning and analysis for Outerwall. She began her career in the public and educational sectors.

Sling TV

MELISA ORDONEZ BODDIE
VP, Programming
Boddie heads up the local broadcast, public interest and pay-for-carriage business for Dish Network and Sling TV. Her responsibilities include local, core and paid-programming acquisitions, including contract negotiations.

LIZ RIEMERSMA
VP, Sling and Dish International Programming

Riemersma oversees programming, marketing and operations for both Dish International and Sling International. She is responsible for acquiring and marketing international content, and driving subscriber growth across 27 languages at Dish and Sling TV.

Shout! Factory

MELISSA BOAG
SVP, Family Entertainment
As head of the family entertainment division — a significant part of the company’s business — Boag develops North American marketing, distribution, acquisition and sales strategy in the physical and digital business. She oversees the company’s key partnerships with Sesame Street, Hasbro/eOne Entertainment, Gkids, Laika Studios, Anime Limited, Eleven Arts, ​and other notable filmmakers and producers. Under her management, the studio’s animated entertainment business has seen significant growth each year showcasing key lines, including Studio Ghibli classics with Gkids, Laika Studios specialty releases, the classic “Transformers” movies and series, Gkids’ wide range of acclaimed animated and anime films, “Digimon Adventure Tri.” movies, and other top anime properties and critically acclaimed family films.

LAUREN BLUM
Associate VP, Publicity
Blum is an accomplished PR strategist, with a great passion for communication, journalism, business and leadership. She has delivered outstanding film, digital and home entertainment campaigns over the years. Recent highlights include campaigns for the comedy drama Misbehaviour, documentary features A Crime on the Bayou and Linda and the Mockingbirds, and home entertainment releases from Gkids, Studio Ghibli and the upcoming Laika Studios editions.

JULIE DANSKER
Head of New Content Sales
A seasoned entertainment executive with long-standing relationships with esteemed content creators, content buyers, multichannel video programming distributors, digital and streaming platforms, studios and networks, Dansker oversees the new content sales and strategy for Shout! Factory. She leads the efforts to distribute premium theatrical new releases and sell content directly to key global partners, leveraging her strong relationships with the buyers at major streaming services and digital channels. She collaborates with the film acquisitions team to acquire and distribute new movies and series to streaming and broadcast partners. She also works closely with Shout! Studios’ original productions team to develop original content across television, feature films and podcast, actively pitching and setting up original productions as well.

KATHY CALLAHAN
VP, Special Market Sales and E-Commerce
Callahan is a 30-plus year veteran of entertainment media sales and marketing. She joined the company in 2006. Since 2012 she has served as the GM of Shout! Factory’s e-commerce businesses, which include ShoutFactory.com, the MST3Kstore.com, and Shout!’s Amazon Marketplace business. Callahan also handles Shout! Factory specialty sales and non-traditional sales in general.

KARRIE STOUFFER
VP, Creative Services
Stouffer is the head of creative, specializing in entertainment properties. Her expertise spans numerous functions, including leading and managing creative campaigns, art direction, design, key art/logo/brand/title treatment development, and project management. Most recently, Stouffer has helped spearhead the branding/merchandising of the reboot of “Mystery Science Theater 3000” in step with Shout! Factory’s leap into original content.

Sony Pictures

JILL ALLEN
SVP, Digital Distribution
Allen heads up U.S. digital distribution across all new-media and MVPD platforms, including Amazon, Apple TV, Fandango and Comcast. She oversees sales and sales-planning teams to drive business across the studio’s new-release and catalog properties. Allen began her career at Disney and LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) before joining the Sony team 15 years ago. During her time at Sony, she has held both sales and business development roles, always with a focus on the intersection of content and new technologies.

JENNIFER ANDERSON
SVP, Global Brand Marketing
Anderson leads the global brand management team that oversees and manages lifecycle campaigns across the Sony Pictures slate, establishing key consumer messaging, aligning marketing tactics to core brand strategy and ensuring that product marketing efforts are in line with studio business goals. Some priorities in this rapidly changing landscape have included optimizing release windows, bringing high-end productions direct-to-home, and delighting content-hungry consumers with a wide range of catalog titles that continue to shine.

GERI BLUEROCK
SVP, Sales and Operations, North America
Bluerock leads the sales and operations organization for the domestic physical business. Her scope includes sales, supply chain, planning, reporting and administration. She has led the evolution of the sales team to integrate data-driven insights addressing retailer and consumer opportunities. Her experience at Sony, MGM and Target includes leadership positions in sales, sales planning and analysis, retail operations, category management, vendor managed inventory, demand planning and retail buying.

ANJA DANG
SVP, Global Audience Analytics, Data Science and Business Insights
Dang is responsible for identifying and developing Sony Pictures’ capabilities to become a more consumer-centric, data-driven organization. Her team builds, sources, connects, and manages consumer and audience-level data assets and capabilities; understands and creates consumer segments for activation; designs activation solutions for Sony Pictures Entertainment audiences; and delivers insights. Her team utilizes advanced data analytics and machine learning to develop models and apps to enable SPE to make informed decisions that drive and fulfill consumer appetite for film and television content across the theatrical, home entertainment and television release windows.

JACQUI MARSHALL
EVP, Legal Affairs
Marshall heads up the corporate legal team for Sony in the EMEA region. She is responsible for legal matters for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, including physical and digital rights distribution and acquisition, joint ventures, operational and retailer arrangements, and all other corporate and commercial initiatives. Marshall has looked after SPHE’s legal requirements in EMEA for more than a decade after starting her career at Universal Pictures.

JANE MOHON
SVP, Media
Mohon is responsible for consumer media strategy, overseeing strategic linear and digital media planning and buying. A champion of an analytics-led strategy, Mohon leverages consumer lifecycle data to drive multi-channel paid media strategies to drive transactions.

DINA WIGGINS
SVP, Legal
Wiggins has been overseeing legal affairs worldwide for SPHE marketing for nearly 25 years, closely collaborating with all departments throughout SPHE. Her work also includes legal compliance in all aspects of the licensing, distribution, sales, manufacturing, and other exploitation of movies and television series in home entertainment for domestic and international territories, excluding EMEA.

CATHY GOLDMAN
SVP, Global TV Distribution and International Production Marketing
Goldman has been overseeing marketing for Sony Pictures Television International Distribution for the past seven years, and just recently expanded her purview to include the U.S. television distribution business as well as the global transactional business for television product. Alignment of the transactional TV business with distribution allows for a holistic marketing approach across the lifecycle. Her core responsibilities include leading brand strategy, promotions and partnerships, and collaborating closely with cross-functional teams across digital/social, creative, creative content, media and publicity for premiere television properties such as “Outlander,” “The Crown,” “Better Call Saul” and “The Blacklist,” as well as key franchises such as “Seinfeld” and Norman Lear favorites.

ALLIE CARSIA-TALBOTT, VP, Digital Distribution
SUZANNE EMERSON, VP, Legal
JUDY GUEVARA, VP, Global Brand Marketing
HELENA KU, VP, Business Affairs
JANET SCHACKMAN, VP, Customer Operations
JANA SIMMONS, VP, Global Customer Experience
JOAN VILLAROS, VP, Production Services, North America

STXfilms

AMY ELKINS
President, Media and Marketing Innovation
Elkins has pioneered a results-driven direct-to-consumer ad model. She is the strategic media architect behind all STX releases, including such hits as the “Bad Moms” franchise, The Upside, Hustlers and Greenland. She created a comprehensive data-driven specialty unit to tackle effective business solutions via audience understanding and advanced analytics and insights, while also leading campaign innovation and inventive partnership success.

CHRISTINE MANNA
EVP, Digital Distribution
Over the past 15 months, Manna and her team created new strategies for STX films to reach the new stay-at-home audience, negotiating new terms with each of the top PVOD platforms. Manna and her team created bespoke release models for such STX films as Greenland (one of the top films in the PVOD category), Songbird, Horizon Line, The Mauritanian, The Secret Garden and Me, You, Madness.

KERI MOORE
President, Marketing
Moore oversees all marketing, branding and communication strategies for all STX films and is involved in marketing from the films’ inception through all lifecycles. With such recent releases as Greenland, The Gentlemen, Songbird, My Spy, The Mauritanian and Horizon Line, and the upcoming Queenpins, the company has maximized success and profitability through deal making and release strategies in the home entertainment corridor.

CAROLYN STEINMETZ
EVP and Head of Content Finance
Steinmetz’s team is critical to the company’s dealmaking, licensing and distribution of film entertainment on all platforms. She has driven the deals behind such hits as Bad Moms and I Feel Pretty, which became even bigger wins in home entertainment. More recently, she has arranged deals for Greenland, Songbird and My Spy. She is president of the nonprofit women’s industry organization FEME (Female Executives in Media and Entertainment).

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

PAMELA BLUM
SVP, Global Marketing
Blum oversees creative marketing services and the development of value-added content for the studio’s Blu-ray, DVD and digital releases on a worldwide basis. Her responsibilities also extend to include maximizing opportunities cross-divisionally within NBC Universal.

SANDY CHOI
SVP, Brand Marketing
Choi manages UPHE’s North American third-party partner relationships. She oversees the development and execution of all marketing campaigns for the partner releases across both physical and digital platforms. She also leads the cross-functional team responsible for the overall business.

DENISE HARO
SVP, Worldwide Consumer Insights and Strategy
Haro oversees business analytics, focusing on external market analytics, trend analysis, and long-term outlook. She also manages UPHE’s consumer insights and research. She is focused on aligning global commercial strategy around product, windows, messaging and innovation founded in business and consumer insights. Throughout her tenure, she has been influential in shaping company strategy.

JERRLYN IWATA
SVP, Digital Distribution
Iwata oversees business development and distribution for Universal’s domestic digital home entertainment arm. She is responsible for licensing Universal’s film and television content on a transactional basis to cable, satellite, Internet and emerging digital platform partners across the United States and Canada.

LEA PORTENEUVE
SVP, Global Publicity and Communications
Porteneuve oversees business, technology and executive communications for UPHE. She additionally spearheads all strategic publicity initiatives for Universal and its distributed lines, including media and talent relations, events, promotions, promotional partnerships and social media activations in support of the studio’s digital and physical home entertainment offerings. She also actively serves as the company’s principal PR strategist on cross-studio, industry-specific committees.

STACY BARGER, VP, Global Creative Services
STEPHANIE BAYER, VP, Global Creative Services
JENNIFER BLACK, VP, Global Publicity
ERICA MARIE DIONNE, VP, Product Development and Strategy
LEIGH DUNLEAVY, VP, Digital Platforms
ALISSA GURY, VP, Global Controller
NADIA HANEY, VP, Emerging Partnerships and Formats
TRACY KIM, VP, Digital Distribution and Digital Platforms
SANDY LE BIHAN, VP, Global Projects
STEPHANIE LUTJENS, VP, Global Brand Marketing
MARIAN MANSI, VP, Global Creative Content
JENNA WEBB, VP, Global Tech Operations

ViacomCBS/Paramount+

TANYA GILES
Chief Programming Officer, ViacomCBS Streaming
Giles oversees and executes a holistic programming strategy for the global content offering across the company’s streaming services Paramount+ and Pluto TV, maximizing mix, prioritization, timing and impact of ViacomCBS resources, franchises and brands to drive sustained audience acquisition and engagement. With more than 20 years of experience, Giles is widely respected across the entertainment industry and has a proven track record of applying research-driven insights to make high-impact programming decisions. Prior to joining ViacomCBS Streaming, Giles served as GM for the ViacomCBS MTV Entertainment Group, where she led content strategy, programming, and research and insights for leading entertainment brands such as MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, VH1, TV Land and others.

NICOLE CLEMENS
President, Paramount Television Studios and Paramount+ Original Scripted Series
Clemens oversees a robust slate of shows including original scripted content for Paramount+. Upcoming projects include “The Offer” (Paramount+) starring Miles Teller, and “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies” (Paramount+). Previously, Clemens was a producer at Anonymous Content, where she set up both film and television projects. Prior to joining Anonymous Content, Clemens was EVP and head of series development for FX Networks, where she guided a coveted roster of critically acclaimed original series including “Atlanta,” “Better Things,” “You’re the Worst,” “Baskets,” “Snowfall,” “Tyrant” and “Mayans MC.” Before that, Clemens was a partner and head of the motion picture literary department at ICM Partners for 16 years. Prior to her tenure at ICM Partners, Clemens ran Rod Holcomb Productions and was a television executive at Spelling Television.

CATHERINE HOUSER
EVP, Paramount Pictures, Worldwide Human Resources and ViacomCBS Streaming
Houser has managed human resources teams in the entertainment industry for 30 years. Prior to overseeing Paramount Pictures HR, Houser served as EVP of human resources for Viacom Media Networks where she led the company’s HR strategies and practices. In that role, she was responsible for all of MTV Networks’ HR initiatives globally.

ELIZABETH WRIGHT
EVP, Finance, ViacomCBS Streaming
Wright steers financial strategy for both Paramount+ and Pluto TV. Prior to joining ViacomCBS Streaming, Wright was at CBS for more than 10 years. As an SVP of financial planning and analysis, Wright ran annual budget processes, managed monthly KPIs, and drove initiatives for new business partnerships for CBS’s digital division.

AMY KUESSNER
SVP, Content Strategy and Global Partnerships, ViacomCBS Streaming
Kuessner is responsible for growth strategies, partnerships, content licensing and international expansion for Pluto TV and focused areas of Paramount+. In this role, Kuessner brings her expertise, creative vision and strategy to identify, bridge and scale symbiotic content partnerships across the multiple streaming platforms. Since its onset, Kuessner has been instrumental in the development and oversight of Pluto TV’s content acquisitions team, responsible for establishing nearly 400 global content deals with major Hollywood studios, TV Networks, distributors, major sports leagues, news organizations and publishing outfits.

SUSAN LUNDGREN
SVP, Communications, ViacomCBS Streaming
Lundgren oversees all external and internal communications and public relations efforts for the division as well as its streaming service Paramount+. She has more than 20 years of communications experience working with some of the top brands within tech and media. Prior to joining ViacomCBS Streaming, Lundgren was with Apple, where she was responsible for managing global strategic communications for legal, government affairs and industrial design as a part of the corporate communications team.

Warner Bros. Entertainment

NICOLE COLEMAN
SVP, Analytics, Planning and Marketing Operations
Coleman leads analytics, business planning, distribution marketing and operational teams in support of maximizing revenue for the sales and distribution organization.

KRISTINA FUGATE
SVP, Marketing, Film
Fugate handles all theatrical new-release and catalog brand marketing efforts across disc and digital platforms, which also includes creative advertising, franchise lifecycle management and global strategy. She’s responsible for developing strategies resulting in strong performances of brands and franchises, including “DC,” “Harry Potter,” “Godzilla,” “Wonder Woman” and the “Lego” films and recent titles including Tenet, Scoob!, Wonder Woman 1984 and Godzilla vs. Kong, as well as the 4K UHD slate and virtual reality experiences.

LAURA LUPINETTI
SVP, Partner Marketing
Lupinetti is responsible for maximizing Warner Bros. content exposure across the distribution landscape (digital and physical) to drive revenue for the full transactional portfolio using price variability, content exclusives/creative differentiation and co-marketing opportunities.

MARY ELLEN THOMAS
SVP, TV and Originals Product and Brand Marketing
Thomas leads home entertainment global marketing and creative for all non-theatrical content from Warner Bros., TNets (Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TBS, TNT, truTV, CNN) and HBO. She is responsible for driving the overall strategy, product development, creative, marketing and lifecycle management for originals and episodic product lines. In addition, Thomas manages talent and studio relationships and is responsible for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s portfolio brand partners, including Rooster Teeth, Peanuts, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, WWE and Viz Media.

KRISTIN ANDERSON, VP, TV Marketing
TRACI CARROLL, VP, Creative Advertising
AMY-BETH CHAMBERLIN, VP, Sales Services
SANDRA S. KIM, VP, Global Product Planning
TINA DEPASS LUJAN, VP, TV Marketing, TV Series
ANGIE LAI MAKHOUL, VP, Film Marketing
ZANDRA PALMER, VP, Trade Marketing
BETH WETZEL, VP, Creative Advertising

Women in Home Entertainment 2020: Meet the 12 Captains and See What They Have to Say

Hollywood, you’re getting better — but we’re still not quite there.

UCLA’s 2020 Hollywood Diversity Report, released in February, found that, overall, there are more acting jobs for women in film. In a look at 145 films released in 2019, women had 44.1% of the lead acting roles and accounted for 40.2% of the total cast.

But if you look behind the scenes, there remains much more of a divide. In 2019, just 15.1% of the directors, and 17.4% of the writers, of top-grossing films were women. The 2020 Hollywood Diversity Report also includes a workplace analysis of the top 11 studios, and found that 82% of ‘C’-level positions, and 80% of all senior executive positions, are held by men.

SEE ALSO: WOMEN IN HOME ENTERTAINMENT 2020 — THE TEAMS

This is why, for the third year, Media Play News is saluting the top women in home entertainment — with a special focus on the top “captains” who are driving the business — as selected by a panel of studio executives, key retailers, journalists and other industry leaders.

Our list of “captains” this year has expanded from 10 to 12, in recognition of the proliferation of high-profile streaming services. Our Women in Home Entertainment section takes on special significance this year in light of the coronavirus pandemic — which has presented our executives with a whole new series of challenges that are explored, in detail, in the Q&A section with our captains that follows our introductions.

THE CAPTAINS OF HOME ENTERTAINMENT: WHO THEY ARE

Sarah Aubrey

Head of Original Content, HBO Max

Sarah Aubrey

Aubrey heads up Original Content for HBO Max, presiding over a robust slate of Max Originals that offers programming options for every member of the household from preschool aged children through adults. Max Originals include a wide range of genres and formats, slanted toward Gen Z, millennial and female audiences, including programs such as “Legendary,” “Love Life,” “Expecting Amy,” “On the Trail,” “Raised by Wolves,” “Close Enough,” “Looney Tunes” and more. Previously, Aubrey was EVP of original programming for TNT, where she played an integral role in the network’s evolution into one of the premier destinations for prestige original dramas. Under her leadership, the number of women holding jobs at the highest levels on the average TNT scripted project more than doubled. TNT also jumped an impressive 320% on the annual GLAAD TV report rankings for LGBTQ representation. Prior to joining TNT, Aubrey was a prolific television and film producer, responsible for such projects as “Friday Night Lights” and “The Leftovers” while at Film 44, and films including Bad Santa before that.

Kelly Campbell

President, Hulu

Kelly Campbell

Campbell manages Hulu’s suite of on-demand and live streaming businesses within the Walt Disney Co.’s Direct-to-Consumer & International business unit. Campbell previously served as chief marketing officer of Hulu. Her team of marketers was responsible for creating and executing initiatives across brand, creative, subscriber growth, entertainment publicity, consumer research and viewer experience. Campbell has earned several industry accolades, including one of Business Insider’s Most Innovative CMOs, Cynopsis Media’s Top Women in Digital Media, Ad Age’s Women to Watch and FierceCable’s The Fierce 50: Executives Reshaping the Business of Pay-TV. Most recently, she made Forbes’ Most Influential Global CMOs list for embracing transparency in influencer marketing.

Agnes Chu

SVP, Content, Disney+

Agnes Chu

Though she is leaving in September to lead publisher Conde Nast’s studio and distribution unit, Chu is being honored as one of the key players behind the successful launch of Disney+. Chu is responsible for identifying and developing series, feature films, short-form content and other entertainment formats for the service. Reporting to Ricky Strauss, president of content and marketing, Chu leads the Disney+ Originals teams for scripted, unscripted and content operations, partnering closely with Disney-owned internal content creators, including The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. Over the course of her career at Disney, Chu has served in a variety of roles. Prior to her current position, she served as executive of story and franchise development at Walt Disney Imagineering. From 2013 to 2016, she worked for Bob Iger as VP, office of the chairman and CEO, leading corporate synergy in the integration of Lucasfilm and the grand opening of Shanghai Disney Resort. While at ABC Entertainment, managing content production for the broadcast network’s digital platforms, Chu garnered an Emmy nomination for “Lost: Mysteries of the Universe,” a pioneering streaming extension of the fan-favorite series “Lost.”  Chu began her career at Jigsaw Productions, working on Academy Award documentary nominee Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and “The Blues,” a seven-part series on PBS with directors Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood and Alex Gibney.

Andrea Downing

Co-President, PBS Distribution

Andrea Downing

With more than 20 years of experience in the media and entertainment business, Downing has a successful history of leading organizations for growth and profitability in dynamic landscapes. Her vision for PBS Distribution (PBSd) has evolved the focus of the organization to a global distribution company with a diversified portfolio of businesses, including three direct-to-consumer subscription video-on-demand (DTC-SVOD) services at its core. A strategic leader with a strong operational background who embraces change to transform organizations with new business strategies and products, Downing leads the company including strategic, financial, and operational aspects of PBSd.

Kathleen Gallagher

EVP and Managing Director — North America, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Kathleen Gallagher

Gallagher leads UPHE’s physical home entertainment business, including sales, operations, finance, customer marketing and distribution partnerships across the United States and Canada. She assumed her present position in March 2018, after serving as SVP of sales, customer marketing and category management for UPHE’s U.S. physical sellthrough and rental businesses. She started at Universal in 2000 as assistant category manager and served in various sales, category management and customer marketing positions. Gallagher began her career in 1999 at Sony Pictures Entertainment (at the time, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment).

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Hilary Hoffman

EVP, Global Marketing, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Hilary Hoffman

Hoffman oversees strategic marketing and business strategy for Universal and its distributed lines worldwide across new-release, catalog and TV properties for both digital and physical, focusing on the complete product lifecycle. Her responsibilities encompass defining go-to-market strategies and the overall approach for consumer engagement, including developing and leveraging new platforms and technologies as well as direct-to-consumer initiatives to drive profitable growth across all formats. During her tenure at Universal, Hoffman has overseen the campaigns of some of the studio’s biggest, revenue-generating releases and has successfully been a driving force behind Universal’s leading footprint in new industry initiatives.

Cindy Holland

VP, Original Content, Netflix

Cindy Holland

Holland, a 17-year Netflix veteran, is responsible for acquiring and launching original series for Netflix members around the globe. Under her purview, Holland and her team have launched award-winning and critically acclaimed projects that span drama, comedy, family/YA, documentaries, unscripted, stand-up specials and docu-series. She was named to the 2018 Time 100 list of the most influential people. According to the magazine, “in less than a decade, Cindy has helped orchestrate one of the biggest entertainment revolutions since the invention of the television.”

Dametra Johnson-Marletti

GM, Digital Store Category Management, Microsoft Corp.

Dametra Johnson-Marletti

Johnson-Marletti has responsibility for digital content categories (Gaming, Movies & TV, Entertainment and Consumer Apps) across all Microsoft digital storefronts.  She is charged with working with external content creating partners to optimize customer experiences and financial opportunities through creative content marketing programs, and business model innovation. Johnson-Marletti joined Microsoft in 2001 and has since made multiple contributions across a number of different businesses, including nine years in the Xbox Division. Prior to coming to Microsoft, Johnson-Marletti spent almost 10 years with Bristol Myers-Squibb, where she held several positions across sales and sales management in the Southern California area. A former professional women’s basketball player, Johnson-Marletti is a Los Angeles native who currently lives on the East Side of Seattle with her two teen children.

Kim Overall

EVP, Consumer Insights and Innovation, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Kim Overall

Overall is responsible for identifying and developing the studio’s capabilities to become a more consumer-centric, data-driven organization. Her group utilizes data analytics and consumer insights, enabling SPHE and Sony Pictures Television Distribution to make better-informed decisions to satisfy consumer demand for content. Formerly, Overall was SVP of SPHE’s United Kingdom, Norther Europe and EMEA partnerships. In this role, she was responsible for defining the commercial strategies for the region and supporting the EMEA territories. She joined SPHE in 2008 as the managing director for Australia and New Zealand.

Jessica Schell

EVP and GM, Film, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

Jessica Schell

Schell joined Warner Bros. in 2014 as EVP and GM of film at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and oversees all aspects of the transactional home entertainment business for Warner Bros. films worldwide. At Warner Bros. she has taken on additional responsibilities managing theatrical lifecycle marketing, cross-enterprise synergy initiatives, and immersive entertainment. Schell spent her early career at the Walt Disney Co. and Allen & Co. and is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School. At NBC Universal, she held roles of SVP of digital strategy and business development for NBC Universal, and EVP of business development and digital for Universal Pictures.

Amy Jo Smith

President and CEO, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group

Amy Jo Smith

Smith heads the leading trade group for the home entertainment industry. The DEG promotes entertainment platforms, products and distribution channels that support the movie, television, music, consumer electronics and IT industries. A former White House communications advisor, Smith since 1997 has led the industry-funded organization through the industry’s wholesale evolution from videocassettes to DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and today’s digital age. She joined the DEG as executive director under then-President Emiel Petrone, and was promoted to president in 2013 and CEO in 2017. Before the DEG she was SVP and group director at ad agency Cohn & Wolfe.

Lexine Wong

Senior EVP, Worldwide Marketing, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Lexine Wong

Wong leads Sony Pictures Television Distribution’s global home entertainment marketing team and is charged with delivering breakthrough marketing campaigns across a wide range of product from Sony Pictures Entertainment’s studio labels and television series. Specific areas of oversight include consumer and brand strategy, creative advertising, media and digital, PR and strategic partnerships, content development and new product development. Wong’s insights-driven marketing strategy is the foundation for product development and continued marketing innovation around new platforms critical for growth in the industry, such as Movies Anywhere, augmented reality, 4K UHD and other direct-to-consumer digital offerings. With more than 25 years in advertising and consumer marketing, Wong began her career at Young & Rubicam, before joining what would become Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, where she rose to EVP of worldwide marketing in 2001 and her present position in 2006.

THE CAPTAINS OF HOME ENTERTAINMENT: WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY

Sarah Aubrey, Head of  Original Content, HBO Max

Tell us about your career path. I began my career as an entertainment lawyer, later transitioning to production starting with Bad Santa and then joining forces with Peter Berg at our production company Film 44. During this time, I produced series and features such as “Friday Night Lights” and Lone Survivor. I then joined Kevin Reilly, who I had worked with on “Friday Night Lights,” at TNT as EVP of original programming for the network. We created programming that evolved the network into a place for premium tentpole dramas with series such as “Claws,” “Animal Kingdom” and the Emmy Award-winning drama “The Alienist.” I worked hard in this position to champion diversity and inclusion both in front of and behind the camera. During this time we were able to more than double the number of women holding jobs at the highest levels on the average TNT scripted project, and TNT jumped an impressive 320% on the annual GLAAD TV report rankings for LGBTQ representation. Kevin then presented me with a once-in-a-career opportunity, to be on the ground floor of HBO Max, a brand-new platform that brings together an incredibly special portfolio and group of creators in one place. [Reilly recently left WarnerMedia in a management shakeup.] In this role, I oversee our Originals slate from drama, comedy, unscripted, documentary, animation, and feature films, with something for everyone in the household. My team and I are empowered to go after unique, distinctive stories from creative voices that make a cultural impact, stories that we feel passionate about and that deserve to be seen by a wide audience. We are proud to have launched with the 2020 Sundance Documentary feature On the Record as well as the fan-favorites “Love Life” and “Legendary,” and to continue bringing incredible stories to our platform such as “Expecting Amy,” “On the Trail,” the “Friends” reunion special, and, of course in 2021, the long-awaited Snyder Cut (director Zack Snyder’s cut of the 2017 superhero film Justice League).

If you had to pick one career highlight, what would it be? The launch of HBO Max and the opportunity to build a streaming platform from scratch within a company that has a tremendous legacy.

What was the toughest decision you’ve ever made? To leave the security of being a practicing attorney to start my career as a producer.

How has your work life changed with COVID-19? Working from home has been an immense change not without its challenges, but we are all still working at the same incredible pace as we were in the office. Our teams have persevered, managing launching a platform alongside home schooling and shared spaces. Because of the determination of our teams, we were able to launch HBO Max on schedule and continue to debut and create new Max Originals, all from our homes. We have had to adjust how we tackle things day to day, but we are still accomplishing them, and with a level of quality that I think only this team could achieve. I keep reminding everyone, “Guys, when you have a baby, that’s not the end, that’s the beginning.” We are just at the beginning with HBO Max and I am excited to share everything we still have coming.

How has your personal life changed? As much as my kids can drive me crazy, it’s been a real joy getting to spend more time together than we would have were I in the office. And I’ve been cooking more. My beef enchiladas have hit a new level of deliciousness.

Where do you work at home? Did you already have a home office, or did you have to modify a space? My home office is wherever I can find space for my laptop. My new office is my chair in the corner of my bedroom and then with my kids in the dining room.

What’s the best thing about remote working? Wearing my pajama pants.

What is the downside? Wearing my pajama pants!

What impact is COVID-19 having on your business, and what are you doing about it? Like everyone in our creative community, our productions and teams have been impacted by COVID-19, but fortunately we have been able to keep our programming slate on track and our teams have been incredibly inventive and have remained dedicated to our goals working at the same pace we had in the office. Our launch slate and planned summer programs have been set for some time and thankfully were mostly unaffected, but we did have some projects in production that were placed on hiatus while we figure out the best, and safest, path forward. The health and safety of our casts and crews are our first priority. Care for our employees, cast and crew are the most important consideration in all decision-making. But we are still really busy! We have several projects in post-production, with people working from the safety of their homes using editing rigs we provided. We were able to continue shooting the Max Original CNN Films documentary On The Trail as part of CNN’s news-gathering operation and have also greenlighted new series such as “Selena + Chef,” an unscripted cooking show starring Selena Gomez, and “Homeschool Musical,” a scripted series from Tony winner Laura Benanti. Both of these projects were born out of quarantine and demonstrate the innovation and creativity of the teams at HBO Max.

How are you collaborating with colleagues and meeting with customers? Our office is built on collaboration, so we are constantly working together over WebEx, checking in with our creative partners, and continuing to work on our slate in creative ways under these new circumstances. I am so impressed and proud of my team, and of the teams across the company, who have shown such resiliency and continued passion as we continue to make deals, write scripts and edit our programming from home.

How many Zoom or other video conference calls do you have in an average week? Too many to count!

Has a return to the office date been set, and if so what changes are you expecting? It is a company priority to restart television and film production, but care for our employees, cast and crew is the most important consideration in all decision-making, and we are prioritizing productions for our testing and safety resources. There are no imminent plans for my team to return to the office, but we are currently starting up smaller productions in consultation with local authorities, the unions and medical experts. There will definitely be changes to how our productions are run, and we will do everything we can to make sure that our employees, cast, crew and creative partners feel protected and comfortable each step of the way. With our wide range of formats and shooting locations, each production is different and will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Do you envision any long-term changes in our industry? There has been a lot of innovation around using digital experiences and formats that I think will remain in place and be useful once we begin to reopen and restart productions, festivals and other large gatherings. By opening up once-exclusive events to a wider platform digitally, we are able to more freely share with the community and expand our reach to voices around the world.

What are the last two or three movies, TV shows or original series you watched — and please tell us why you love them? I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. I was obsessed with Michelle McNamara’s very personal account of her hunt to reveal the identity of the Golden State Killer and HBO has done a wonderful job of bringing that book to life. Getting to see Michelle’s perspective has been moving and inspiring. I have been catching up on the latest season of “Better Things” and Pamela Adlon is a god.

If you could spend the day with any famous person, alive or dead, who would it be — and why? Connie Britton. We are old friends from making “Friday Night Lights” together and overdue for a backyard margarita.

 

Kelly Campbell, President, Hulu  

If you had to pick one career highlight, what would it be? Joining the team at Hulu — and now Disney — has been the biggest highlight of my career.  Having the opportunity to work with so many brilliant, creative people who are genuinely passionate about having a positive impact on our viewers and communities has been life-changing, and I’m incredibly grateful for that. I firmly believe that this is the most exciting place to be in this industry right now.

How has your work life changed with COVID-19? While there have been some obvious changes and challenges transitioning to a remote work environment, I’ve also been energized by the more than 2,500 Hulugans who have worked hard to maintain our culture beyond the physical walls of our office space, provide support to their colleagues and continue to push our business forward. As a company leader during this uncertain time, my focus remains on the health and safety of our employees and making sure I’m present, available and proactively communicating with all Hulugans on a regular basis.

What impact is COVID-19 having on your business, and what are you doing about it? It’s no secret that people are watching more television now that they are spending more time at home, and Hulu, like other streamers, has benefited from that. But I think our growth in 2020 has been less about the pandemic and more about the creativity and innovation we’ve brought to market this year. The Hulu Originals team led by Craig Erwich has delivered its most successful slate of originals ever, from “Little Fires Everywhere,” “Hillary” and “Ramy” — which just received Emmy nominations in major series categories — to breakout hits like “Normal People,” “Solar Opposites” and our original film Palm Springs. Through FX on Hulu, which we launched earlier this year in partnership with John Landgraf, we’ve provided viewers with even more Emmy-nominated series, like “Mrs. America” and “Devs.” Hulu’s technology and design teams introduced a newly redesigned interface that helps Hulu viewers find and discover the content they love more quickly. And on the advertising front we continue to introduce new non-traditional ad formats to provide the best experience possible to our viewers, and more-innovative solutions to brands. All of these things together are driving Hulu’s strong momentum this year.

What are the last two or three movies, TV shows or original series you watched — and please tell us why you love them? Hamilton on Disney+ — I think I’ve watched this 10 times since it launched on Disney+.  It’s powerful on so many levels. Thought-provoking creativity and storytelling at its finest. Thirteenth on Netflix — a critical film of our time that provides an eye-opening look at history. Palm Springs on Hulu — so very clever — the writing, the acting, the set — I love it all. I’m a sucker for romantic comedies, but this one goes above and beyond!

If you could spend the day with any famous person, alive or dead, who would it be — and why? Living, I would say Oprah! I’ve always looked up to Oprah. I love hearing people’s stories, and there is no one more masterful at asking the right questions to learn people’s stories than Oprah. She brings empathy, passion and positivity to all that she does. If it’s someone no longer with us, then it would most definitely be my father-in-law. He passed away before I met him. I’d love to spend a day with him, getting to know the man that shaped the incredible human that is my husband.

 

Agnes Chu, SVP, Content, Disney+

If you had to pick one career highlight, what would it be? In my 13 years at Disney, I’ve been incredibly blessed to have had two epic professional adventures with teams that have transformed our company in significant ways. During my time as [former CEO] Bob Iger’s chief of staff, the company was building Shanghai Disney Resort.  My grandparents are from Shanghai, so it was especially meaningful to be part of planning its grand opening. It was such a gift to have watched Imagineers transform farm land into a truly fantastical and breathtaking park with thousands of fans lining up on opening day. And, of course, the launch of Disney+. This team really knows no bounds in terms of their creativity, inventiveness and tirelessness. So many talented people from across the Walt Disney Company collaborated to make the launch a success. It’s awe-inspiring and gratifying to wake up every day and get to work with some of the most gifted storytellers in the world.

What was the toughest decision you’ve ever made? This job is full of tough decisions.  My advice on this is to confront them with heart and strength of conviction, and be open-minded and fair.

How has your work life changed with COVID-19? Like so many other working moms out there, it’s changed in many ways. Working from home has rewards and challenges. In between Zoom calls, I’m able to steal a hug or play a quick game with my 2-year-old daughter. I treasure that. But it can also be difficult to draw lines and have clear boundaries. With the help of my amazing husband, I’m learning new lessons every day in how to navigate and balance both.

What impact is COVID-19 having on your business, and what are you doing about it? Obviously, this is an unprecedented time. In so many ways it has reinforced the power of storytelling and its vital and indelible role in society. At a time when we can’t easily come together physically, people are looking for content that brings them together emotionally. Disney+, with our depth and breadth of library content and new multigenerational stories like “The Mandalorian,” “Encore!” and “Diary of a Future President,” is able to do just that. From a production standpoint, it’s obviously tough. COVID safety protocols are challenging us to find new ways of doing things. My team likes to say that creativity is the best antidote for road blocks. Whether it’s voiceover talent calling in their performances or musicians scoring content from home, we are able to complete and fine-tune projects that were already in process. We are also spending more time on the development process and writing new material. I really think that we’ll see a lot of interesting storytelling come out of this period of time — not just here but across the industry.

What are the last two or three movies, TV shows or original series you watched — and please tell us why you love them? Hamilton is a given.  So in addition to that, a shout-out to our sister service, Hulu, and their recent premiere of Palm Springs, which totally delivered on much needed belly-laughs during these hard times. Mindy Kaling’s series “Never Have I Ever” because of its nuanced and fresh twist on family comedy, harnessing such a delightfully specific voice to capture coming-of-age and the complexities of grief. I was laughing and crying at the same time, and I loved it. Finally, I’ve been watching Hong Kong kung-fu soap operas produced in the 1980s, often set as Chinese historical period pieces. Cantonese was my first language, and it’s important to me that my daughter also hears the language as she learns to talk. While hilariously low budget and corny, these soap operas also kick ass because every episode involves elaborate martial arts.

If you could spend the day with any famous person, alive or dead, who would it be — and why? I’ve been reading my daughter the “Little People, Big Dreams” books. We picked up the one that told the story of Martin Luther King Jr., and it made me so emotional. While progress has been made since his death, it has not nearly been enough — what would MLK say today and what actions must we take to achieve our dream of equality?

 

Andrea Downing, Co-President, PBS Distribution

Tell us about your career path. I started my career in manufacturing after I graduated from college in the Midwest, in a picture frame factory. I have always said yes when asked to take on new projects or tasks, and the more that I successfully managed, the more senior my position became. At some point, I realized that I wanted to be in a region where there were more of my peers, and I moved to Washington, D.C. Clearly there’s not a lot of manufacturing on the East Coast, so I started over in an entry-level position, but soon moved into a management position. A friend recommended me to someone at the Discovery Channel, a startup at the time, and while it meant taking what looked like a step backwards in terms of my role, I wanted to be in a larger, more entrepreneurial organization. I started taking on what needed to be done, and quickly became the go-to person. The decision to join Discovery led me to where I am today.

If you had to pick one career highlight, what would it be? Being recruited and hired to work at PBS as a vice president, particularly when I did not have a lot of experience in what I was being tasked to do. But the woman who recruited me had been my boss at Discovery and knew my track record. The trust that she placed in me to get the job done set me on the path to my current role at PBSd.

What was the toughest decision you’ve ever made? The first time I was faced with the challenge of having to let go of team members, some of whom were more senior than me. It was the right decision for the business, and a learning curve in terms of making the decision and implementing the plan. It is never easy to do, but I think the first time is by far the hardest.

How has your work life changed with COVID-19? We went remote in mid-March and instituted weekly conference calls with the full team to keep everyone in the loop. We invited some of our vendors to join us periodically to meet the broader team and talk about the work they are doing and how they are being impacted by the pandemic. Because productions shut down, affecting content delivery and procurement, and some of our vendors closed, we have had to be nimble and creative and quickly adapt to changing circumstances. I am really proud of how our team came together and almost seamlessly managed all that has been thrown at them.

How has your personal life changed? I have been able to spend more time with my family, an unexpected benefit of the pandemic, and I am grateful that we are all healthy and managing well. I am acutely aware that there are so many who are not so fortunate. Without the commute I have more hours in the day, so I have been getting outside to walk or run consistently. It is challenging to not be able to get together with friends or travel the way that I used to, but I connect frequently through voice and video calls.

Where do you work at home? Did you already have a home office, or did you have to modify a space? I have a home office that I had to modify slightly to video conference effectively, primarily from a technology standpoint. I am still working on finding a way to keep my cats out of the picture — they always show up and insert themselves in my calls. They are now well-known across the company!

What’s the best thing about remote working? Watching the way our team adapted to the new situation so quickly. They really leaned in and figured out how to work remotely while supporting their teams and managing their family obligations. Our weekly conference calls created an opportunity for a broader selection of team members to give updates on the business, which has led to greater transparency and sharing ideas for adapting our business as issues arise.

What is the downside? I miss seeing everyone in person and having the impromptu conversations that happen during a typical workday. It is easier to pull a number of people together on short notice when you’re in the same office and challenging to do that when we are remote and juggling multiple work schedules.

What impact is COVID-19 having on your business, and what are you doing about it? The biggest impact has been the growth of our subscription channels and TVOD revenue as a result of the stay-at-home orders and increase in streaming. With the disruption to content production and delivery, we’re thinking creatively about how to fill the content pipeline to ensure that we are well-positioned for the months ahead.

How are you collaborating with colleagues and meeting with customers? I prefer video conferences if I am connecting for multiple agenda items or don’t know the person well, but often have quick phone calls with those I am regularly in touch with to discuss one or two issues.

How many Zoom or other video conference calls do you have in an average week? Pre-pandemic I had one or two video conferences per week. The last several months, I have averaged around 40 a week.

Has a return to the office date been set, and if so what changes are you expecting? We have not set a date for returning to the office because too many variables are in flux. We don’t know what is going to happen with schools and day care centers, which impacts many on our team, and we are mindful that some have health concerns for themselves or their families. We stay up to date with the guidance from local and national health officials and recommendations about opening offices. I am sure that when we go back, it will be a combination of remote and in the office and we will adapt as needed based on circumstances.

Do you envision any long-term changes in our industry? It is difficult to anticipate how the industry will change long-term because this time in history is unprecedented. But I think more content will be available for streaming rather than in theaters, stressing an already challenged sector of the entertainment market, with continued consumer transition to subscription-based models. Given the uncertainty about how long we will be susceptible to this virus, and anticipating the possibility of another pandemic, I think that companies will be adapting their technology and work spaces to position themselves for greater resilience.

What are the last two or three movies, TV shows or original series you watched — and please tell us why you love them? American Experience: The Vote, a film about the hard-fought campaign waged by American women for the right to vote. It is an extraordinary story of the courage and determination it took to achieve the passage of the 19th Amendment. This is the 100-year anniversary of the amendment’s passage, and is particularly timely given our nation’s current movement to correct long-standing social injustices.“World on Fire” is an incredible series about World War II that shows us the war from the perspective of individuals impacted by it. And Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool, a brilliant Stanley Nelson film for “American Masters,” explores the complicated man who became a legend and changed the world of jazz.

 

Kathleen Gallagher, Executive Vice President and Managing Director – North America, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Tell us about your career path. I have been with Universal for almost 20 years. I have been so fortunate to have found amazing mentors and advocates in this organization who have given me opportunity and exposure. I started in this industry as a sales analyst for Kmart and Walmart. I have held many different roles in the sales and trade marketing functions that taught me the importance of being customer- and consumer-centric in everything we do. That sensibility has been incredibly helpful to me in this role as I strive to find the right balance between sales, operations and finance.

How has your work life changed with COVID-19? While we have found ourselves working under the most unforeseen circumstances, I am especially proud of our team’s ability not only to navigate and excel in the face of the unprecedented challenges currently facing our industry, but to achieve such exceptional outcomes, as evidenced with The Invisible Man and, most recently, Trolls World Tour. Personally, much like everyone else, I am still figuring out the best way to balance office hours and family time. I have a 5-year-old son who has been out of school since March, and it is critical that I make time for him throughout the day. Of course, this isn’t easy as most of us are on back-to-back calls. It has been a unifying experience to get a glimpse into the home lives of our colleagues as kids and pets make guest appearances throughout the day. And, it has also been very empowering to see the broad support, compassion and respect around maintaining a work/life balance extend throughout the highest levels of our organization.

Where do you work at home? Did you already have a home office, or did you have to modify a space? I didn’t have a home office. I started at the dining table. That lasted about a week. I created a mini office in the corner of the guestroom, which I later enhanced with a treadmill. I spend a lot more time looking at the treadmill than I do running on it! Aside from that, the setup is functional and comfortable, and having the distinct space definitely helps me transition between work and family mode.

What’s the best thing about remote working? I have been so impressed by our team’s ability to quickly embrace and thrive in this new way of working. A great example is how swiftly and easily we are able to assemble the right group of people together for meetings. What previously may have taken days or weeks to schedule when we were in the office often now can take a matter of hours to accomplish. This ability to effectively adapt to a new work style and function nimbly has served us well in maintaining momentum, quality and consistency with both customers and consumers. That — and being able to wear sweats every day!

What impact is COVID-19 having on your business, and what are you doing about it? It has been encouraging to see a rebound in our catalog business over the past few months. We have so much content that consumers love and can look to for comfort and escape during this time. We have been partnering with retail to make sure shelves are stocked, and our brand team has been working to develop promotions and collections that can drive significant value for shoppers.

How are you collaborating with colleagues and meeting with customers? Most of our communications and exchanges are happening primarily via video conference. I don’t know the last time I scheduled a regular phone call. We are all looking for that personal connection as we spend so much time in our homes.As much as it can be sometimes exhausting to be on video all day, I am really happy that this mode of interaction has become our norm.

How many Zoom or other video conference calls do you have in an average week? Somewhere around 30.

 

Hilary Hoffman, Executive Vice President, Global Marketing, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Tell us about your career path. I appreciate this question, as it comes at a critical moment in time when we all should be reflecting on our own career journeys as well as those of our team members and colleagues across the industry. I believe that my path has been greatly influenced and supported by my mentors and leaders. Going forward, my goal is to heighten my focus on others in our organization, particularly those from diverse backgrounds, to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to grow, thrive and always feel supported professionally.

How has your work life changed with COVID-19? I am so incredibly proud of my marketing team, who so swiftly and skillfully adapted to working remotely. With Universal’s decision to release select films to PVOD coming right on the heels of the stay-at-home order, the team around the world faced a massive undertaking in determining quickly and effectively the best way to join together to deliver on this new and unprecedented consumer offer. Together we successfully led the way in helping to launch the new platform while at the same time continuing to maintain a robust traditional home entertainment business.

What’s the best thing about remote working? We have experienced meaningful upside in working together remotely. In particular, there is a special feeling of unity that we are all in it together.

What is the downside? The downside is the loss of spontaneous dialogue and ideation as a team. And we all miss the hallway and elevator conversations that extended beyond business into personal life. The loss of our ability to travel also has been a challenge. While international business can definitely be managed by video call, nothing replaces the opportunity to gather together in the same time zone and work with your colleagues in real time.

 

Cindy Holland, VP, Original Content, Netflix

Tell us about your career path. I grew up in Nebraska, where the nearest arthouse cinema was about 30 miles away. I loved what I saw, though, and couldn’t wait to work in film. I moved to L.A. and worked at the Mutual Film Company and Baltimore-Spring Creek Productions, where I had a wonderful mentor in Paula Weinstein. Before Netflix, I worked at an e-commerce startup you may remember called Kozmo.com. Through that, I met Ted Sarandos, and then I joined Netflix in 2002 when we were a DVD-by-mail subscription service. From the very beginning we had the ambition to be a global entertainment company, and it’s been incredible to see that now realized all around the world.

If you had to pick one career highlight, what would it be? Sharing “Orange Is the New Black” with the world over its seven seasons was an unforgettable experience.

How has your work life changed with COVID-19? Like everyone, I’m spending more time on video conferences than I ever imagined, and a lot less time at industry events. And it’s always casual Friday, but I’ve never been that formal anyway.

How has your personal life changed? Way more time indoors, though I still find time for a daily bike ride.

Where do you work at home? Did you already have a home office, or did you have to modify a space? I already had a home office.

What’s the best thing about remote working? The flexibility to work from anywhere.

What is the downside? The flexibility to work from anywhere, and the perception that one is always available.

What impact is COVID-19 having on your business, and what are you doing about it? We’re fortunate to have great shows in the pipeline and we’re proud to be a place viewers are turning for comfort and escape at a really challenging time. We have some shows shooting outside the U.S., but there are many that are still paused here. Things won’t look exactly the same when we return to production, but we’re looking forward to it and are focused on our cast and crews’ welfare and safety.

How are you collaborating with colleagues and meeting with customers? Like everyone else, we’re on a lot of video conferences.

How many Zoom or other video conference calls do you have in an average week? It varies, but they’re pretty back to back.

 

Dametra Johnson-Marletti, General Manager, Digital Store Category Management, Microsoft Corp.

If you had to pick one career highlight, what would it be? I consider myself to have been extremely blessed in my career. I have had many great experiences over the years. As I look back over my entire career, I have to say landing at the company where I have spent two-thirds of my career to date, has not only been a huge highlight, but being at Microsoft has positioned me to realize many great benefits, highlights and unique experiences several times over. Whether landing in my current role focused on digital entertainment and content, or working with our partners across the industry or traveling the different parts of the world to help drive impact for the company, the decision to come to Microsoft has been the foundational highlight that has led to so many others.

What was the toughest decision you’ve ever made? I think issues and decisions related to people are by far some of the most difficult decisions that leaders must contend with at work. Decisions that have involved removing people from their positions are always challenging. As a leader you balance being a steward of the company, a coach for your team, and an attractor and developer of talent — yet for any number of reasons, sometimes a change is required. As a leader you own that, implement it with empathy and grace, with the understanding that you are dealing with a person’s life and livelihood. All of these factors make such decisions extremely challenging.

How has your work life changed with COVID-19?  First, my heart goes out to the many lives that have been lost and families that have been impacted by COVID-19. From a work life perspective, Microsoft has been working remote since mid-March. With some minor enhancements, I was able to replicate the comfort of my Microsoft on-campus office. That, combined with the power and impact of Microsoft Teams meeting and collaboration technology has given us the ability to continue to drive business results, serve our customers, and collaborate with our partners in a very meaningful way. What I do miss most is seeing my co-workers every day. I work with a great group of people and it’s really hard in this environment to replicate the impromptu hallway chats or those quick office pop-in-type conversations — both work and social catch-up topics.

How has your personal life changed? On the homefront there were definite bright spots. The greatest by far has been the quality family time that has been created by by everyone being quarantined at home. Like many who work every day, especially working moms, the pace of life felt like a treadmill on high prior to the shutdown. The constant balance of work commitments, commute time, family activities, and other daily tasks seem to consume most hours. So, the instant slowing of life was quite enjoyable and really allowed us time together that we would not have otherwise had. All of that said, we have really started to miss the many wonderful things that create enjoyable variability in life, like travel, sports (pro and youth), concerts, and getting together with lots of friends, especially during the summer. We greatly look forward to when those things are once again the norm.

Where do you work at home? Did you already have a home office, or did you have to modify a space? I already had a home office set up, and really just needed a few modifications to replicate my on-campus work space, like getting a double monitor (life-changing), bringing home my comfy ergonomic chair and investing in a good webcam. I also upgraded my espresso machine — it’s not as good as the Microsoft version, but it does the job.

What’s the best thing about remote working? NO COMMUTE!  Seattle commute times were difficult — not L.A. difficult, but getting there, and the commute was even worse when it rained (if you can believe that). So, getting all that time back has been great and has further allowed for greater productivity at work and better balance at home.

What is the downside? The downside by far been has been not seeing the fun, smart and amazing people I get to work with each day, having impromptu meetings, catching up on each other’s lives while grabbing coffee, or having lunch together. I will most definitely appreciate those times far more when they return.

What impact is COVID-19 having on your business, and what are you doing about it? Unlike many businesses across the country and world, during the pandemic, the e-commerce space has realized explosive growth and creative business model innovation. At the peak of the global shutdown and quarantine — around April — we saw many people turn to digital entertainment to fill their time, whether it was gaming online with friends, movie and TV consumption or just online shopping, we have seen new high-water marks across the business broadly. The many Microsoft teams that bring content and our services to life have done yeoman’s work in ensuring that our customers can find what they are looking for when they want. We have been very pleased with our ability to be there to connect customers to their community of friends and to our partner’s tremendous content during these challenging times.

How are you collaborating with colleagues and meeting with customers? Primarily through Microsoft Teams. The Microsoft Teams Business Group has been working overtime to continue to innovate and evolve Teams based on customer feedback. This is the same technology my kids used during remote learning as well. Needless to say, our home bandwidth has really been working overtime.

How many Zoom or other video conference calls do you have in an average week? Thirty-plus Microsoft Teams meetings each week.

Has a return to the office date been set, and if so what changes are you expecting? We will not return to the office prior to January 2021. Microsoft has done a terrific job communicating with all employees very broadly on a regular basis. The company prioritizes employee safety first, so when we do return, we are expecting to align to a clear set of guidelines and protocols meant to keep everyone safe and that contribute to flattening the curve.

Do you envision any long-term changes in our industry? For sure, I think there will be lasting changes across the industry as a result of the global pandemic and how it’s been handled around the world. The entertainment industry as a whole feels like a continuous circle that has many interrelated dependent parts, each of which has been impacted in slightly different ways, which makes predicting the long-term effects on the whole ecosystem very difficult. For example, consumer confidence in returning to the theater is varied at this point and in many places not allowed at all. That puts enormous strain on both theater chains and studios, as they now have to decide on releasing straight to home entertainment or waiting for blockbuster-worthy theater-going crowds to return — the economics for these options are very different. Production is largely at a standstill, so the funnel for new-release content becomes smaller, which effects theaters, studios, broadcasters, and subscription and transactional services that rely on that content to attract and retain a consistent flow of customers.  So again, the level of uncertainty across the ecosystem makes it hard to call where we’ll ultimately settle into a new normal. That said, creativity and business model evolution remains high, that coupled with the continued collaboration with our partners continues to be a bright point of hope for us.

What are the last two or three movies, TV shows or original series you watched — and please tell us why you love them? Becoming, The Last Dance and “Yellowstone.” There is so much great content today — but these are the most recent three that I have enjoyed. All capture my interest for different reasons. Becoming is inspiring and uplifting. Given the current state of the world, and in particular the manner in which those in leadership positions carry themselves and behave — it is just flat-out refreshing and heart-warming to hear someone speak with intellect, grace and strength. For that reason, I thoroughly enjoyed Becoming. As a former professional basketball player, and someone that grew up LOVING the Lakers, and being in awe of Michael Jordan, The Last Dance is just a must watch. It was super fun reliving all those great moments and interesting to see an inside view of Jordan and player dynamics. Finally, for the purposes of pure escapist entertainment, I continue to enjoy time spent watching “Yellowstone.” Each season brings a different side of the characters and interesting storylines. Not to mention I love all things Kevin Costner.

If you could spend the day with any famous person, alive or dead, who would it be — and why? Michelle Obama. I would love to sit and talk with her to get first-hand accounts of how she has navigated life. She is an accomplished business leader, a mother who by all accounts has done a wonderful job with her girls, and someone who has navigated the scrutiny and muck of D.C. while demonstrating class, intellect, faith and grace. I think spending a day with such a person would only be goodness.

 

Kim Overall, EVP, Consumer Insights and Innovation, Sony Pictures Entertainment

How has your work life changed with COVID-19? I am learning that working remotely and virtually means we need to look out for one another in different ways and listen to what we need on an individual level. Creating new routines and rituals is really important as we adjust to our new ways of working, interacting and socializing. Asking questions and listening have never been so important as we seek to understand the moment we are in and know how best to help and support each other.

Where do you work at home? Did you already have a home office, or did you have to modify a space? I modified a little spot upstairs that lets me look out onto the road, and I filled the walls with photos, quotes and other things that make me happy.

What is the best thing about remote working? I get to hear the voice of my 6-year-old son playing downstairs when I am working and it always fills my heart with happiness and makes me smile.

What is the downside? I have to confess, I miss the office! The rate of change in our industry is so rapid right now and has been accelerated in some areas in the past few months. As we try to understand the changes in real time and solve for ways to respond I miss not being able to grab a coffee with one of the many wonderful thought partners in our business to talk through options together.

What impact is COVID-19 having on your business, and what are you doing about it? We are very focused on listening to and understanding how our most-valuable entertainment consumers are changing their content consumption behaviors and preferences, from what and when they are viewing to how they are interacting on social media.

How are you collaborating with colleagues and meeting with customers? Zoom, Teams, OWL — every piece of enabling technology we can get our hands on to stay as close to one another as we can.

How many Zoom or other video conference calls do you have in an average week? The short answer is probably too many, but the reality is that it’s our new normal and I would much rather see people and be able to share a smile and a laugh than not!

If you could spend the day with any famous person, alive or dead, who would it be — and why? Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. I think they would be incredibly insightful across many of the topics and challenges we are facing. And I imagine they’d be accessible, relatable and engaging.

 

Jessica Schell, EVP and General Manager, Film, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

How has your work life changed with COVID-19? We are busier than ever, and the work is incredibly challenging, which is a welcome respite from the monotony brought on by so many other things being shut down — travel, socializing and in-person meetings, to name a few. My whole career has focused on navigating changes in technology and consumer behavior, but the speed of change has exponentially accelerated. We are forced to find creative solutions and new ways of doing things on the fly, building the train while it is going down the track.

How has your personal life changed? Since most activities outside the home are canceled, my immediate family is spending a lot more time together! That’s been a silver lining, being able to grab lunch with my 4-year-old and being home for dinner the moment my last meeting is over rather than having to commute in traffic. Like everyone else I’ve been catching up with old friends across geographies, like a monthly virtual meet-up of my business school section classmates.

Where do you work at home? Did you already have a home office, or did you have to modify a space? I converted a guest bedroom, which has conveniently been empty since none of our East Coast family or friends can come visit. But I find that mixing it up helps keep me sane: spending time outside when the weather permits, or in the living room in the rare moments when my house is quiet. My home office can really be wherever my laptop is.

What’s the best thing about remote working? Since no one can be physically together, it puts everyone around the globe on an equal footing. When I’m working across different departments with people who usually sit in different buildings, or working on releases around the world, I’ve found that communication has actually improved. Since we aren’t limited by who is in the room, we can reach out to a broader set of people and leverage more opinions and expertise than we could before.

What is the downside? It’s harder to build a culture, and as a manager, harder to get an informal read on how the whole team is doing. No more walking the halls and chatting with whoever is around. That’s been particularly difficult when you know so many people are going through a hard time, and as we try to tackle sensitive topics like addressing diversity and inclusion.

What impact is COVID-19 having on your business, and what are you doing about it? Our business has been dramatically affected in so many ways — production has been stalled, theaters are closed, and so many marketing tactics and channels have been shut down. At the same time, consumer demand to be entertained at home has skyrocketed, so there is a huge appetite for content at a time when there are no new theatrical releases. Scoob! had been intended for theaters, and with the marketing campaign underway, consumer products hitting stores and theaters closed, we released it under a new premium rental and ownership model and proved that audiences will show up for eventized in-home releases. We’ve also been filling the void by highlighting films from our vast library through different themes, and our catalog business is booming. And of course, we’ve thrown our support behind the launch of HBO Max. As the custodians of the Warner Bros. library, we have a vast repository of marketing assets and ancillary content and social communities at our disposal, there is so much we can provide the Max team to support their offering which draws heavily from Warner Bros. content.

How are you collaborating with colleagues and meeting with customers? All internal meetings have moved to video conferences on Teams, and depending on which customers we are meeting with, we use various other video conferencing systems, like Google Hangout when meeting with YouTube, of course! We work on shared digital documents together. It’s all technology that existed before, but until we were forced to use it, adoption was slow — we were more of a telephone and email culture. It works well because everyone is on the same level playing field, dealing with makeshift home offices, kids and pets in the background. If some people were in the office and some people at home I think it would have been much more difficult to make it work for those not in the office.

How many Zoom or other video conference calls do you have in an average week? I find that I spend most of the workday on video calls. That can be anything from a one on one to a presentation to hundreds of people. We’ve tried to institute companywide meeting-free lunch breaks and Fridays, so those times are a bit lighter. With California schools indefinitely closed, we will be re-looking at schedules in the fall to try to accommodate working parents who are doing double duty with kids at home.

Do you envision any long-term changes in our industry? Since so much business-as-usual isn’t possible, we’ve had the opportunity to experiment. We are figuring out how to do some things more efficiently and create new kinds of cultural moments. Across the industry, we’ve proved that audiences will show up for event in-home releases such as Scoob! and Trolls World Tour and gotten to see the impact on subscriptions of putting a huge event like Hamilton straight on to SVOD. With so much less event television programming and no live sports or awards shows, we’ve had to find more audiences on digital. Since in-person events aren’t possible, in lieu of premiere and fan conventions, we’ve been leveraging virtual audiences in Fortnite (Tenet trailer release) and on TikTok (#ScoobDance) and hosting virtual press junkets. We’re learning what can work better than the ways we’ve always done things, and what are sacred cows for a reason. Undoubtedly these learnings will influence how we go forward.

What are the last two or three movies, TV shows or original series you watched — and please tell us why you love them? Limiting the kids’ screen time has gone out the window, but we’ve tried to make our TV viewing feel more special by instituting “family movie nights” a few times a week. Trying to find something that works for me and my husband plus daughters ages 4, 12 and 14 is a challenge! Some of the best evenings have been when we’ve revisited classics like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, The Wizard of Oz and the “Harry Potter” movies, which have something for each of us: nostalgia and the joy of introducing something you love to your kids.

 

Amy Jo Smith, President and CEO, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group

If you had to pick one career highlight, what would it be? My most memorable career stop was my brief tenure at the White House. One of my duties was to take VIP guests of the Oval Office around the White House. I had the great opportunity to meet the children and grandchildren of Presidents Eisenhower, Ford and Carter.  One of my most interesting walks around the White House was with Ambassador Shirley Temple Black, who had many fantastic stories to share during both her stints as ambassador.

How has your work life changed with COVID-19? Since COVID-19 and working from home, I’ve found the DEG team is working more efficiently, but with some loneliness. We are on call all day, but also have time to slip in a walk with dogs or do a load of laundry. The days blend together and the hours start earlier and end later. I buy gas once a month, wear pants with no zippers and haven’t worn shoes without laces.

Where do you work at home? Did you already have a home office, or did you have to modify a space? I have a home office but have given it to my daughter so she has quiet space for her virtual school. As a result, I’m in the kitchen as anyone who has been on a video call with me can confirm.

What’s the best thing about remote working? I’m grateful to see my daughter throughout the day and share a laugh with her. It’s nice not to be on the road stuck in traffic. I love being able to spend more time with my daughter and husband.

What is the downside? I feel isolated from my office DEG teammates and the industry at large.

How are you collaborating with colleagues and meeting with customers? DEG quickly pivoted to a virtual meeting environment, bringing the industry together in small salon discussions and a larger expo where we invite expert speakers and members to share their perspectives and services that will help the industry grow.

How many Zoom or other video conference calls do you have in an average week? Three to four a day.

Do you envision any long-term changes in our industry? I foresee long-term changes to how we do business and how we function as a global community. I don’t think this will be unique to entertainment. I envision a business community where most meetings and transactions take place via video. And, we learn how to foster relationships and discussions via video conference.

What are the last two or three movies, TV shows or original series you watched — and please tell us why you love them? That’s a hard question because there are so many great shows on many platforms. I’m personally attracted to documentaries. The Staircase was one of my favorites as it was revealing to see the inside story of a murder trial. I also liked the Aaron Hernandez story and the Bill Gates documentary Inside Bill’s Brain. “Succession” and “Ozark” are both fantastic dramas. But, when push comes to shove, I always love watching a “Seinfeld” episode!

If you could spend the day with any famous person, alive or dead, who would it be — and why? George Clooney because I’d love to know what it’s like to be equal parts humanitarian, talented at his trade, and strong enough to marry a smart, accomplished, beautiful woman. And, because, you know … George Clooney! Or, Alfred Hitchcock because I’d love to hear his take on how movies have evolved and what his vision would be to use Ultra HD and immersive technologies to improve them further.

 

Lexine Wong, Senior Executive Vice President, Worldwide Marketing, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Tell us about your career path. My entire career in entertainment has been at Sony, so I’ve basically grown along with the industry from disc to digital. Prior to entertainment I had a short stint in advertising in New York. That fast-paced account management position gave me a taste of marketing brands and led me to the ever-changing world of home entertainment. I’ve enjoyed every minute of the journey — from rolling out new formats and platforms around the world, to reimagining marketing tactics, to developing and leading a team of smart, driven, creative and enthusiastic individuals. In my 20-plus years at Sony I have been continually confronted with new and different business challenges and am constantly learning. For example, when I was given the opportunity to begin supporting the television distribution business last year, I found that it was primarily a B2B marketing model. By taking a chapter from our home entertainment consumer-first marketing approach and using audience data and insights from our strategy team, we have been able to more effectively drive awareness and ratings and support our commercial teams and distribution partners.

How has your work life changed with COVID-19? I vividly remember my last day in the office. We ended the day celebrating a new partnership with our Sony Music partners in a small conference room with 30 people, drinking tequila and eating tapas from one of their sponsors. We said “see you in a bit” … and now 20 weeks later we are still working from home. Like many studios we were immediately faced with the challenge of theaters closing and focused quickly on getting our recent theatrical releases out on home entertainment. I was worried about my team feeling disconnected and wanted to make sure information was disseminated in real time without having to send tons of emails, so I instituted a “daily check-in” on Microsoft Teams for everyone on the marketing team. We continue to have them, and anyone in the marketing organization can join and add items to the daily agenda. Working from home has changed the entire social ecosystem, and I think many of us look forward to being back together and enjoying the camaraderie from in-person meetings, grabbing a quick coffee or lunch and touching base in the hallways when it’s safe to do so.

How has your personal life changed? With nowhere to go, you would have thought being quarantined at home with my husband and two kids (high school and college age) would have been pretty mellow … not so much, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Being forced to hang out and spend mealtimes together made for lots of interesting discussions. We experimented with lots of new recipes, planted a garden to try to create the “farm-to-table” experience (four kinds of tomatoes, kale, Swiss chard, bok choy, eggplant, shishito peppers), participated in Zoom workouts, started our college kid on Robinhood to create a stock portfolio (Shopify was huge!) and worked on a ton of house projects, from organizing to building shelving and varnishing tables — Marie Kondo watch out! We even started composting!

Where do you work at home? Did you already have a home office, or did you have to modify a space? My original home office was in an open area which didn’t work at all due to all the noise with the kids being home, so I ended up setting up camp in an extra bedroom. I bought a better printer and slowly started acquiring office staples like a small filing cabinet, desk organizers, etc. as I realized we probably wouldn’t be heading back to our offices for a while.

What’s the best thing about remote working? Saving commute time, less pressure on deciding what to wear every day since it’s only my top half that I worry about, and being able to walk my dog at lunch. Because we are social creatures at heart, the ease of turning our cameras on for every Zoom/Teams call has helped reinforce connections with colleagues — and it’s been fun to get a little glimpse into our colleagues’ personal lives.

What is the downside? There’s no delineation of when the day starts and when it ends. With no commute time, you end up being “always on,” a blur of meetings every day, with one day running into the next … wash/rinse/repeat. You can imagine the fun we had re-promoting our movie Groundhog Day!

How are you collaborating with colleagues and meeting with customers? One of the best things that has come out of the quarantine is the exceptional collaboration with the different divisions and departments across the studio. One of the most productive partnerships has been with our theatrical counterparts. Aside from the shortened windows, where we quickly passed the baton and leaned on each other’s expertise to develop the best go-to-market approach, we set up a marketing “stay-at-home” task force where we were able to brainstorm and prioritize a ton of ideas to support the catalog. Everyone rolled up their sleeves to help access talent and support the social handles, giving the commercial teams great marketing programs for our retail partners. We also did a similar task force with the TV production and marketing team which resulted in creative executions in the form of cast reunions, table reads and live Q&As.

How many Zoom or other video conference calls do you have in an average week? Between 40-50 conference calls per week. Just a push of a key to the next meeting … join, leave, join, leave…. It’s efficient, but not great for getting your steps in!

What are the last two or three movies, TV shows or original series you watched — and please tell us why you love them? I have watched so many TV shows and films during the quarantine — new and old, popular and eclectic. I would have to say my favorite TV series was The Last Dance. It was so well done and so cool to see Jordan and all the players, past and present. Having that behind-the-scenes look into Jordan’s life was fascinating. And maybe because I was missing sports as a whole, it was fun to tune into something ‘live’ for a few weeks.  I also caught up on all the seasons of “The Crown,” “The Good Doctor” and “Ozark,” just to name a few. I just watched an indie movie, The Young Offenders, which I had never seen, and it was funny and charming. I also re-watched Crash, Argo and The Blind Side recently, which are all so good for different reasons. And I’ve been reading lots of scripts and books as well. I highly recommend Catch and Kill and The Splendid and the Vile.

If you could spend the day with any famous person, alive or dead, who would it be — and why? So many to choose from! I think I’d go with Angelina Jolie, because she’s a very private celebrity who has made strong, deliberate career choices that resonate because of her passion and commitment to the stories she is telling. I would love to hear what she has to say on life, love, politics and the causes she supports.

Women in Home Entertainment 2020: The Teams

The “captains” profiled in the third annual Media Play News Women in Home Entertainment issue need smart, savvy and strategic teams who work with them. And then there are other women providing valuable leadership in the home entertainment space at independent content distributors, digital retailers, streaming services and other companies helping the industry continue to evolve.

SEE ALSO ‘WOMEN IN HOME ENTERTAINMENT 2020: THE 12 CAPTAINS’

Here’s a look at the rest of the Women in Home Entertainment, class of 2020 …

 

Amazon

JENNIFER SALKE
HEAD OF AMAZON STUDIOS
Salke is in charge of all aspects of television and film development, as well as production for Amazon’s entertainment division. This includes implementing an overall long-term content strategy for both units along with launching upcoming series and films, as well as ongoing support of current series. High-profile projects include “Lord of the Rings” and “Cortes,” from Steven Spielberg and starring Javier Bardem, and the Emmy-winning comedy series “Fleabag.”

MARIE DONOGHUE
VP, GLOBAL SPORTS VIDEO
Donoghue oversees Amazon’s global sports content business, as well as its sports strategy, enabling customers to access live and on-demand sports content, on hundreds of devices, in more than 200 countries and territories. Prior to joining Amazon, Donoghue served as EVP of global business and content strategy at ESPN, leading the ongoing development and implementation of its enterprise-wide business and content strategy. Donoghue oversaw all digital dealmaking for ESPN, including ESPN’s relationship with Disney-owned BAMTech, the home of ESPN’s first direct-to-consumer (OTT) streaming platform.

 

AMC/RLJ Entertainment

SYLVIA GEORGE
EVP AND GM, URBAN MOVIE CHANNEL

George oversees the management and operation of the UMC subscription streaming service across all platforms and available markets. Under her leadership, the service has seen a 200% increase to its subscriber base in the past 12 months and has developed an impressive slate of original programming that includes popular series “Craig Ross Jr.’s Monogamy,” “A House Divided,” and the latest breakout, “Double Cross.” Prior to that she was the company’s first chief marketing officer after serving as president, U.S., managing North American distribution and spearheading integration of Acorn Media and Image Entertainment, which were acquired by RLJ Entertainment in 2012. During this time, George helped to build Acorn’s brand profile as the “chief curator of the best Brit TV,” according to Time Magazine.

CATHERINE MACKIN
MANAGING DIRECTOR, ACORN MEDIA ENTERPRISES
Mackin previously worked at the BBC to run UKTV Gold, TV3 in Ireland as deputy director of programming, and again at the BBC in 2009 as UKTV’s director of programming acquisitions for nearly nine years. Since 2018, she has led Acorn Media Enterprises, British content SVOD service Acorn TV’s co-production and commissioning arm. She has overseen the commissioning or co-producing of dramas and mysteries including British mystery “Queens of Mystery,” Irish period drama “Dead Still,” British crime drama “London Kills,” New Zealand thriller “The Sounds,” British mystery “Agatha Raisin,” Australian drama “Mystery Road,” BBC drama “Keeping Faith,” Irish drama “Blood,” and Irish comedy “Finding Joy,” among several others, which have exclusively premiered on Acorn TV.

 

CBS All Access

JULIE MCNAMARA
EVP, HEAD OF PROGRAMMING
McNamara in February was promoted to head of programming for CBS All Access, reporting to ViacomCBS chief digital officer and CBS Interactive CEO Marc DeBevoise and chief creative officer David Nevins. McNamara’s expanded duties include spearheading programming strategy for the streaming platform, including current and future original series, acquisitions and bringing in content from other ViacomCBS properties, including BET, Comedy Central, Paramount, Nickelodeon, MTV, TV Land, VH1 and Smithsonian.

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Disney+/Disney Streaming Services

LINDA BAGLEY
DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL, DISNEY DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER & INTERNATIONAL
Bagley leads a global team of lawyers responsible for matters relating to company priorities such as Disney’s subscription streaming services and international media businesses.

ALISA BOWEN
SVP, OPERATIONS, DISNEY STREAMING SERVICES
Bowen is responsible for ensuring operational effectiveness for The Walt Disney Company’s direct-to-consumer video streaming businesses, including Disney+ and ESPN+. As part of her oversight, Alisa is responsible for overall program management, including the rollout of Disney+ across international markets, identification and implementation of Disney+ internal synergy opportunities, and leading global customer support for ESPN+ and Disney+.

LAURA EVANS
SVP, DATA SCIENCE AND ANALYTICS, DISNEY STREAMING SERVICES
Evans is responsible for overseeing analytics, data science and insight capabilities for the company’s portfolio of direct-to-consumer services, including ESPN+ and the Disney+ streaming service.

KAREN HOBSON
SVP, COMMUNICATIONS, DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER & INTERNATIONAL
Hobson oversees global communications and public affairs strategies across the Disney Direct-to-Consumer segment, including the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming businesses: Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu. She also oversees communications strategies for Disney’s international media operations stretching from Europe to Asia to Latin America.

TEHMINA JAFFER
SVP, BUSINESS AFFAIRS, DISNEY+
Jaffer leads all aspects of business affairs strategy, policy and procedure for the Disney+ content and marketing team. She oversees the coordination and negotiation of development, production and talent deals and contracts, as well as rights, acquisitions, clearances and content agreements. She also collaborates with content groups across the Walt Disney Company that are developing and producing original content exclusively for the service — including the Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm — as well as external third-party production entities.

ROBYN ARONSON, VP, business affairs, unscripted content, Disney+
MOLLY BRADY, VP, customer acquisition, Disney Streaming Services
JESSICA CASANO-ANTONELLIS, VP, communications, Disney Streaming Services
JENNIFER JONES, VP, business affairs, Disney+
PAULA MCMAHON, VP, integrated marketing, Disney+
SARAH SHEPARD, VP, originals — scripted content, Disney+

 

Disney Media Distribution

APRIL CARRETTA
SVP, COMMUNICATIONS
Carretta leads communications for Disney Media Distribution, which includes domestic channel distribution, global platform distribution, content licensing in the U.S. and Canada, and global in-home transactional sales. DMD licenses content to a wide range of high-profile platforms and third-party distribution channels, including linear (broadcast and cable), MVPDs, PVOD, SVOD, AVOD, digital and physical retailers, hotels and airlines. Carretta and her team manage content licensing announcements, consumer-facing campaigns and talent relations for the company’s portfolio of theatrical and television content. She also spearheads all corporate and executive communications on behalf of the division and its senior leaders.

CHRISTEN HARRIS, SVP, PLATFORM DISTRIBUTION
LAUREN MORRISSEY, SVP, PLATFORM DISTRIBUTION
LINDSEY GREEN, SVP, PLATFORM DISTRIBUTION
Green, Harris and Morrissey negotiate key licensing agreements on behalf of the company across a wide array of media platforms and businesses including domestic multichannel subscription distribution and global direct-to-consumer platforms. Among these substantial high-profile agreements managed by their teams are in-home VOD and transactional sales for theatrical and television content from The Walt Disney Studios and Disney Media Networks across digital aggregators, MVPDs, devices and social media applications. Between the three of them they oversee a roster of well over 100 accounts, which also includes global airlines and hotels. In addition, they are heavily involved in the negotiations for Movies Anywhere with its digital retail partners.

CHERYLYN CARR, assistant general counsel
LORI COHEN-ELIAS, VP, marketing strategy
CYNDI CRUZ, VP, sales planning and administration
ELIZABETH DUKE, assistant chief counsel
JAIME GORMAN, VP, creative development
CHRISTINE HUPALO, VP, marketing
SUMMER IMAI, VP, content management
SUZANNE KAMENIR, VP, global creative marketing
JANE KIM, VP, business development and strategic partnerships
MICHELLE LEVISOHN, VP, creative development
JENNIFER LOURIE, VP, product management
KIMBERLY WILSON, VP, affiliate marketing account management

 

Dolby Labs

GRAEF ALLEN
MANAGER, TECHNICAL OPERATIONS
Allen manages Dolby’s Burbank-based technical operations department. She is one of the industry’s most experienced and knowledgeable resources for Dolby Vision mastering/delivery and has become a key technical driver in the growth of Dolby Vision since its 2015 launch. Allen works closely with both Dolby software as well as third-party products and partners. She has also spoken at several Dolby-supported events encouraging girls and young women to participate in STEM fields.

TINA ECKMAN
DIRECTOR OF CONTENT RELATIONS
Eckman leads the Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos account management effort for streaming content from Netflix, Apple, Showtime and several others. Passionate about inspiring the creative community for more than 25 years, she has been working on a global level with storytellers and their use of technology. Motivated to bring new women into entertainment technology, Eckman co-leads the Women in Post annual event at NAB, which has led to post-production job opportunities for women, by women.

 

Fandango

LORI PANTEL
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
Pantel directs all brand and marketing strategies across the company’s e-commerce and editorial content portfolio, including Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster, MovieTickets.com, Fandango Movieclips and TVOD service FandangoNow. Throughout her career, Pantel has effectively redefined and executed strategies for global consumer brands, with a focus on ensuring a cohesive global brand DNA that resonates with consumers, retailers and partners. Before joining Fandango, Pantel served as SVPD and global GM for Mattel’s girls’ brands. In this role, Pantel oversaw global teams responsible for worldwide brand and marketing strategy, creative execution and product development for Mattel’s “Monster High” and “Ever After High” brands, as well as the company’s “DC Super Hero Girls” line. Prior to that, Pantel served as VP of marketing for Mattel’s North America division, VP of global brand marketing, and associate brand manager on the Barbie brand.

DANA BENSON
SVP, COMMUNICATIONS
Benson directs all corporate communications and public relations functions across the company’s ticketing, e-commerce and editorial content portfolio, including Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster, MovieTickets.com and TVOD service FandangoNow. She also oversees public relations for subsidiaries Ingresso.com in Brazil, and Fandango Latin America.

PENNY ALBERTS
SENIOR DIRECTOR, CRM, STRATEGY AND CUSTOMER GROWTH PLANNING
Alberts leads cross-channel, journey-based retention strategies for Fandango, FandangoNow and Rotten Tomatoes. She crafts integrated business plans to align stakeholders around key beats throughout the movie lifecycle. She also drives incremental revenue across brands and franchises, and develops personalized contact strategies across email, push notifications and inbox that support business goals at brand, segment and genre levels.

REMA MORGAN-ALUKO
DIRECTOR, SOFTWARE ENGINEERING
With more than 15 years of experience in technology, engineering leadership and software development, Morgan-Aluko leads the technology group for FandangoNow. She oversees the development of Web, mobile apps, OTT applications and services, as well as application program interfaces (APIs) for the service. In pursuit of her goal to improve diversity and inclusion across the technology industry, Morgan-Aluko co-founded Fandango’s TECHWomen chapter, which aims to advance opportunities for female technologists within the company and beyond. Previously, Morgan-Aluko led the development and implementation of several initiatives across Fandango’s verticals, including trailers (Movieclips), video and editorial content, movie and entertainment metadata, commerce, user profiles, CRM, marketing campaigns, and programs, as well as advertising and monetization.

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Hulu

REAGAN FEENEY
VP, NETWORK PARTNERSHIPS
Feeney manages Hulu’s strategic relationships and carriage agreements with networks and operators. Previously, she was VP of content at AT&T’s DirecTV, where she was responsible for identifying and negotiating general entertainment and sports programming acquisitions, as well as maintaining external business relationships for linear cable channels, out-of-market sports subscription packages, regional sports networks and on-demand sports content.

BRITTANY HVEEM
HEAD OF BUSINESS AFFAIRS
Hveem leads negotiations of development and licensing deals related to Hulu’s slate of original series, documentaries, international co-productions and specials. She oversees the business and production relationships with studio suppliers such as Warner Bros., Universal Television, Sony and Lionsgate, approving production budgets and negotiations with talent. Prior to joining Hulu in 2016, Hveem was most recently VP of business affairs for Warner Horizon Television and was previously counsel at ABC Studios.

ANGIE KANG
VP, BUSINESS AND LEGAL AFFAIRS
Kang has led numerous deals that have built out Hulu’s content library. She led efforts to lock in the first official content provider for Hulu’s online TV service. Kang negotiated a multiyear deal with AMC Networks for “Fear the Walking Dead.” She closed a deal with 20th Century Fox Television Distribution for exclusive SVOD rights to new and upcoming FX and FXX primetime comedies, dramas and miniseries. She led all of Hulu’s legal efforts on an output agreement to new shows from Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TNT and TBS, among others.

JAYA KOLHATKAR
CHIEF DATA OFFICER
Kolhatkar oversees customer intelligence and all data- and analytics-related efforts at Hulu. She is responsible for elevating Hulu’s customer intelligence, implementing strong data governance and driving a culture of objective, data-driven decision making across the company. Kolhatkar manages a team of more than 100 across strategic analytics, data engineering, data science and business intelligence. Prior to joining Hulu, Kolhatkar served as the SVP of global data and analytics platforms at Walmart Labs, where she built data and analytic platforms that provided data and tools for making business decisions.

ANNIE LUO
SVP, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATIONS
Luo is responsible for driving expansion efforts and relationships with partners and connecting business operations across the organization. Prior to joining Hulu, Annie worked at McKinsey & Company, where she was a founding member for their consumer tech and media practice, leading operations and strategic alliances globally. She spent six years as the head of media, entertainment and information practice at the World Economic Forum and held various roles across the top media brands including BBC Worldwide (Asia), CNBC and Bloomberg Media Group.

GAUDE LYDIA PAEZ
SVP, HEAD OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
Paez oversees the team responsible for all communications efforts in support of Hulu’s brand, subscriber growth and engagement, product and technology, content strategy, monetization, and overall market position. She joined Hulu in April 2016 from Fox Broadcasting Co., where she served as SVP of corporate communications and digital publicity for the network.

BEATRICE SPRINGBORN
VP, CONTENT DEVELOPMENT
Springborn, who joined Hulu in 2014, has played an integral role in developing and greenlighting straight-to-series orders for Hulu’s slate of originals, including the Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning “The Handmaid’s Tale,” as well as “The Looming Tower,” “Future Man,” “Castle Rock,” “Catch-22” from George Clooney, and the limited series “Little Fires Everywhere” from Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.

 

Google/YouTube TV

CHRISTINA AVITABILE
HEAD OF CONTENT DISTRIBUTION AND LICENSING (TVOD/SVOD/AVOD), YOUTUBE AND GOOGLE PLAY
Avitabile oversees business development and partnerships for Google’s transactional movies and TV stores (on Google Play and YouTube) as well as licensing and acquisition deals for YouTube. Before joining Google in 2014, Avitabile spent a year in content acquisition, digital video, at Amazon.

KELLY MERRYMAN
VP, GLOBAL CONTENT PARTNERSHIPS, YOUTUBE
Merryman is a veteran in the streaming entertainment space. Prior to joining YouTube, she served as VP of content acquisition at Netflix from 2007 to 2014. She also held positions in digital distribution and business development at Sony Pictures.

 

Lionsgate

AGAPY KAPOURANIS
PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL TELEVISION AND DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION
A nine-year veteran of Lionsgate, Kapouranis spearheads international distribution, acquisitions, sales and marketing for Lionsgate’s television and catalog feature slate. She oversees a sales and distribution team responsible for a broad range of global and regional licensing deals encompassing the company’s films, television series and Starz original programming with nearly all leading digital and linear platforms around the world.

DANIELLE COHEN
EVP, WORLDWIDE TECHNICAL OPERATIONS AND INTERNATIONAL DISTRIBUTION
With the help of her teams, Cohen oversees technical operations and quality assurance for all incoming worldwide theatrical titles, home entertainment, TV series, outgoing deliveries to Lionsgate’s international distributors, and the company’s digital and physical asset management. In addition, she oversees the remastering of library titles to 4K, asset migration, and screening room activities.

SANJANA NAIKSATAM
EVP, PROCUREMENT AND DISTRIBUTION OPERATIONS
Naiksatam oversees the end-to-end home entertainment operations in the United States and Canada for the packaged-media business. This includes evaluating the supply chain and striving for continuous improvements and efficiencies, as well as managing and providing direction on system enhancements relating to home entertainment and metadata management.

JILL ANDERSON
SVP, HOME ENTERTAINMENT SALES
Anderson oversees Lionsgate’s home entertainment business for some of retail’s largest accounts — specifically Walmart and Best Buy — the latter where she started her career. Anderson is continually looking for new retail opportunities to uniquely position Lionsgate’s new-release and catalog content in stores as well as online for DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD titles. She is the consummate team player who is dedicated to finding win-win solutions. Anderson is committed to Lionsgate’s passion for original, daring and groundbreaking entertainment and driving her team to support that vision.

CHASE BRISBIN
SVP, GLOBAL SVOD SALES
Brisbin overseas Lionsgate’s global SVOD licensing across both TV and film, including partnerships with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu as well as emerging platforms. She and her team also work closely alongside Starz to support their impressive international expansion strategy. Since joining Lionsgate in 2012, she has touched all areas of TV distribution, from digital home entertainment to traditional linear sales, and now keeps her focus on the evolving streaming landscape.

ERIN CARTER
SVP, MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION
Carter focuses on partnerships, catalog marketing, research and retail marketing. In this role, she leads the lifecycle planning for content from Lionsgate and its distribution partners, along with driving retail marketing efforts. Carter joined Lionsgate from Anchor Bay in 2017, where she spent a decade leading the marketing strategy for all its independent film and theatrical releases.

KENYA HART
SVP, PROCUREMENT AND INVENTORY OPERATIONS
Hart oversees the day-to-day operations of the materials management and demand planning (procurement) teams in the United States and Canada for packaged media. As the super user/departmental systems manager, she works closely with IT to test, implement and validate systemic upgrades and enhancements. Additional functions include cost analysis and business acquisition onboarding.

ANGELA HENRY
SVP, HOME ENTERTAINMENT SALES
Henry is instrumental in managing daily sales with a particular focus on the Walmart account. She helped launch the Summit Home Entertainment division in 2007, which was acquired by Lionsgate in 2012. Prior to joining Summit, Henry started her career at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in 2001 as a sales manager, covering a wide variety of retailers.

KATE NEXON
SVP, NORTH AMERICAN TV AND DIGITAL SALES
Nexon is responsible for licensing Lionsgate’s current and library television and film properties across U.S. linear and digital platforms. She leads the strategic planning, release, and analysis of multi-platform domestic sales initiatives driving to market-leading sales. Nexon joined Lionsgate in 2009 shortly before completing her MFA in Film Directing from Columbia University School of the Arts. She also holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

AMELIA MCPARTLON ROGERS
SVP, MARKETING, HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION
Rogers oversees overall marketing strategy, publicity, social media, research and paid media initiatives across all Lionsgate home entertainment and digital platforms. She leads her teams to develop a full 360-degree marketing strategy for the entire limited theatrical and multiplatform release slate; traditional 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and digital releases of Lionsgate and Starz films and television programming; as well as the company’s third-party distribution companies.

KATHY ARENDAIN, VP, creative marketing, digital and social
MELISSA CLARKE, VP, retail operations
TIFFANY OLIVARES GIRARDI, VP, publicity and digital engagement
LINDSAY LEFRANCOIS, VP, procurement
SHANNON PARKER, VP, AV creative services
HALLIE PRINCE, VP, integrated marketing
HELEN REICH, VP, sales administration

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Movies Anywhere

KARIN GILFORD
GM
Gilford leads an independent, dedicated, cross-functional team that includes product, technology and marketing professionals. She oversees product development, business strategy and long-term growth of all aspects of the Movies Anywhere brand, and serves as key liaison, working with participating studios and retailers.

BETH K. BAIER
ASSISTANT CHIEF COUNSEL
Baier heads up all day-to-day legal and business affairs matters and serves as the senior legal advisor to the company’s business teams. She actively participates in legal analysis, modeling, negotiations and drafting of new strategic business models and high-profile deals involving emerging digital distribution technologies, distribution platforms, technical operations and marketing strategies.

ELISSA BROWN
VP, FINANCE AND OPERATIONS
Brown supervises day-to-day operations, developing and executing key business and platform strategies to drive growth and deliver operational efficiencies across all facets of Movies Anywhere. This organization includes finance, strategy, business development, partner management, business intelligence/analytics, customer care and program management.

 

MVD Entertainment Group

RACHEL NORDMARK
VP, SALES
Nordmark oversees MVD’s U.S. physical and digital home entertainment business, including sales, account management and customer marketing. She also helps establish and maintain positive relations with vendors and customers, and assists in product acquisitions and social media. She assumed her present position in 2014, after serving as sales and marketing representative, account manager and vendor manager. Nordmark began her career in film and music distribution with MVD in 1999 as a sales representative.

 

NBCUniversal/Peacock

MAGGIE MCLEAN SUNIEWICK
PRESIDENT, DIGITAL ENTERPRISES, NBCUNIVERSAL MEDIA, AND
PRESIDENT, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND PARTNERSHIPS, PEACOCK
Suniewick leads NBC Universal’s digital business strategy and partnerships with new-media and technology companies to deliver premium content to emerging platforms. Suniewick previously served as SVP of strategic integration, where she was charged with identifying creative, technological and strategic opportunities between Comcast Corp. and NBCUniversal. She led Symphony, the companywide marketing initiative that promotes upcoming NBCUniversal programming, movies and events, including the Olympics, and Comcast’s products and services across the entire portfolio to drive awareness and help connect with consumers.

 

Netflix

BELA BAJARIA
VP, LOCAL-LANGUAGE ORIGINALS
Bajaria, who joined Netflix in November 2016 as VP of content, oversees all non-English original series around the world. In her previous role, Bajaria oversaw Netflix’s push into unscripted programming, including “Queer Eye” and “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” as well as talk series with David Letterman and Hasan Minhaj. Bajaria also oversaw scripted originals “You,” “Locke and Key” and “Daybreak,” among others.

MELISSA COBB
VP, ORIGINAL ANIMATION
Cobb leads the content team responsible for bringing animated series and feature films to Netflix members in 190 countries around the world. Prior to joining Netflix, Cobb was chief creative officer for Oriental DreamWorks, where she oversaw development and production, business strategy and production strategy for animated feature films targeted to a global audience. She also served as a producer at DreamWorks Animation.

CHANNING DUNGEY
VP, ORIGINAL SERIES
In her role, Dungey partners with VP of original content Cindy Holland in setting strategic direction as well as in overseeing a large portion of Netflix’s slate, including some of the company’s overall deals with high-profile, prolific producers.

JESSICA NEAL
CHIEF TALENT OFFICER
Neal is a 14-year veteran at Netflix, starting at the company in 2006 when DVD was king and streaming just a dream. She has been heavily involved in improving the Netflix culture as the company has grown. She oversees HR for the 2,000-person product engineering team responsible for improving the Netflix consumer experience. Neal also serves on the board of directors of the Association for Talent Development.

AMY REINHARD
VP, CONTENT ACQUISITION
Reinhardt has held this role since joining the company in 2016. She oversees global studio licensing for films and television series as well as local-language acquisitions from Latin America, Europe, Africa, The Middle East and India. In addition to global licensing, Reinhard negotiates international distribution rights on major studio films.

BOZOMA SAINT JOHN
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
Saint John took her position at Netflix in June 2020. She previously held the same role at Endeavor after serving as the first-ever chief brand officer at Uber. Her 20-year marketing career also includes tenures as head of global consumer marketing for Apple Music and iTunes, and head of the music and entertainment marketing group at Pepsi-Cola North America. She has been recognized for her breakthrough work by both the industry and her peers, having been inducted into the American Advertising Federation Hall of Achievement in 2014.

JANE WISEMAN
VP, COMEDY SERIES
Wiseman joined the Netflix original programming team in 2014 and over the past six years has built out Netflix’s scripted comedy department. Today, Wiseman oversees a curated, diverse lineup of content, from dark comedies and multi-cam sitcoms to Netflix’s growing slate of adult-animated comedies.

 

Paramount Pictures

MICHELE BELL
SVP, WORLDWIDE CREATIVE SERVICES, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Bell is in charge of all of the division’s creative advertising materials including all packaging, menu design, and print, broadcast, VOD and online advertising. She previously was VP of home entertainment creative services for Universal Studios. There, she oversaw and managed creative advertising objectives for the feature, catalog, TV and specialty brand groups. Bell also oversaw the development of creative marketing concepts for all consumer and trade materials.

BRENDA CICCONE
SVP, WORLDWIDE PUBLICITY AND COMMUNICATIONS, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND TV LICENSING
Ciccone supervises all publicity and corporate communications for the home entertainment and TV licensing divisions on a global basis. She is responsible for the public relations campaigns on behalf of all of the studio’s home entertainment labels and distribution partners, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Television, Paramount Players, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and CBS. Ciccone also manages domestic and international trade show activity at markets including MIPCOM, ATF, NATPE and more.

MELINDA FROELICH
SVP, INTERNATIONAL MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Froelich is responsible for international marketing, advertising, public relations, promotions and release strategy for all post-theatrical transactional windows. She also supervises global marketing for all worldwide television partners. Froelich joined the studio in 2005, having previously worked at The Walt Disney Co. for eight years.

HILARIE HILDEBRANDT
SVP, CUSTOMER MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Hildebrandt oversees customer marketing for both physical and digital retail accounts with a focus on aligning strategic initiatives across new-release, catalog and television product. She is responsible for executing consumer-focused programs with each retail client to maximize sales and drive growth formats, including 4K, electronic sellthrough and VOD. Hildebrandt previously served as VP of retail marketing at Fox and also held sales director positions at Fox and Polygram Filmed Entertainment in Canada.

DINA MAROVICH
SVP, WORLDWIDE MEDIA AND INTERACTIVE MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
With more than 20 years of advertising experience, Marovich is responsible for overseeing all media planning and buying for the home entertainment division. She joined Paramount in 2006 as VP of media for Paramount Home Entertainment. She previously served as the head of the Paramount Home Entertainment account at MEC, where she was responsible for all advertising on behalf of the division. Prior to that, she was assistant media director for Starcom Worldwide, where she managed the media planning for all Buena Vista Home Entertainment releases and worked as a media planning supervisor for Buena Vista Theatrical.

NANCY POPE
SVP, HUMAN RESOURCES, PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Pope is responsible for supporting the home entertainment, theatrical marketing and TV licensing divisions. Early in her career she worked for AT&T as both an operations manager and HR professional. Upon earning her master’s degree in industrial psychology, she left AT&T and joined Nestle USA, where she became the director of training and development. In 1999 Pope joined EMI Music North America as VP of human resources, and in 2007 she joined Paramount Pictures.

ALANNA POWERS
SVP, BRAND MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Powers heads up Paramount’s film catalog business globally across digital and physical distribution channels where she develops marketing and distribution strategies that align with cross-divisional partners to maximize the studio’s full portfolio of titles. Prior to joining Paramount, Powers held senior marketing positions at Redbox and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment after starting her career at FCB.

AUBREY THOMASON
SVP, BUSINESS AFFAIRS AND LEGAL, PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Thomason primarily focuses on acquisitions for distribution through home entertainment channels, theatrical services agreements for acquisitions and domestic video sublicensing matters. Before joining Paramount, she was an associate at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP (2000-05), where she primarily worked on corporate finance and real estate transactions, but also served as outside counsel to Paramount Pictures between 2003 and 2005.

ROZITA TOLOUEY
SVP, WORLDWIDE BRAND MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
An industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience in entertainment marketing, Tolouey is responsible for driving the division’s marketing strategies across the new-release and acquisitions business globally for both physical and digital markets. Prior to joining Paramount, Tolouey held marketing positions with video game developer Konami Digital Entertainment and with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

LEDA CHANG, VP, digital marketing, PHE
JACQUELINE GUSTAFSON, VP, home media content, PHE
ANNE MASUDA, VP, digital distribution (U.K.), PHE
MICHELE RUMAIN, VP, advertising (media), PHE
JULIA SALTER, VP, digital distribution (AU), PHE
PAMELA SIVULA, VP, financial planning, PHE
MICHELLE VEN DANGE, VP, international marketing, PHE

 

PBS Distribution

AMY LETOURNEAU
SVP, STRATEGY AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS
Since joining WGBH in 2000, Letourneau has worked in various organizations across public media, including stints focused on public television system media strategies at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and as a production manager on “Antiques Roadshow.” Since joining PBS Distribution in 2010, she has significantly expanded the home entertainment content pipeline across genres including such programs as “The Great British Baking Show,” the PBS Kids hit “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” Masterpiece’s “Victoria,” and the recent Academy Award nominated For Sama, in partnership with PBS’s “Frontline.”

REBECCA CARR
VP, OPERATIONS, PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT AND TECHNOLOGY
Carr has worked in operations for PBS Distribution since its inception and heads operations, production and technology for all the unit’s business divisions. She oversees all aspects of the digital supply chain for direct-to-consumer and SVOD channels, SVOD and TVOD, as well as operations and production for hardcopy distribution. Combining her strategic and tactical strengths, Carr is responsible for asset and data management, evolving systems and processes, product execution and vendor management.

LIZ LIEBMAN
SENIOR DIRECTOR, DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION — DTC
Liebman’s experience across all digital distribution areas of the business allows her to successfully lead complex strategic initiatives. Never satisfied with the status quo, Liz sets high standards for her team and leads by example. She welcomes new challenges and opportunities, most recently stepping up to lead the newly created Direct-to-Consumer Subscription Video-on-Demand (DTC-SVOD) business to manage a growing portfolio of channels, including PBS Masterpiece, PBS Kids, PBS Living and PBS Documentaries.

 

Premiere Digital

MICHELE EDELMAN
HEAD OF GROWTH
With more than 20 years of executive experience, an unmatched business acumen and extensive knowledge of home entertainment, Edelman has been a driving force behind innovation and growth at the forefront of an evolving OTT landscape. From launching TVOD/EST programs at Warner Bros, to spearheading VOD strategies at Vubiquity, to redefining distribution at media services company Premiere Digital, Edelman has been instrumental in implementing intentional market plans across media services, distribution and SaaS disciplines.

 

Quibi

MEG WHITMAN
CO-FOUNDER/CEO
In 2018, Whitman became the first employee and CEO of new video streaming platform Quibi with co-founder Jeffrey Katzenberg. The app-based service, which launched in April for $4.99 monthly with ads, $7.99 without, features original, short-form content designed specifically for smartphones. The start-up is backed by $1.7 billion in funding from investors Disney, NBCUniversal, Sony, Viacom, and WarnerMedia. Whitman previously served as CEO of eBay from 1998 to 2008. During her tenure, Whitman oversaw its expansion from 30 employees and $4 million in annual revenue, to more than 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue. In 2014, Whitman was named No. 20 on Forbes’ list of the 100 most powerful women in the world.

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Redbox

KAVITA SUTHAR
CFO
Suthar oversees the company’s long-term financial health, which includes setting financial direction, implementing strategies to drive revenue growth and profitability, and deal support. She previously held long-term strategy and analytics roles at U.S. Cellular.

MAURA GRAY
SENIOR DIRECTOR, CONSUMER, BRAND AND PARTNERSHIP MARKETING
Gray has led multiple, large-scale brand and marketing initiatives since joining Redbox, including the Redbox On Demand and Free Live TV launches. Prior to joining Redbox, she focused on ad sales and partnership marketing at the National Geographic Channels.

LAURA FLORENCE
DIRECTOR, CONTENT PARTNERSHIPS
Florence leads the company’s digital content relationships with studios and independent partners and is responsible for the growing lineup of channels available on Redbox’s Free Live TV service. She has more than 14 years of experience in both the physical and digital categories of content distribution, including a tenure at Gravitas Ventures, where she ran North American sales and marketing for theatrical, TVOD/cable/satellite and home entertainment and AVOD sales.

LORI FLYNN
VP, CONTENT
Flynn is focused on revenue-growth strategies and new content opportunities for the movie business. Prior to joining Redbox, she spent more than 17 years at Blockbuster Video, where she was responsible for managing the rental/merchandising group for corporate stores and online.

NICOLE ZINNO
VP, HUMAN RESOURCES
Zinno leads human resources, overseeing all functions of HR, payroll, benefits, recruitment and internal communications that attract, retain and engage Redbox’s employee base of corporate and nationwide field team members.

 

Shout! Factory

MELISSA BOAG
SVP, FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT
As head of the family entertainment division — the biggest portion of the company’s business — Boag creates marketing and distribution strategy and oversees partnerships with GKIDS, Anime Limited, Eleven Arts, Hasbro and Sesame Street. She has led the strategy, marketing and acquisition work to grow this business to more than $30 million annually. She steers implementation on key lines, including “My Little Pony,” “Transformers,” “Power Rangers,” “Digimon Adventure” and GKIDS’s wide range of critically acclaimed animated movies and Studio Ghibli classics. She also collaborates on acquisitions and the production of new animated films.

LAUREN BLUM
ASSOCIATE VP OF PUBLICITY
Blum is a smart and well-respected PR strategist and has delivered many outstanding campaigns over the years. Recent home entertainment campaign highlights include “Sesame Street,” Studio Ghibli classics, “When Calls the Heart,” “The Carol Burnett Show” on ShoutFactoryTV, and cult movie releases from Scream Factory.

KATHY CALLAHAN
VP, SPECIAL MARKET SALES AND E-COMMERCE
Callahan is a more than 30-year veteran of entertainment media sales and marketing. She joined Shout! Factory in 2006. Since 2012, she has served as the GM of the company’s e-commerce businesses, which include shoutfactory.com, the MST3Kstore.com, and its Amazon Marketplace business. Kathy also handles specialty sales and non-traditional sales in general.

KARRIE STOUFFER
VP, CREATIVE SERVICES
Stouffer is a creative director and designer specializing in entertainment properties. In this role, she oversees key art and packaging development for a slew of music, film, television, digital and home entertainment projects. Her expertise spans numerous functions, including leading and managing creative campaigns, art direction and design, key art/logo/brand/title treatment development, and project management.

 

Sling TV

LEAH ASHLEY
VP, DIGITAL MARKETING
Ashley leads a team of 30 marketers across all digital tactics for Sling TV and Dish. Prior to joining Dish in 2019, she worked at Condé Nast as the executive director of consumer revenue for Allure and GQ. Ashley’s previous media experience includes positions at Birchbox, Castanea Partners and Bain & Co.

MELISA BODDIE
VP, PROGRAMMING
Boddie manages the local broadcasting, public interest and pay-for-carriage business units for Dish and Sling TV. Her responsibilities include local, core and paid-programming acquisitions.

DANA MCLEOD
VP, PROGRAMMING, PROMOTION AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
McLeod oversees content acquisition, strategy, curation and promotion for Sling TV. She also manages programmer relationships and business development. Previously, she served as director of finance for Sling TV, where she was responsible for its finances, in addition to programming and media sales for both Dish and Sling TV.

LIZ RIEMERSMA
VP, SLING AND DISH INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMMING
Riemersma oversees programming, marketing and operations for both Dish International and Sling International. She is responsible for acquiring and marketing international content and driving subscriber growth across 27 languages at Dish and Sling TV.

 

Sony Pictures

JILL ALLEN
SVP, DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION
Allen leads U.S. digital distribution across all new-media and MVPD platforms, including Amazon, Apple TV, Fandango and Comcast. She oversees sales and sales planning teams to drive business across the studio’s new-release and catalog properties. Allen began her career at Disney and LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) before joining the Sony team 14 years ago. During her time at Sony, she has held both sales and business development roles, always with a focus on the intersection of content and new technologies.

JENNIFER ANDERSON
SVP, MARKETING
Anderson leads the strategic development and execution of brand marketing, promotions and creative for all SPHE new-release and catalog business, establishing key consumer messaging, aligning marketing tactics to core brand strategy and ensuring that product marketing efforts are in line with studio business goals. She oversees a cross-functional team that includes brand and product marketing, promotions and creative advertising.

GERI BLUEROCK
SVP, SALES AND OPERATIONS
Bluerock heads up the sales and operations organization for the domestic physical business. The scope of her responsibilities includes sales, supply chain, planning, reporting and administration. She has led the evolution of the sales team to integrate data-driven insights addressing retailer and consumer opportunities. Her experience at Sony, MGM and Target includes leadership positions in sales, sales planning and analysis, retail operations, category management, vendor managed inventory, demand planning and retail buying.

ANJA DANG
SVP, ANALYTICS AND BUSINESS INSIGHTS
Dang is responsible for identifying and developing Sony Pictures’ capabilities to become a more consumer-centric, data-driven organization. Her team sources, connects and manages consumer and audience level data universes, understands and builds consumer segments for activation, designs activation solutions, and delivers insights. Her team utilizes advanced data analytics and machine learning to develop models and apps to enable SPE to make informed decisions that drive and fulfill consumer appetite for film and television content across the theatrical, home entertainment and television release windows.

JACQUI MARSHALL
EVP, LEGAL AFFAIRS
Marshall heads up the corporate legal team for Sony in the EMEA region. She is responsible for legal matters for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, including physical and digital rights distribution and acquisition, joint ventures, operational and retailer arrangements, and all other corporate and commercial initiatives. Marshall has managed SPHE’s legal requirements in EMEA for more than a decade after starting her career at Universal Pictures.

JANE MOHON
SVP, MARKETING SERVICES
Mohon is responsible for data-driven consumer strategy, overseeing digital and social media marketing, traditional and digital media planning, and buying as well as publicity. Utilizing social and digital insights as well as traditional research to identify consumer demand and voice, she helps set paid, owned and earned media strategies for SPHE releases. A champion of an analytics-led strategy, Mohon leverages consumer lifecycle data to drive multi-channel paid media strategies to drive transactions.

DINA WIGGINS
SVP, LEGAL
For more than 20 years Wiggins has been overseeing legal affairs worldwide for SPHE marketing, closely collaborating with all departments throughout the division. Her work also includes legal compliance in all aspects of the licensing, distribution, sales, manufacturing, and other exploitation of movies and television series in home entertainment for domestic and international territories, excluding EMEA.

ALLIE CARSIA-TALBOTT, VP, digital distribution
SUZANNE EMERSON, VP, legal
JUDY GUEVARA, VP, international marketing
HELENA KU, VP, business affairs
JANET SCHACKMAN, VP, customer operations
JANA SIMMONS, VP, TV and customer marketing
JOAN VILLAROS, VP, production services, North America

 

Universal Pictures

HELEN PARKER
EVP, UNIVERSAL PICTURES CONTENT GROUP
Parker is responsible for spearheading UPHE’s global content business. Based in London, she oversees both content acquisitions and productions for all media and manages a roster of international and U.S. talent and content distributed by NBCUniversal, spanning documentaries, live events, music and theater, films, live-comedy shows, anime, TV, Korean drama, sport and fitness, and children and family, among others. Since assuming her position in 2007, Parker has successfully launched and developed this business for Universal and successfully positioned the company as an industry leader within the sector.

PAMELA BLUM
SVP, GLOBAL MARKETING, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Blum manages creative marketing services and the development of value-added content for the studio’s Blu-ray, DVD and digital releases on a worldwide basis. Her responsibilities also extend to include maximizing opportunities cross-divisionally within NBC Universal.

SANDY CHOI
SVP, BRAND MARKETING, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Choi oversees UPHE’s North American third-party partner relationships. She handles the development and execution of all marketing campaigns for partner releases across both physical and digital platforms, as well as leads the cross-functional team responsible for the overall business.

ELLEN COCKRILL
SVP, ANIMATION PRODUCTION, UNIVERSAL 1440 ENTERTAINMENT
Cockrill oversees development and production of animated movies and TV fare for Universal 1440 Entertainment for distribution in all media worldwide. She produced the PBS/Hulu animated series “Curious George,” garnering her two Daytime Emmys. Additionally, she has spearheaded numerous feature-length productions including multiple “Curious George” and “The Land Before Time” movies, The Little Engine That Could, and more than 300 television episodes.

NANCY EAGLE
SVP, BUSINESS AND LEGAL AFFAIRS, UNIVERSAL 1440 ENTERTAINMENT
Eagle is responsible for the business and legal affairs for Universal 1440 Entertainment, the entity that develops and produces live-action and animated projects for distribution across various media platforms worldwide. Her duties include supervision of all business and legal issues on all of the group’s development and production slate, including rights and talent acquisition, negative pick-up distribution agreements, foreign co-productions, intellectual property matters, and litigation management. She also handles the group’s soundtrack partnerships and is responsible for selling certain ancillary rights.

DENISE HARO
SVP, WORLDWIDE CONSUMER INSIGHTS AND STRATEGY, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Haro oversees business analytics, focusing on external market analytics, trend analysis and long-term outlook. She also manages UPHE’s consumer insights and research. She is focused on aligning global commercial strategy around product, window, messaging and innovation founded in business and consumer insights. Throughout her tenure, she has been influential in shaping company strategy.

JERRLYN IWATA
SVP, DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Iwata manages business development and distribution for Universal’s domestic digital home entertainment arm. She is responsible for licensing Universal’s film and television content on a transactional basis to cable, satellite, Internet and emerging digital platform partners across the United States and Canada.

LEA PORTENEUVE
SVP, GLOBAL PUBLICITY AND COMMUNICATIONS, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Porteneuve manages business, technology and executive communications for UPHE. She additionally spearheads all strategic publicity initiatives, including media and talent relations, events, promotions, promotional partnerships and social media activations in support of the studio’s digital and physical home entertainment offerings. She also actively serves as the company’s principal PR strategist on cross-studio industry-specific committees.

HEIDI TURK
SVP, SUPPLY CHAIN, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Turk oversees technical operations, customer operations, master data, release and production planning, distribution, logistics, retail inventory management, and business insights for Universal’s Blu-ray and DVD releases in the United States and Canada. She also plays a vital role in the development and implementation of the company’s eco-friendly initiatives and serves as a primary liaison to Universal’s distribution partners, including Paramount Home Entertainment, Entertainment One, Funimation, Shout! Factory, STX, Bleecker Street and Neon, among others.

JENNIFER ADOLPH, VP, sales strategy, Canada
STACY BARGER, VP, global creative services
STEPHANIE BAYER, VP, global creative services
JENNIFER BLACK, VP, global publicity
HEATHER BRIGGS, VP, finance
ERICA MARIE DIONNE, VP, product development and strategy
LEIGH DUNLEAVY, VP, digital platforms
LISA GOODING, VP, live-action production
ALISSA GURY, VP, global controller
NADIA HANEY, VP, global marketing, emerging technology
KELLY HARRINGTON, VP, global brand marketing
TRACY KIM, VP, digital distribution and digital platforms
SANDY LE BIHAN, VP, global projects
BRIGITTE LIFSON, VP, business and legal affairs
STEPHANIE LUTJENS, VP, global brand marketing
MARIAN MANSI, VP, global creative content
LINDA MARTINEZ, VP, legal rights and clearances
LISA MELBYE, VP, animation production
SHARE STALLINGS, VP, development
MARY TREZIA, VP, operations
EVE WALDMAN, VP, human resources
JENNA WEBB, VP, global tech operations

 

Vudu

JENNI READIO
SENIOR DIRECTOR, MERCHANDISING AND LICENSING
Readio is a 16-year entertainment industry veteran. For the past nine years she has led merchandising, licensing and content acquisition strategy at Vudu (acquired from Walmart by Fandango in April), where her team continues to successfully grow revenue and content partnerships annually. Under her ideation and leadership, Vudu launched the exclusive merchandising functionality Mix & Match. Prior to joining Vudu, Readio managed the Walmart music business, including its brick-and-mortar stores, e-commerce and digital downloads storefronts, and original music content platform Walmart Soundcheck.

GIGI SHANG
DIRECTOR, TECHNICAL PROGRAM MANAGEMENT
Shang leads Vudu’s technical program management office, overseeing large-scale technology and development programs for the past six years. During her tenure, she has driven strategic company initiatives by leading alignment on program vision, scope, resource allocation and release management, managing the full lifecycle from ideation to product delivery. Her mandate also includes the operations strategy of the business. Prior to joining Vudu, Shang led technical program management and software development at Sony Electronics for 13 years.

 

WarnerMedia Entertainment/HBO Max

JORI ARANCIO
EVP, COMMUNICATIONS, HBO MAX, TNT, TBS AND TRUTV
Named to her current position in December 2019, Arancio is responsible for overseeing all communications for the three networks and streaming platform. Prior to joining WarnerMedia, she worked for the Walt Disney Company for 21 years, most recently as SVP of communications for ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios, where she was responsible for all strategic corporate communication efforts, consumer press campaigns, awards outreach and talent relations for the two business units.

MEREDITH GERTLER
EVP, CONTENT STRATEGY AND PLANNING, HBO AND HBO MAX
Gertler is responsible for shaping the HBO Max portfolio and developing overall content and programming strategies for HBO Max and all HBO streaming and on-demand platforms, as well as the HBO and Cinemax linear networks. In addition, she oversees program and promotion scheduling for HBO Max and all HBO platforms. Gertler joined HBO in 2004 on HBO Video’s marketing team, where she developed and executed strategic business and marketing plans for original programming on DVD. In January 2009, she was named VP of product management, operations and production for HBO Home Entertainment, responsible for the short- and long-term planning and profitability for all the company’s home entertainment product lines in North America. In 2012, she made the move to program strategy and planning and helped craft the content planning and scheduling framework in support of the launch of HBO Now in 2015.

LINDA LOWY
EVP, CASTING, HBO MAX, TBS, TNT AND TRUTV
Named to her current position in July 2019, Lowy is responsible for overseeing casting for scripted series, feature films, docudramas, animation and unscripted. Lowy’s projects for HBO Max include “The Flight Attendant,” “Love Life,” “Americanah,” “Julia Child,” “Raised by Wolves,” “Tokyo Vice,” “Made For Love,” “Station Eleven” and “Generation.” Prior to joining WarnerMedia, Lowy consulted on TNT dramas including “Snowpiercer,” “Claws,” “The Alienist” and “Animal Kingdom.” Lowy also collaborated with Shonda Rhimes in a partnership spanning nearly 17 years on “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Private Practice,” “For the People” and “Station 19.”

PIA CHAOZON BARLOW
SVP, PROGRAM MARKETING, HBO MAX
Barlow is responsible for guiding the overall marketing strategy, including creative, media, events, partnerships and social media, for HBO Max Originals alongside Peter Sherman. She was named to this position in January. She began her career at HBO, where she worked for nine years launching consumer marketing campaigns for award-winning series, films and documentaries. In 2014, Barlow joined Netflix as director of originals marketing, building and growing that team and overseeing global marketing campaigns across all programming genres and titles. From 2015 to 2017, she expanded her role and was appointed as the key marketing executive on the team focused on the expansion of international originals for Netflix.

KATIE SOO
SVP, GROWTH MARKETING, HBO MAX
Soo was the first member of a core HBO Max team tasked with building key disciplines from the ground up. She currently oversees growth marketing for the WarnerMedia direct-to-consumer platform. Her areas of focus include subscriber acquisitions, consumer engagement, digital campaigns, social media and audience development, and retention strategies. Soo’s direct-to-consumer portfolio includes DC Universe, Ellen Digital Ventures, Stage 13 and Uninterrupted. Soo previously served as head of marketing at Warner Bros. Digital Networks.

SOFIA CHANG
PRESIDENT, WARNERMEDIA DISTRIBUTION, THE DOMESTIC
DISTRIBUTION/MARKETING ARM OF WARNERMEDIA ENTERTAINMENT
Chang oversees distribution efforts for WarnerMedia’s domestic linear TV networks, premium channels, digital brands and direct-to-consumer services, including CNN, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network, TCM, Adult Swim, truTV, HLN, Boomerang, HBO, Cinemax and HBO Max. She is responsible for oversight of the revenue, marketing and distribution strategy of WarnerMedia’s business across cable, satellite, telco and digital affiliate partners. She is based in New York and reports to Gerhard Zeiler, chief revenue officer of WarnerMedia, and president of WarnerMedia International Networks. Most recently, Chang served as EVP of global digital distribution and content licensing at HBO, where she oversaw $2 billion in annual global revenue for HBO and Cinemax.

SANDRA DEWEY
PRESIDENT, PRODUCTIONS AND BUSINESS OPERATIONS, WARNERMEDIA ENTERTAINMENT
Dewey oversees the business affairs and production teams for DTC Originals, for which she also leads the day-to-day operational responsibilities in partnership with DTC head of content Sarah Aubrey. Dewey and her team have been establishing policy and process for the DTC Originals and the new areas of business, including features and documentaries, as well as entering into strategic partnerships with new content partners. Additionally, Dewey oversees the business side of WarnerMedia Entertainment’s linear networks, TBS, TNT and truTV. At TBS and TNT, Dewey has played a key role in the networks’ ongoing transition from linear television to omni-platform media brands with numerous revenue streams, including the WarnerMedia joint venture with Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco.

RONNI COBERN-BASIS
EVP, TALENT RELATIONS, EVENTS AND AWARDS, WARNERMEDIA ENTERTAINMENT AND DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER
Named to this role in October 2019, Cobern-Basis is responsible for all talent relations, events and awards efforts on behalf of the entire portfolio, spanning HBO, HBO Max, TNT, TBS and truTV. Cobern-Basis has not only set the gold standard for excellence within the industry, but she has also led the charge in producing promotional events during the coronavirus pandemic. Under her leadership, her team has been credited with reinventing virtual events with interactive experiences.

JESSICA L. HOLSCOTT
EVP/CFO, WARNERMEDIA ENTERTAINMENT
Holscott is responsible for overseeing all aspects of finance and supporting the CEO with all strategic decisions. Her responsibilities include HBO, HBO Max, TBS, TNT, truTV and Otter. Prior to taking this role, Holscott served as EVP and CFO for HBO. Before that, she spent more than two years as SVP of investor relations for Time Warner. In this role, she worked to develop and execute the company’s investor relations initiatives and served as one of the primary day-to-day contacts for the investment community. Holscott also led Time Warner’s cross-company merger planning efforts with AT&T.

JACQUELINE JOURDAIN HAYES
EVP AND GENERAL COUNSEL, WARNERMEDIA ENTERTAINMENT
Named to this role in August 2019, Hayes is responsible for all of WarnerMedia’s legal affairs, including the linear businesses, Otter Media and HBO Max. Hayes joined Warner Home Video in 1998, providing legal support for the then nascent DVD business. She went on to become a primary legal steward of Warner Bros.’ transactional and subscription digital businesses — leading the first content clearance, digital licensing and content protection initiatives for the online distribution of WB titles — and was eventually named SVP and general counsel of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in 2015.

LUCINDA MARTINEZ
EVP, MULTICULTURAL MARKETING, BRAND AND INCLUSION STRATEGY, WARNERMEDIA ENTERTAINMENT
Martinez is responsible for developing a distinct and inclusive brand narrative across WarnerMedia Entertainment’s marketing campaigns, including HBO, HBO Max, TNT, TBS, and truTV, among others. In addition, Martinez leads the development and expansion of talent development and emerging artist programs across all company brands. Martinez joined HBO more than 17 years ago and most recently served as EVP of brand marketing where she was responsible for all HBO, HBO Latino, Cinemax and Cinemáx branded targeted marketing efforts to the African-American, Latino, Asian and LGBTQ+ audiences.

SARAH LYONS
SVP, PRODUCT EXPERIENCE, WARNERMEDIA ENTERTAINMENT
Lyons helps shape the app experience across all major platforms, defining how users discover content, as well as paving the way for innovation on how content is viewed and experienced in the future. She also plays a key role in overall product strategy. Prior to joining WarnerMedia, Lyons held various positions within DirecTV, including VP of OTT media products, responsible for the DirecTV Now product, and the launch of their next-generation video platform. She oversaw the launch of DirecTV’s TV Everywhere product suite, which under her leadership became a streaming experience available on more than 250 million mobile devices. She also was responsible for the product roadmap for the NFL Sunday Ticket streaming service and NFLST.tv OTT product.

 

Warner Bros.

LOUISE BAGNALL
SVP AND CHIEF COUNSEL
Bagnall leads the legal and business affairs team for the studio’s physical, digital and interactive entertainment businesses on a worldwide basis. In this role, she and her team provide legal counsel in respect to licensing, acquisitions, production, marketing, sales and supply chain, as well as advising on key strategic and growth initiatives. She previously worked in the London office of Warner Bros. and relocated to Burbank in 2017, significantly expanding her role and helping to cultivate a global approach.

JOHNNA CHO
SVP, LEGAL AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS
Cho oversees and advises on legal matters involving acquisitions, licensing, distribution, marketing, sales, production and operations for the studio’s physical, digital and games businesses in the Asia-Pacific region. She also manages legal matters for the studio’s Japan-based anime production and distribution business.

NICOLE COLEMAN
SVP, TRADE MARKETING, RETAIL PLANNING AND THEATRICAL CATALOG
Coleman is responsible for the theatrical catalog P&L for the home entertainment group across the physical and digital retail landscape. In addition, she leads trade marketing and sales planning for both physical and digital film and television content.

KRISTINA FUGATE
SVP, FILM MARKETING
Fugate manages all theatrical new-release and catalog U.S. brand marketing efforts for Warner across disc and digital platforms. She’s also responsible for developing long-term strategies, resulting in strong performances for franchises including the Wizarding World and DC properties, 4K UHD and emerging platforms.

LAURA A. GROSS
SVP, WARNER BROS. HOME ENTERTAINMENT GLOBAL CONSUMER INSIGHTS AND RESEARCH
Gross joined Warner Bros. in 2003 to establish the WBHE international research and media team. In 2011, she was promoted to handling global responsibilities, adding the United States and Canada. In her position, she has built a global consumer insights and research team that manages groundbreaking and innovative consumer research, analytics, and modeling across digital and packaged movies and TV products. Her team partners with all aspects of the business — theatrical, games, TV, marketing, sales, finance, strategic planning and executive management along with all other WarnerMedia divisions.

ROSEMARY MARKSON
SVP, TV MARKETING
Markson handles global marketing for all Warner Bros. and HBO TV properties across physical and digital home entertainment platforms. She manages marketing strategies, product development, consumer marketing and business planning for both current on-air series and library/catalog series. Markson is also responsible for managing talent and studio relationships and ensuring that key content partners are properly serviced.

ISABELLE RENAUD
SVP, CREATIVE PRODUCTION SERVICES
Renaud oversees the worldwide physical and digital product production and localization for the film, television, and originals as well as animation and family businesses, including motion picture new-release and catalog, WBTV, MGM, HBO, Turner, DC and other WarnerMedia partner properties. Her team focuses on the production of global digital assets and distribution, menu and user interface initiatives, print and custom packaging/manufacturing, and retail merchandising. As part of both the Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment teams, Renaud also oversees marketing process initiatives leading the review and implementation of combined organizational workflows and continuous improvement opportunities.

JENNIFER STUMP
SVP, LEGAL AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS
Stump is the lead attorney for Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) for franchises such as “Batman: Arkham,” “Lego,” “Mortal Kombat” and “The Hobbit.” She and her team provide legal counsel across all functions of WBIE’s publishing business, in addition to supporting all Warner-owned development studios, including Avalanche, Monolith Productions, NetherRealm Studios, Rocksteady Studios, WB Games Boston and TT Games.

MARY ELLEN THOMAS
SVP, ORIGINALS, ANIMATION AND FAMILY
Thomas leads global marketing efforts for originals, animation and family content, as well as all content from Turner Networks (Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TNT, truTV, CNN) across physical and digital home entertainment platforms. She is responsible for driving the overall strategy, product development, marketing, and lifecycle management for originals (MFV) and episodic product lines. In addition, she oversees the relationships with WBHE’s portfolio brand partners, including Rooster Teeth, Crunchy Roll, Peanuts, Dr. Seuss, WWE and Viz Media.

EMILY ZALENSKI
SVP, WORLDWIDE PUBLICITY
Zalenski handles worldwide publicity and corporate communications for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. She heads up the strategic execution of digital and physical publicity campaigns for all new-release and catalog film releases, including media and talent relations, special events, and experiential marketing. She also leads communications efforts for emerging technology initiatives, including 4K UHD and emerging digital release technologies. She serves as the WBHE representative for communications strategy on many cross-studio committees.

ALICE CALAMAR, VP, creative production management
TRACI CARROLL, VP, creative advertising
MARIANA CASAS, VP, financial planning and analysis, digital
AMY-BETH CHAMBERLIN, VP, sales services
KRISTIE L. COLLEY, VP, retail planning and trade fund management
TINA DEPASS LUJAN, VP, TV marketing, TV series
GIULIA ERICKSON, VP, marketing analytics and channel strategy
CASEY ESTEVEZ, VP, creative production management
MICHELLE FOWLER, VP, legal and business affairs
FEIFEI HU, VP, business development and licensing
SUCHITRA INJATI, VP, strategic supply chain planning and forecasting
CHERILYNN KEHRLI, VP, legal and business affairs
JULIE V. KELLEY, VP and associate general counsel, legal and business affairs
SANDRA KIM, VP, global product planning
JUNGSUN (MONICA) KIM, VP, legal and business affairs
OLIVIA LLAMAS, VP, retail and user experience
LAURA LUPINETTI, VP, trade marketing
ANGIE LAI MAKHOUL, VP, film marketing
MELISSA HUFJAY MCALEVEY, VP, publicity
KATY MOFFAT, VP, operations
DEBBIE NEVEU, VP, accounting, financial reporting and contract administration
ZANDRA PALMER, VP, trade marketing
NATHALIE SAWYER, VP, sales
YVONNE SPENCE, VP, creative services content
MARYAM TASHROUDIAN, VP and associate general counsel, legal and business affairs
BETH WETZEL, VP, creative advertising
MARISA ZWEBEN, VP, legal and business affairs

Women in Home Entertainment 2020: The 12 Captains Talk Career Paths, Highlights and Tough Calls

Media Play News asked the 12 “captains” in our third annual Women in Home Entertainment issue to participate in a detailed Q&A about their careers and the challenges of COVID-19, which truly has made 2020 a year like no other. We also asked some fun questions to liven, and lighten, things up. An abridged Q&A appears in the August 2020 print and digital edition of Media Play News. The full Q&A has been broken down into three sections, running here on consecutive days. This is the first part, on their career paths and highlights.

SEE A PHOTO GALLERY OF THE TOP 12 WOMEN IN HOME ENTERTAINMENT

 

THE CAPTAINS OF HOME ENTERTAINMENT: WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY, PART ONE

Tell us about your career path. 

Sarah Aubrey, Head of Original Content, HBO Max: I began my career as an entertainment lawyer, later transitioning to production starting with Bad Santa and then joining forces with Peter Berg at our production company Film 44. During this time, I produced series and features such as “Friday Night Lights” and Lone Survivor. I then joined Kevin Reilly, who I had worked with on “Friday Night Lights,” at TNT as EVP of original programming for the network. We created programming that evolved the network into a place for premium tentpole dramas with series such as “Claws,” “Animal Kingdom” and the Emmy Award-winning drama “The Alienist.” I worked hard in this position to champion diversity and inclusion both in front of and behind the camera. During this time we were able to more than double the number of women holding jobs at the highest levels on the average TNT scripted project, and TNT jumped an impressive 320% on the annual GLAAD TV report rankings for LGBTQ representation. Kevin then presented me with a once-in-a-career opportunity, to be on the ground floor of HBO Max, a brand-new platform that brings together an incredibly special portfolio and group of creators in one place. [Reilly recently left WarnerMedia in a management shakeup.] In this role, I oversee our Originals slate from drama, comedy, unscripted, documentary, animation, and feature films, with something for everyone in the household. My team and I are empowered to go after unique, distinctive stories from creative voices that make a cultural impact, stories that we feel passionate about and that deserve to be seen by a wide audience. We are proud to have launched with the 2020 Sundance Documentary feature On the Record as well as the fan-favorites “Love Life” and “Legendary,” and to continue bringing incredible stories to our platform such as “Expecting Amy,” “On the Trail,” the “Friends” reunion special, and, of course in 2021, the long-awaited Snyder Cut (director Zack Snyder’s cut of the 2017 superhero film Justice League).

SEE ALSO ‘WOMEN IN HOME ENTERTAINMENT 2020: THE 12 CAPTAINS — WHO THEY ARE’

Andrea Downing, Co-President, PBS Distribution: I started my career in manufacturing after I graduated from college in the Midwest, in a picture frame factory. I have always said yes when asked to take on new projects or tasks, and the more that I successfully managed, the more senior my position became. At some point, I realized that I wanted to be in a region where there were more of my peers, and I moved to Washington, D.C. Clearly there’s not a lot of manufacturing on the East Coast, so I started over in an entry-level position, but soon moved into a management position. A friend recommended me to someone at the Discovery Channel, a startup at the time, and while it meant taking what looked like a step backwards in terms of my role, I wanted to be in a larger, more entrepreneurial organization. I started taking on what needed to be done, and quickly became the go-to person. The decision to join Discovery led me to where I am today.

Kathleen Gallagher, EVP and Managing Director — North America, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment: I have been with Universal for almost 20 years. I have been so fortunate to have found amazing mentors and advocates in this organization who have given me opportunity and exposure. I started in this industry as a sales analyst for Kmart and Walmart. I have held many different roles in the sales and trade marketing functions that taught me the importance of being customer- and consumer-centric in everything we do. That sensibility has been incredibly helpful to me in this role as I strive to find the right balance between sales, operations and finance.

Hilary Hoffman, EVP, Global Marketing, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment: I appreciate this question, as it comes at a critical moment in time when we all should be reflecting on our own career journeys as well as those of our team members and colleagues across the industry. I believe that my path has been greatly influenced and supported by my mentors and leaders. Going forward, my goal is to heighten my focus on others in our organization, particularly those from diverse backgrounds, to ensure that everyone has an equal opportunity to grow, thrive and always feel supported professionally.

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Cindy Holland, VP, Original Content, Netflix: I grew up in Nebraska, where the nearest arthouse cinema was about 30 miles away. I loved what I saw, though, and couldn’t wait to work in film. I moved to L.A. and worked at the Mutual Film Company and Baltimore-Spring Creek Productions, where I had a wonderful mentor in Paula Weinstein. Before Netflix, I worked at an e-commerce startup you may remember called Kozmo.com. Through that, I met Ted Sarandos, and then I joined Netflix in 2002 when we were a DVD-by-mail subscription service. From the very beginning we had the ambition to be a global entertainment company, and it’s been incredible to see that now realized all around the world.

Lexine Wong, Senior EVP, Worldwide Marketing, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment: My entire career in entertainment has been at Sony, so I’ve basically grown along with the industry from disc to digital. Prior to entertainment I had a short stint in advertising in New York. That fast-paced account management position gave me a taste of marketing brands and led me to the ever-changing world of home entertainment. I’ve enjoyed every minute of the journey — from rolling out new formats and platforms around the world, to reimagining marketing tactics, to developing and leading a team of smart, driven, creative and enthusiastic individuals. In my 20-plus years at Sony I have been continually confronted with new and different business challenges and am constantly learning. For example, when I was given the opportunity to begin supporting the television distribution business last year, I found that it was primarily a B2B marketing model. By taking a chapter from our home entertainment consumer-first marketing approach and using audience data and insights from our strategy team, we have been able to more effectively drive awareness and ratings and support our commercial teams and distribution partners.

 

If you had to pick one career highlight, what would it be?

Aubrey: The launch of HBO Max and the opportunity to build a streaming platform from scratch within a company that has a tremendous legacy.

Kelly Campbell, President, Hulu:  Joining the team at Hulu — and now Disney — has been the biggest highlight of my career.  Having the opportunity to work with so many brilliant, creative people who are genuinely passionate about having a positive impact on our viewers and communities has been life-changing, and I’m incredibly grateful for that. I firmly believe that this is the most exciting place to be in this industry right now.

Agnes Chu, SVP, Content, Disney+: In my 13 years at Disney, I’ve been incredibly blessed to have had two epic professional adventures with teams that have transformed our company in significant ways. During my time as [former CEO] Bob Iger’s chief of staff, the company was building Shanghai Disney Resort.  My grandparents are from Shanghai, so it was especially meaningful to be part of planning its grand opening. It was such a gift to have watched Imagineers transform farm land into a truly fantastical and breathtaking park with thousands of fans lining up on opening day. And, of course, the launch of Disney+. This team really knows no bounds in terms of their creativity, inventiveness and tirelessness. So many talented people from across the Walt Disney Company collaborated to make the launch a success. It’s awe-inspiring and gratifying to wake up every day and get to work with some of the most gifted storytellers in the world.

Downing: Being recruited and hired to work at PBS as a vice president, particularly when I did not have a lot of experience in what I was being tasked to do. But the woman who recruited me had been my boss at Discovery and knew my track record. The trust that she placed in me to get the job done set me on the path to my current role at PBSd.

Holland: Sharing “Orange Is the New Black” with the world over its seven seasons was an unforgettable experience.

Dametra Johnson-Marletti, GM, Digital Store Category Management, Microsoft Corp.: I consider myself to have been extremely blessed in my career. I have had many great experiences over the years. As I look back over my entire career, I have to say landing at the company where I have spent two-thirds of my career to date, has not only been a huge highlight, but being at Microsoft has positioned me to realize many great benefits, highlights and unique experiences several times over. Whether landing in my current role focused on digital entertainment and content, or working with our partners across the industry or traveling the different parts of the world to help drive impact for the company, the decision to come to Microsoft has been the foundational highlight that has led to so many others.

Amy Jo Smith, President and CEO, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group: My most memorable career stop was my brief tenure at the White House. One of my duties was to take VIP guests of the Oval Office around the White House. I had the great opportunity to meet the children and grandchildren of Presidents Eisenhower, Ford and Carter.  One of my most interesting walks around the White House was with Ambassador Shirley Temple Black, who had many fantastic stories to share during both her stints as ambassador.

 

What was the toughest decision you’ve ever made?

Aubrey: To leave the security of being a practicing attorney to start my career as a producer.

Chu: This job is full of tough decisions.  My advice on this is to confront them with heart and strength of conviction, and be open-minded and fair.

Downing: The first time I was faced with the challenge of having to let go of team members, some of whom were more senior than me. It was the right decision for the business, and a learning curve in terms of making the decision and implementing the plan. It is never easy to do, but I think the first time is by far the hardest.

Johnson-Marletti: I think issues and decisions related to people are by far some of the most difficult decisions that leaders must contend with at work. Decisions that have involved removing people from their positions are always challenging. As a leader you balance being a steward of the company, a coach for your team, and an attractor and developer of talent — yet for any number of reasons, sometimes a change is required. As a leader you own that, implement it with empathy and grace, with the understanding that you are dealing with a person’s life and livelihood. All of these factors make such decisions extremely challenging.

 

Women in Home Entertainment: Navigating the Channels of Change

The gender equality gap continues to make headlines, and with good reason: Nearly a century after the original Equal Rights Amendment was first introduced in Congress, there is still a great divide in both pay and leadership positions between men and women.

In a study released last month by Equal Measures 2030, a U.K.-based NGO that collects data on gender equality with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private-sector organizations, the United States comes in at No. 28 on their gender index, which purports to take into account such factors as equal representation in powerful positions and gender pay gaps. And a World Economic Forum report concludes that even the best countries for working women don’t pay them fairly.

Hollywood continues to get its fair share of knocks. A recent Forbes report notes that the 10 highest-paid actresses in 2018 earned less than 30 cents for every dollar brought in by the top 10 male actors.

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For the second year, Media Play News is saluting the top women in home entertainment, with a special focus on the 10 “captains” who are driving the business — as selected by a panel of studio executives, key retailers, journalists and other industry leaders.

Our “captains” span a broad range of the home entertainment spectrum. We have several executives who focused on all forms of transactional VOD, a couple who are just involved with the physical disc, and one whose sole focus is streaming. And then there’s Andrea Downing, from PBS Distribution, who oversees the company’s entire home entertainment slate, from streaming to TVOD and disc.

Here’s what they have to say …

ANDREA DOWNING

CO-PRESIDENT, PBS DISTRIBUTION
Downing co-leads all facets of distribution worldwide. Her purview includes OTT channels, SVOD, transactional and physical goods, theatrical, international sales, and three direct-to-consumer premium services — PBS Masterpiece, PBS KIDS and PBS Living. Downing joined PBS in 2001. Education: B.A., Business, Michigan State University.

What do you do? I co-lead PBS Distribution, the leading for-profit media distributor for the public television community. We have a broad portfolio of businesses including three premium OTT channels, SVOD, transactional and physical goods, theatrical and international.

What satisfies you the most about your job? The people that I get to work with every day. They are smart, passionate about our mission, and instrumental to the success of our business.

What challenges you? Growing the business in a continuously changing media environment in the context of the larger public media system and its mission.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it? My first job after college was on a shipping dock at a picture frame factory. I learned that hard work gets recognized and new opportunities will present themselves if you’re open and leaning into your work.

How did you get where you are? It’s been a winding path from Chicago to Washington, D.C., but hard work and over-delivering have led me to where I am today.

Did you have a mentor along the way? Are you mentoring anyone? I’ve had some fantastic bosses and colleagues who I have learned from, and I’m currently participating in DEG’s Canon Club’s 4 Cups of Coffee program as a mentor. The most beneficial things I learned from others is to lead in a way that helps others excel and demonstrate that I’m willing to work as hard as I’m asking others to.

What’s the most memorable moment of your career? Jan. 1, 2009, when we officially formed PBS Distribution as a separate LLC with the goal of increasing revenue for video distribution for public television. It was such an exciting moment to put a stake in the ground and go after our vision.

How do we further the workplace goal of diversity and inclusion? We have a deliberate and considered approach to recruiting a diverse talent pool when we’re hiring for a new position. And we provide development and promotion opportunities to ensure that we have a broad range of voices across the organization and at our leadership level.

What advice do you have for anyone seeking a career in entertainment? There are many career paths in entertainment and all of them will require you to embrace change. No matter what path you’re on, work hard and deliver results!

If you could go back in time, who would you most like to have lunch with — and why? I would have lunch with Sarah Breedlove Walker, the first American woman to become a self-made millionaire. The first in her family to be born free, she was orphaned at age 7, widowed by 20, and overcame incredible sexism and racism to build an empire and become a generous philanthropist.

How do you spend your free time? Outside of spending time with my family, I enjoy pretty much anything physical! I like a variety of activities from biking and running to boot camp and paddle boarding, to my current favorite, solid core.

KATHLEEN GALLAGHER

EVP AND MANAGING DIRECTOR — NORTH AMERICA, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Gallagher leads UPHE’s physical home entertainment business, including sales, operations, finance, customer marketing and distribution partnerships across the United States and Canada. She assumed her present position in March 2018, after serving as SVP of sales, customer marketing and category management for UPHE’s U.S. physical sellthrough and rental businesses. She started at Universal in 2000 as assistant category manager and served in various sales, category management and customer marketing positions. Gallagher began her career in 1999 at Sony Pictures Entertainment (at the time, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment).

What do you do? I lead UPHE’s North American physical home entertainment business, which encompasses a team of highly talented, passionate and inspiring specialists across sales, operations, finance, customer marketing and distribution partnerships.

What challenges you? Our industry as we know it continues to evolve markedly along with our consumers. To keep our category dynamic and thriving, we must keep pace with this evolution and continually identify ways to innovate in step with our retail and distribution partners and vendors.

How do we further the workplace goal of diversity and inclusion? Working for such a highly inclusive company as Universal puts me in an exceptional position to contribute to an extraordinary workplace culture based solely on talent and merit as well as to serve effectively as a steward of diversity and inclusion across the ranks of UPHE.

What advice do you have for anyone seeking a career in entertainment? While the entertainment industry is a unique business, I believe that being successful in any career emanates from within each of us. Aspire to be an expert in your field — be passionate, innovative and collaborative, and conquer your missteps. Know your industry, your business, your products and your competition — challenge yourself every day and, more importantly, have fun.

KARIN GILFORD

GM, MOVIES ANYWHERE
Gilford oversees all day-to-day operations of Movies Anywhere, the cloud-based entertainment service that brings the film libraries of five studios together in a virtual one-stop movie-watching shop. Gilford and her team brought the website and apps to market in October 2017. She manages product design, product development, engineering and strategic planning. Education: M.B.A., University of Southern California; B.S., Business Administration, California State University at Northridge

What do you do? I run Movies Anywhere, an app that makes owning, collecting and watching movies easier.

What satisfies you the most about your job? Working with my team. I love solving problems, developing ideas, and launching product features together.

What challenges you? The innovator’s dilemma. It always comes into play in digital media at a traditional media company. Everyone can see the disruption happening but it is scary to be the one to get ahead of it by risking a current business model. That is why I admire Bob Iger and the big moves he has made to modernize Disney.

How did you get where you are? By leading with nice, doing what I say I will do, and getting stuff done. Also by being true to myself and what makes me happy.

Did you have a mentor along the way? Are you mentoring anyone? I always look at my most recent leadership as potential mentors — they see you at your current career stage and you can learn so much by watching them in relatable situations. I have been very lucky in that regard, especially at Disney, where I have had leaders including Anne Sweeney, Paul Lee and Janice Marinelli as mentors. I don’t have a mentee assigned to me at the moment, but I always try to nurture talent when I see it, especially women who are really starting to come into their power in the workplace. I always look for ways to share what I have learned.

What’s the most memorable moment of your career? When I landed my first job out of business school. I was determined to work in entertainment, in the emerging digital space (it was 2000!), on the west side of L.A., and I had to be able to wear jeans to work. At that time, everyone thought I was crazy. But I landed my dream job at a music start-up in Santa Monica and never looked back. I have built my career over the past 19 years from that moment.

How do we further the workplace goal of diversity and inclusion? By making sure there are more women at the top, right now. I believe that things are changing and will fundamentally change with Gen Z. They don’t seem to have the same hangups about race, gender or sexuality that were passed down to us. They just seem comfortable with themselves and each other. In the meantime, women at the top is the only solution right now. I believe women don’t have time to overthink who we want to “be around” at work beyond who is going to meet us at our level, and efficiently kick ass to accomplish our goals.

What advice do you have for anyone seeking a career in entertainment? Work hard, and be nice to people. This is a relationship-driven business and a town where people work very hard to get their vision realized. It is a work-hard, play-hard culture where no one has time for slackers. You should absolutely crush it at work, but always treat people with respect and find balance between your work, outside passions and family.

If you could go back in time, who would you most like to have lunch with — and why? My old boss/mentor, Dave Goldberg. He passed away unexpectedly and much too soon. I always knew how much I relied on him. Even if we didn’t talk all the time, I knew he was there. I would do anything to have one more lunch with him, especially to tell him my son was going to NYU this fall. I had both of my kids while I worked for him and credit my success as a working mom to his guidance. I remember telling him that when my son got into college, I would feel like I made it.

How do you spend your free time? I exercise almost every day. I never pass up a chance to travel. And I am constantly plotting and planning ways to spend more time with my amazing group of girlfriends.

HILARY HOFFMAN

EVP, GLOBAL MARKETING, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Hoffman oversees strategic marketing and business strategy for UPHE and its distributed lines worldwide across new-release, catalog and TV properties for both physical and digital, focusing on the complete product lifecycle. Her responsibilities encompass defining go-to-market strategies and overall approach for consumer engagement, including developing and leveraging new platforms and technologies, as well as direct-to-consumer initiatives to drive profitable growth across all formats. Education: B.A., Media Arts and Business, University of Arizona.

What do you do? I work with an amazing group of talented people who are committed to finding creative ways to drive consumer engagement around the world.

What satisfies you the most about your job? I am inspired by the people I work with every day. I work in an amazing business with an incredible group of people who are passionate, inspiring and creative.

What challenges you? The challenges are obvious; the fun comes from finding creative solutions to those challenges — solutions that excite consumers and drive an emotional connection to the movies they love.

How do we further the workplace goal of diversity and inclusion? I consider myself very fortunate to work for a company like Universal where an executive’s measure of talent, success and accomplishment is never viewed through a gender-specific lens.

CINDY HOLLAND

VP, ORIGINAL CONTENT, NETFLIX
Holland is a 16-year Netflix veteran responsible for acquiring and launching original series. She was named to the 2018 Time 100 list of the most influential people, and according to the magazine, “in less than a decade, Cindy has helped orchestrate one of the biggest entertainment revolutions since the invention of the television.” Education: B.A., Political Science with Honors, Stanford University.

What do you do? I oversee English-language scripted series, and nonfiction content of all languages, for Netflix, the world’s leading internet entertainment service with more than 151 million memberships in over 190 countries.

What satisfies you the most about your job? It has been very satisfying to see our membership grow from less than 1 million DVD-by-mail members to more than 151 million streaming members globally, and I truly enjoy supporting artists as they create memorable programming that our members love.

What challenges you? I am challenged every day with how to scale our teams and the work they do as our business grows, while still maintaining an intimate, creative, and supportive environment for both our employees and artists.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it? My first job in entertainment was reading pre-publication book manuscripts and evaluating them for purposes of movie adaptation. I learned how to determine what stories can translate well from page to screen.

How did you get where you are? By following my interests, and having healthy doses of discipline and focus.

Did you have a mentor along the way? Are you mentoring anyone? I had several mentors, but the producer Paula Weinstein helped me realize that I had the skills to succeed, and she instilled in me confidence in my own ideas. I hope that I am a mentor for those I work closely with; in addition, I have a Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles Women in Entertainment mentee, a program I highly recommend.

What’s the most memorable moment of your career? I hope it hasn’t happened yet! But the most recent was our final sendoff of “Orange Is the New Black,” which included cast from all seasons, and hundreds of true #OrangeForever fans at an event in New York City.

How do we further the workplace goal of diversity and inclusion? We have to dedicate ourselves to constant improvement — in hiring inclusively across all aspects of what we do and supporting their success, in commissioning stories which give voice to the historically underrepresented, and in celebrating their achievements.

What advice do you have for anyone seeking a career in entertainment? Follow what interests you and pursue it relentlessly (while knowing it is OK if those interests evolve), have confidence in yourself and your ideas, and don’t give up.

If you could go back in time, who would you most like to have lunch with — and why? Eleanor Roosevelt — such a fascinating and underestimated historical figure.

How do you spend your free time? I usually spend the little free time I have either riding my bicycle up a hill, spending time with my family and pets, and/or watching sports.

JULIA HOWE

HEAD OF MARKETING, 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT, DISNEY DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER & INTERNATIONAL
Howe is responsible for the go-to-market and consumer engagement strategies for 20th Century Fox’s new-release, catalog and TV businesses. Howe previously was co-head of marketing for Fox prior to its acquisition by Disney; before that, she worked for Fox in the United Kingdom and France, and for Universal Pictures in the United Kingdom. She also held positions at The Associated Press and Branded, a London brand and communications consultancy. Education: B.S. (Honors), International Business and Modern Languages, Aston University, U.K.

What do you do? I oversee global marketing for home entertainment. I am responsible for our go-to-market strategy, P&L and campaign execution for all new-release movies, TV shows and our library business.

What challenges you? Managing a team through industry disruption and the uncertainty of the Disney/Fox merger. The deal was announced in December 2017 and so for the past 18 months, the focus has been on keeping our team spirit and ensuring that we build an environment where people still want to turn up and do their best work every day for our production and distribution partners.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it? My first job was working for a company called Sundancer, which managed the rights for “Tintin.” The business had a small network of shops throughout the world, produced merchandise and licensed the IP to third parties. I learned the importance of brand values and brand integrity and an ability to turn my hand to everything from marketing to accounting to installing a new point-of-sale system in all our retail stores.

How did you get where you are? By not taking a fully traditional career path and being prepared to mix things up and put myself out of my comfort zone. I have switched from client side to agency, from B2C to B2B and back and enjoyed every experience.

Did you have a mentor along the way? Are you mentoring anyone? Mary Daily (president of marketing and distribution at Paramount) recruited me into 20th Century Fox in London in 1996 and got me started in this amazing business. Since then I have been lucky enough to work for Mary another two times, most recently here in L.A. at Fox. She has been an amazing mentor and advocate. I have been lucky enough to mentor some really bright executives as part of Fox’s mentoring scheme, which is really rewarding.

What’s the most memorable moment of your career? The day we released the #deadpole TV spot for the first Deadpool movie. The Internet and fans went wild. It was a unique spot, directed by Tim Miller, starring Ryan Reynolds that truly made the Blu-ray Disc the star of the spot like we’d never seen before in a home entertainment campaign.

How do we further the workplace goal of diversity and inclusion? Although every individual recruiting at every level in an organization can make diversity and inclusion a priority, in big corporations it is absolutely critical that diversity and inclusion starts at the top and is properly embedded in the values of the organization. True commitment from the CEO/chairman down has to be in place.

What advice do you have for anyone seeking a career in entertainment? Be prepared to work hard and go the extra mile. It is very competitive and employers can afford to take only the best. Stay on top of industry changes and keep your skills relevant. Keep working your network as it is a small world.

How do you spend your free time? I dabble in a lot of sports in an amateur fashion! I am a member of the Fox triathlon team and so we have a fun group that is always up for a bike ride or run and sometimes a sea swim! I try to play tennis a couple of times a week. In winter I am obsessed by skiing and finding powder snow!

KIM OVERALL

EVP, CONSUMER INSIGHTS AND INNOVATION, SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Overall is responsible for identifying and developing the studio’s capabilities to become a more consumer-centric, data-driven organization. Her group utilizes data analytics and consumer insights, enabling SPHE and SPTD to make better-informed decisions to satisfy consumer demand for content. Prior to her current position, Overall was SVP of SPHE’s United Kingdom, Northern Europe and EMEA partnerships. She joined SPHE in 2008 as the managing director for Australia and New Zealand.

What do you do? I seek to understand consumer, audience and viewer content behavior, to enable us to map content to where audiences are, based on what is relevant to them.

What satisfies you the most about your job? There are so many new and different ways to deeply understand what drives consumer and audience engagement with content. Exploring and discovering how they enable us to target the right person at the right time with the right offer is my current obsession, and I love it!

What challenges you? Finding new ways to solve for the ever-changing landscape we operate in.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it? I worked in a gas station, pumping gas in New Zealand when I was 13, and it opened my eyes to how many different people from different walks of life are all around you!

How did you get where you are? Curiosity and a desire to learn, wherever it took me in the world!

What’s the most memorable moment of your career? There are so many moments that were in equal parts scary and rewarding — every time I packed up and moved to a new job in a new country I never quite knew what to expect, but each adventure opened my eyes to things that I needed to learn and understand.

How do we further the workplace goal of diversity and inclusion? Genuinely understand who is sitting at the table and how their perspective will challenge what we think we know, and actively seek out their opinion. No one person can solve for the big challenges around us, but embracing our different perspectives will get us closer to figuring it out.

What advice do you have for anyone seeking a career in entertainment? Go for it! Figure out how your talents and super powers connect with, and enhance, the industry.

JESSICA SCHELL

EVP AND GM, FILM, WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
Schell has global responsibility for all operations related to the physical and digital sales, marketing, distribution, finance and administrative functions of the studio’s home entertainment releases, including new theatrical titles and catalog films. She also identifies and engages new technology marketing opportunities and platforms. Prior to joining Warner, Schell spent nine years at NBC Universal, most recently as EVP of worldwide new media and digital entertainment for Universal Pictures. Education: M.B.A., Harvard Business School; B.A., American History and Literature, Harvard College.

What do you do? I work with a fantastic team of experts in consumer and trade marketing, promotions, publicity, sales, distribution, manufacturing, pricing, analytics, data, media and content creation. My job as GM is to leverage all of their skills to maximize WB films’ success in home markets while navigating a rapidly shifting competitive and technical environment.

What satisfies you the most about your job? The balance of business analytics and creative. I also love managing a team and having the opportunity to contribute to building a positive culture.

What challenges you? The distribution landscape has undergone a dramatic change, which requires not only continuous strategic calibration in how we manage our content in terms of windows, pricing, deals and how we use our marketing dollars, but also that we fundamentally up our game in serving consumers. That means how we think about fulfilling the needs of fan communities, creating extensions and ancillary products with our IP, tailoring marketing messages and content experiences to make them more meaningful to audiences.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it? After college I joined Disney’s Strategic Planning group, which meant that as a 21-year-old I entered a three-year analyst program in an advisory group to the CEO of Disney. I worked with many different business units and operational functions to assess major strategic decisions, like starting new digital cable networks. It was intense and stressful and I both loved it and was glad when it was time to go back to school! I had the opportunity as a very junior employee to work with incredible senior executives who had powerful visions of where they wanted to take the businesses they ran, and my job was to gather facts and comps and run analysis and try to quantify those visions into business plans and hard numbers. Which of course isn’t always feasible, but it grounded me in a philosophy of truth seeking: building up a point of view based on discovery and analysis. And I saw the power of being able to articulately defend a viewpoint by explaining how you came to your conclusions.

How did you get where you are? It certainly hasn’t been a linear path, but there have been underlying common themes throughout. I’ve always been interested in how changes in technology open up opportunities for new types of content and creative business models.

Did you have a mentor along the way? Are you mentoring anyone? Mentorship is critical. Adam Grant articulates it so well in his book Give and Take. It’s in all of our best interest to be and to foster a workplace of “Givers”— people who actively try to help others succeed without directly thinking about what’s in it for themselves. Equally critical, he says, is to be smart and efficient about it. It’s not the quantity of the time you put in but the impact of your actions. Making a critical introduction can take five minutes but be life changing for someone. There have been so many people who have mentored me, in big ways and small. They’ve developed organically, and they have fallen into two categories. First, the people I have worked for or with who have gone the extra mile to bring out potential they saw in me or just given me good advice. That’s more of a one-way mentorship that I try to give back through being there as a sounding board for and supporter of my current and former teams or younger people I’ve been impressed with when our paths have crossed professionally. And then there is what I’d call mutual mentorship — the friends who have grown up beside me in their careers. From my first officemate at Disney to business school classmates to fellow VPs at Allen & Co … we’ve been there for each other over the years as our careers go through ups and downs, providing emotional or practical advice and referring headhunter calls!

How do we further the workplace goal of diversity and inclusion? Pushing to always make sure we are considering diverse candidates for every role. Scrutinizing existing teams to find diverse candidates who can take on stretch roles and providing them with support and coaching to make the leap to the next level.

What advice do you have for anyone seeking a career in entertainment? There is such a diversity of roles, so try to get some clarity around what function appeals to you and fits your skills and go after it. If you want to be a creative, don’t take a job in film finance. The business and creative sides converge more the more senior you get, but you have to have some passion for the journey along the way. And then this may seem contradictory, but you have to get your foot in the door however you can and take it from there. It’s a tough industry to switch into later in your career, because who doesn’t want to be in the entertainment industry?

If you could go back in time, who would you most like to have lunch with — and why? What I’d give for an hour over a sandwich with my 20-year-old self, knowing what I know now. I could give that young woman some pretty great advice.

How do you spend your free time? Focusing on family, health and friendships. Or whatever my very opinionated 3-year-old daughter tells me we’re doing.

AMY JO SMITH

PRESIDENT AND CEO, DEG: THE DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
Smith heads the leading trade group for the home entertainment industry. The DEG promotes entertainment platforms, products and distribution channels that support the movie, television, music, consumer electronics and IT industries. A former White House communications advisor, Smith since 1997 has led the industry-funded organization through the industry’s wholesale evolution from videocassettes to DVDs, Blu-ray Discs and today’s digital age. Education: B.A., Communications, University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School of Communications.

What do you do? The DEG serves as the industry’s leading advocate to grow the digital media marketplace focusing on bringing movies and television programming to consumers at home and on the go. We provide forums for our members to get valuable information to help them make informed business decisions. We are also committed to supporting products in market with an aim of increasing consumer awareness and adoption as well as improving the consumer experience by creating efficiencies in the digital supply chain.

What satisfies you the most about your job? Working with smart people and being part of market transitions that affect how we all enjoy content.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it? I worked on political campaigns and quickly learned that everyone must jump in to do any task. You can learn just from being in the room and absorbing what is going on.

Did you have a mentor along the way? Are you mentoring anyone? Many of the DEG board members have mentored me. I’m particularly grateful for Bob Chapek, Mike Dunn, Steve Einhorn and Ron Sanders, who were always generous with their time and honest with me about how I could make the DEG more meaningful for the industry. That’s why we launched the Canon Club — because we recognize the importance of mentorship and would like to broaden the opportunities for our members.

What’s the most memorable moment of your career? Working in the White House and being in the center of the free world.

How do we further the workplace goal of diversity and inclusion? While we need to hire the right, qualified people for the job, we also should be sensitive about building a balanced team.

If you could go back in time, who would you most like to have lunch with — and why? I’d love the chance to sit with Jack Welch and discuss his management style and career highlights.

How do you spend your free time? I enjoy playing board games, betting on football games, reading biographies, playing pickleball and listening to podcasts on crime.

LEXINE WONG

SENIOR EVP, WORLDWIDE MARKETING, HOME ENTERTAINMENT, SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT
Wong leads Sony Pictures Television’s global home entertainment marketing team, charged with delivering marketing campaigns across a wide range of product from Sony Pictures Entertainment’s studio labels, spurring consumer engagement and driving transactions throughout the product lifecycle. Specific areas of oversight include consumer and brand strategy, creative advertising, media and digital, PR and strategic partnerships, content development for digital/physical product, and new product development.

What do you do? I focus on finding innovative ways to use data-driven strategies to create targeted, shareable content that will help consumers engage with our films and television properties in meaningful ways.

What satisfies you the most about your job? The fact that nothing stays the same! A constantly changing, dynamic marketplace provides challenges as well as opportunities.

What was your first job and what did you learn from it? My first career was in advertising, and getting things done quickly was what scored brownie points. The Group Director didn’t know my name, but she used to say, “Give it to the fast one,” which caused my account supervisor to give me the nickname “Cheetah.” It gave me a chance to work on a lot of interesting, high-profile projects.

How did you get where you are? By being curious and jumping in wherever I could. Back in the day, you didn’t have to “stay in a lane.” Being multi-faceted in all areas of the business allows you to better connect the dots and equips you with skills to be nimble in the face of challenges and changes.

Did you have a mentor along the way? Are you mentoring anyone? I have been fortunate to have many mentors over the course my career, working hard to foster a positive relationship with them and learn as much as I could. Because of those experiences, I’ve made it a priority to mentor as many others along the way. It’s always incredibly rewarding to see people grow in their careers and become effective leaders.

What advice do you have for anyone seeking a career in entertainment? When you are first starting out, try to meet as many people who will give you the time of day. Informational meetings often lead to job interviews. Do your homework and always be prepared to ask questions. Everyone loves to give advice!

If you could go back in time, who would you most like to have lunch with — and why? My grandmother on my mother’s side, who I never had the chance to meet. She was from Hiroshima, Japan, came to the U.S. and had seven children, was put into an internment camp during World War II and then took her whole family back to Hiroshima, where she stayed until she passed away at a relatively young age. Hearing the stories of her perseverance has always been an inspiration to me, so I’d love the chance to hear all her stories.

How do you spend your free time? Aside from my family and my kid’s crazy sports schedules, I recently made a resolution to do something fun and new as often as possible, whether it’s learning the cha cha cha, finding a new place to hike, going to a play or listening to live music. It’s all about experiences!

Click here for the 2019 list of Women in Home Entertainment

Women in Home Entertainment 2019

Click Here for profiles and a Q&A with the 2019 Captains of the Industry:

ANDREA DOWNING — Co-President, PBS Distribution
KATHLEEN GALLAGHER — EVP and Managing Director, North America, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
KARIN GILFORD — GM, Movies Anywhere
HILARY HOFFMAN — EVP, Global Marketing, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
CINDY HOLLAND — VP, Original Content, Netflix
JULIA HOWE — Head of Marketing, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International
KIM OVERALL — EVP, Consumer Insights and Innovation, Sony Pictures Entertainment
JESSICA SCHELL — EVP and GM, Film, Warner Bros. Entertainment Group
AMY JO SMITH — President and CEO, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
LEXINE WONG — Senior EVP, Worldwide Marketing, Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment

The captains can’t do it alone.

They need smart, savvy and strategic teams who work with them. And then there are other women leaders in the home entertainment space at independent content distributors, digital retailers, streaming services and other companies who also are leaving their mark on this industry — and helping further its continuous evolution.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Here’s a look at the rest of the Women in Home Entertainment, Class of 2019 …

The Walt Disney Co.

ALISA BOWEN
SVP, OPERATIONS, DISNEY STREAMING SERVICES
Bowen is responsible for ensuring operational effectiveness for The Walt Disney Co.’s direct-to-consumer video streaming businesses, including Disney+ and ESPN+. As part of her oversight responsibilities, Bowen is responsible for overall program management, including the rollout of Disney+ across international markets, identification and implementation of Disney+ internal synergy opportunities, and leading global customer support for ESPN+ and Disney+.

APRIL CARRETTA
SVP, GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS AND PARTNERSHIPS, WORLDWIDE, 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Carretta is a senior leader on Fox’s integrated marketing communications team, helping to drive global communications and secure critical partnerships with major brands across corporate and consumer facing initiatives for all 20th Century Fox title releases and next-generation technologies. She is responsible for the strategic execution of more than 200 title campaigns a year from Fox’s television and film portfolio. She also leads corporate communications and her team is charged with raising awareness of Fox’s leadership, innovation and next-generation technology initiatives.

JENNIFER CHAI
SVP, WORLDWIDE BRAND MARKETING, 20TH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Chai leads worldwide brand marketing strategy for the entire Fox new-release theatrical slate and third-party titles. She is responsible for the go-to-market and consumer engagement strategy for both the physical and digital business. She is involved with the cross-studio Movies Anywhere app from a Fox studio perspective, as well as other digital strategic initiatives.

AGNES CHU
SVP, CONTENT, DISNEY+
Chu is responsible for identifying and developing series, feature films, short-form content and other high-quality entertainment formats for the service. Reporting to Ricky Strauss, president of content and marketing for the service, Chu leads the Disney+ Originals teams for scripted, unscripted and content operations, partnering closely with Disney-owned internal content creators, including The Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.

LAURA EVANS
SVP, DATA SCIENCE AND ANALYTICS, DISNEY STREAMING SERVICES
Evans is responsible for overseeing analytics, data science and insight capabilities for the company’s portfolio of direct-to-consumer services, including ESPN+ and the upcoming Disney+ streaming service.

LINDSEY GREEN
SVP AND GSM, PAY-TV AND DIGITAL SALES, DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER & INTERNATIONAL
Green negotiates in-home distribution agreements across a wide array of media platforms and businesses including electronic home video, video-on-demand, pay-television and subscription video-on-demand. She pursues key licensing agreements for the studio’s films with North American MVPDs and digital retailers including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Comcast XFinity, AT&T, Vudu and Google Play. Green and her team also secure digital licensing opportunities for the company’s television assets, with deals currently in place with iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV and PlayStation, among many others. In addition, Green oversees the company’s global airline distribution business, and she is heavily involved in the negotiations for Movies Anywhere among its digital retail partners.

KAREN HOBSON
SVP, COMMUNICATIONS, DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER & INTERNATIONAL
Hobson oversees global communications and public affairs strategies across the Disney Direct-to-Consumer segment, including the company’s direct-to-consumer streaming businesses: ESPN+ and the upcoming Disney+ service; content sales operations — including global distribution of film and TV content on DVD, digital, Disney+, Hulu and other third-party platforms; and Movies Anywhere. She also oversees communications strategies for Disney’s international media operations stretching from Europe to Asia to Latin America, as well as the company’s ad sales and ad technology segments.

TEHMINA JAFFER
SVP, BUSINESS AFFAIRS, DISNEY+
Jaffer leads all aspects of business affairs strategy, policy and procedure for the Disney+ content and marketing team. She oversees negotiation of development, production and talent deals, as well as rights and acquisitions deals. She also collaborates with content groups across the Walt Disney Co. that are developing and producing original content exclusively for the service — including the Walt Disney Studios, Walt Disney Television, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm — as well as external third-party production entities.

LISA AYALA-WILLIAMS — VP, Product, Planning And Cross Brand Strategy
CHERYLYN CARR — Assistant General Counsel
CYNDI CRUZ — VP, Sales Planning
LORI COHEN-ELIAS — VP, Marketing Strategy
ELIZABETH DUKE — Assistant Chief Counsel
ANNA FROST — VP, Digital Marketing
JAIME GORMAN — VP, Creative Development
DEBBIE HAAG — VP, Worldwide Brand Marketing, 20th Century Fox
CHRISTINE HUPALO — VP, Marketing, 20th Century Fox
SUMMER IMAI — VP, Deal Management
SUZANNE KAMENIR — VP, Global Creative Marketing, 20th Century Fox
SUSAN KIGAWA — Assistant Chief Counsel
JANE KIM — VP, Business Development
MICHELLE LEVISOHN — VP, Creative Development, 20th Century Fox
JENNIFER LOURIE — VP, Product Management
MOLLY MADDEN — VP, Worldwide Sales, 20th Century Fox
HEATHER OLSON — VP, Digital Global Accounts, 20th Century Fox
MARLEINE PACILIO — VP, Global Communications, 20th Century Fox
JENNIFER QUAN — VP, Planning and Retail Strategy, 20th Century Fox
KAVITA SMITH — VP, Worldwide Marketing Communications, 20th Century Fox

Paramount Pictures

SYRINTHIA STUDER
EVP, WORLDWIDE ACQUISITIONS, PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Studer is in charge of acquiring films for theatrical release as well as for worldwide distribution across multiple platforms. Among her acquisitions are Book Club, starring Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Mary Steenburgen and Candice Bergen. Studer previously held the position of SVP of marketing and acquisitions for Paramount Pictures’ worldwide home media and TV licensing divisions, where she launched and managed the studio’s efforts focused on ancillary-driven acquisitions, overseeing the negotiation and acquisition of domestic and international films. She was responsible for a multi-picture relationship with IFC Films.

MICHELE BELL
SVP, WORLDWIDE CREATIVE SERVICES, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Bell is responsible for all of the division’s creative advertising materials, including all packaging, menu design and print, broadcast, VOD and online advertising. She previously served as VP of creative services home entertainment for Universal Studios, overseeing and managing creative advertising objectives for the feature, catalog, TV and specialty brand groups.

BRENDA CICCONE
SVP, WORLDWIDE PUBLICITY AND COMMUNICATIONS, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND TV LICENSING
Ciccone oversees all publicity and corporate communications for the home entertainment and TV licensing divisions on a global basis. She is responsible for the public relations campaigns on behalf of all of the studio’s home entertainment labels and distribution partners, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Television, Paramount Players, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and CBS. Ciccone additionally manages domestic and international trade show activity at markets including MIPCOM, ATF and NATPE.

MELINDA FROELICH
SVP, INTERNATIONAL MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Froelich handles international marketing, advertising, public relations, promotions and release strategy for all transactional windows post theatrical. She also oversees global marketing for all worldwide television partners. Froelich joined the studio in 2005, having previously worked at The Walt Disney Co. for eight years.

HILARIE HILDEBRANDT
SVP, CUSTOMER MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Hildebrandt manages customer marketing for both physical and digital retail accounts with a focus on aligning strategic initiatives across new-release, catalog and television product. Her responsibilities include executing consumer-focused programs with each retail client to maximize sales and drive growth formats, including 4K, VOD and electronic sellthrough.

DINA MAROVICH
SVP, WORLDWIDE MEDIA AND INTERACTIVE MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Marovich oversees all media planning and buying for the division. She joined Paramount in 2006 as VP of media for Paramount Home Entertainment. She previously served as the head of the Paramount Home Entertainment account at MEC, where she was responsible for all advertising on behalf of the division.

NANCY POPE
SVP, HUMAN RESOURCES, PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Pope is responsible for supporting the home entertainment, theatrical marketing and TV licensing divisions. Early in her career she worked for AT&T as both an operations manager and HR professional. Upon earning her master’s in industrial psychology, Pope left AT&T and joined Nestle USA, where she became the director of training and development. In 1999 she joined EMI Music North America to become the VP of human resources. She joined Paramount in 2007.

ALANNA POWERS
SVP, BRAND MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Powers leads Paramount’s film catalog business globally across digital and physical distribution channels, developing marketing and distribution strategies that align with cross-divisional partners to maximize the studio’s full portfolio of titles. Prior to joining Paramount, Powers held senior marketing positions at Redbox and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment after starting her career at FCB.

AUBREY THOMASON
SVP, BUSINESS AFFAIRS AND LEGAL, PARAMOUNT PICTURES
Thomason primarily focuses on acquisitions for distribution through home entertainment channels, theatrical services agreements for acquisitions, and domestic video sublicensing matters. Prior to joining Paramount, Thomason was an associate at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, where she primarily worked on corporate finance and real estate transactions, but also served as outside counsel to Paramount Pictures between 2003 and 2005.

ROZITA TOLOUEY
SVP, WORLDWIDE BRAND MARKETING, PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Leveraging more than 20 years of experience in entertainment marketing, Tolouey is responsible for driving the home entertainment division’s marketing strategies across the new release and acquisitions business globally for both physical and digital markets. Prior to joining Paramount, Tolouey held marketing positions with video game developer Konami Digital Entertainment and with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

LEDA CHANG — VP, Interactive Marketing and Public Relations, PHE
JACQUELINE GUSTAFSON — VP, Home Media Content, PHE
ANNE MASUDA — VP, Digital Distribution (U.K.), PHE
MICHELE RUMAIN — VP, Advertising (Media), PHE
JULIA SALTER — VP, Digital Distribution (AU), PHE
PAMELA SIVULA — VP, Financial Planning, PHE
MICHELLE VEN DANGE — VP, International Marketing, PHE

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

JENNIFER ANDERSON
SVP, MARKETING
Anderson is responsible for leading the strategic development and execution of brand marketing, promotions and creative for all of SPHE’s new-release and catalog business, establishing key consumer messaging, aligning marketing tactics to core brand strategy and ensuring that product marketing efforts are in line with studio business goals. She helms a cross-functional team that includes brand and product marketing, promotions and creative advertising.

GERI BLUEROCK
SVP, SALES
Bluerock leads the U.S. sales organization, which includes all physical and digital hybrid accounts, such as Amazon/AIV and Walmart/Vudu. She has led the evolution of the sales team to an insights-based organization integrating data-driven insights to address retailer and consumer opportunities. Previously, Bluerock led the division’s sales development team, including go-to-market strategy, retail analytics, and sales planning and reporting. Her 20-plus years of experience spans leadership positions in sales, sales planning and analysis, retail operations, category management, vendor-managed inventory, demand planning, and retail buying at MGM Home Entertainment and Target Corp.

ANJA DANG
SVP, ANALYTICS AND BUSINESS INSIGHTS
Dang is in charge of identifying and developing Sony Pictures’ capabilities to become a more consumer-centric, data-driven organization. Her team builds and connects consumer and audience data universes, understands and builds consumer segments for activation, delivers reports and insights, and utilizes advanced data analytics to enable SPHE to make informed decisions that drive and fulfill consumer demand for film and television content across key release windows.

TRACEY GARVIN
SVP, SUPPLY CHAIN OPERATIONS
Garvin oversees the end-to-end home entertainment operations for physical product for North America, which includes master data, manufacturing, distribution, inventory management, sustainability and business insights. Prior to joining Sony, Garvin worked at New World Entertainment and MCA Records.

JACQUI MARSHALL
EVP, LEGAL AFFAIRS
Marshall leads the corporate legal team for Sony in the EMEA region. She is responsible for legal matters for SPHE, including physical and digital rights distribution and acquisition, joint ventures, operational and retailer arrangements, and all other corporate and commercial initiatives. Marshall has looked after SPHE’s legal requirements in EMEA for more than a decade after starting her career at Universal Pictures.

JANE MOHON
SVP, MARKETING SERVICES
Mohon manages data-driven consumer strategy and activation within SPHE, overseeing digital marketing, publicity and paid media. Utilizing social and digital insights as well as traditional research to identify consumer demand and voice, she helps set marketing, digital and social strategies for SPHE releases. A champion of an analytics-led strategy, Mohon leverages consumer lifecycle data to drive multi-channel paid media strategies to drive transactions.

DINA WIGGINS
SVP, LEGAL
Wiggins has been overseeing legal affairs worldwide for SPHE marketing for more than 20 years, closely collaborating with all departments throughout SPHE. Her work also includes legal compliance in all aspects of the licensing, distribution, sales, manufacturing and other exploitation of movies and television series in home entertainment for domestic and international territories, excluding EMEA.

JILL ALLEN — VP, Sales and Digital Distribution
ALLIE CARSIA-TALBOTT — VP, Digital Distribution
SUZANNE EMERSON — VP, Legal
JUDY GUEVARA — VP, Product Strategy
HELENA KU — VP, Business Affairs
JANET SHACKMAN — VP, Customer Operations
JANA SIMMONS — VP, TV and Customer Marketing
JOAN VILLAROS — VP, Production Services, North America

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

HELEN PARKER
EVP, UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT CONTENT GROUP
Parker is in charge of spearheading UPHE’s global content business. Based in London, she oversees both content acquisitions and productions for all media and manages a roster of international and U.S. talent and content distributed by NBC Universal, spanning documentaries, live events, music and theater, films, live comedy shows, anime, TV, Korean drama, sport and fitness, and children and family, among others. Since assuming her role in 2007, Parker has successfully launched and developed this business for Universal and successfully positioned the company as an industry leader within the sector.

PAMELA BLUM
SVP, GLOBAL CREATIVE AND MARKETING SERVICES
Blum manages creative marketing services and the development of value-added content for the studio’s Blu-ray, DVD and digital releases on a worldwide basis. Her responsibilities also extend to include maximizing opportunities cross-divisionally within NBC Universal.

SANDY CHOI
SVP, BRAND MARKETING
Choi manages UPHE’s North American third-party partner relationships. She oversees the development and execution of all marketing campaigns for the partner releases across both physical and digital platforms as well as leads the cross-functional team responsible for the overall business.

ELLEN COCKRILL
SVP, ANIMATION PRODUCTION, UNIVERSAL 1440 ENTERTAINMENT
Cockrill oversees development and production of animated movies and TV fare for Universal 1440 Entertainment for distribution in all media worldwide. The industry veteran executive produced the PBS/Hulu animated series “Curious George,” garnering her two Daytime Emmys. Additionally, she has spearheaded numerous feature-length productions, including multiple “Curious George” and “The Land Before Time” movies, The Little Engine That Could, and more than 250 television episodes.

SEJIN CRONINGER
SVP, UPHE CONTENT GROUP
Croninger leads the North American arm of UPHE Content Group’s acquisitions and productions business, encompassing multi-genre entertainment for distribution across theatrical, home entertainment, television and digital platforms. UPHE Content Group is a repertoire center of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

NANCY EAGLE
SVP, BUSINESS AND LEGAL AFFAIRS, UNIVERSAL 1440 ENTERTAINMENT
Eagle manages the business and legal affairs for Universal 1440 Entertainment, the entity that develops and produces live-action and animated projects for distribution across various media platforms worldwide. Her duties include supervision of all business and legal issues on all of the group’s development and production slate, including rights and talent acquisition, negative pick-up distribution agreements, foreign co-productions, intellectual property matters, and litigation management. She also spearheads the group’s soundtrack partnerships and is responsible for selling certain ancillary rights.

DENISE HARO
SVP, WORLDWIDE CONSUMER INSIGHTS AND STRATEGY
Haro manages business analytics, focusing on external market analytics, trend analysis and long-term outlook. She also manages UPHE’s consumer insights and research. She is focused on aligning global commercial strategy around product, window, messaging, and innovation founded in business and consumer insights.

JERRLYN IWATA
SVP, DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION
Iwata oversees business development and distribution for Universal’s domestic digital home entertainment arm. She is in charge of licensing Universal’s film and television content on a transactional basis to cable, satellite, internet and emerging digital platform partners across the United States and Canada.

LEA PORTENEUVE
SVP, GLOBAL PUBLICITY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Porteneuve oversees business, technology and executive communications for UPHE. She additionally spearheads all strategic publicity initiatives, including media and talent relations, events, promotions, promotional partnerships and social media activations in support of the studio’s physical and digital home entertainment offerings. She also actively serves as the company’s principal PR strategist on cross-studio, industry-specific committees.

HEIDI TURK
SVP, SUPPLY CHAIN
Turk manages technical operations, customer operations, master data, release and production planning, distribution, logistics, retail inventory management, and business insights for Universal’s Blu-ray and DVD discs in the United States and Canada. She also plays a vital role in the development and implementation of the company’s eco-friendly initiatives and serves as a primary liaison to Universal’s distribution partners, including Paramount Home Entertainment, Entertainment One, Cinedigm, HIT Entertainment, Funimation, Shout! Factory, STX, Bleecker Street, Neon and Mattel.

STACY BARGER — VP, Global Creative Services
JENNIFER BLACK — VP, Global Publicity
HEATHER BRIGGS — VP, Finance
J.J. CARUTH — VP, Content Strategy and Marketing
ERICA MARIE DIONNE — VP, Product Development and Strategy
LEIGH ANN DUNLEAVY — VP, Digital Platforms
LISA GOODING — VP, Live-Action Production
NADIA HANEY — VP, Global Marketing, Emerging Technology
KELLY HARRINGTON — VP, Global Brand Marketing
MARY KHACHIKYAN — VP, Operations
TRACY KIM — VP, Digital Distribution and Digital Platforms
SANDY LE BIHAN — VP, Global Projects
BRIGITTE LIFSON — VP, Business and Legal Affairs
STEPHANIE LUTJENS — VP, Global Brand Marketing
MARIAN MANSI — VP, Global Creative Content
LINDA MARTINEZ — VP, Legal Rights and Clearances
LISA MELBYE — VP, Animation Production
STEPHANIE SIGEL — VP, Global Creative Services
SHARE STALLINGS — VP, Development
EVE WALDMAN — VP, Human Resources
JENNA WEBB — VP, Global Tech Operations
RUBY WONG — VP, Digital Supply Chain and Content Ops

Warner Bros.

LOUISE BAGNALL
SVP, LEGAL AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS, EUROPE
Bagnall oversees and advises on legal matters involving the studio’s digital, physical and games businesses in the EMEA region, including content licensing, distribution, acquisitions and other commercial initiatives. She also has responsibility for some key digital deals in the United States. She joined Warner Bros. in 2002 in London and then moved to its Burbank headquarters in 2017, significantly expanding her role and helping cultivate a global approach. She has been instrumental in facilitating the implementation of key growth initiatives in Europe.

JOHNNA CHO
SVP, LEGAL AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS
Cho oversees and advises on legal matters involving acquisitions, licensing, distribution, marketing, sales, production and operations for the studio’s physical, digital and games businesses in the Asia-Pacific region.

NICOLE COLEMAN
SVP, TRADE MARKETING, RETAIL PLANNING AND THEATRICAL CATALOG
Coleman oversees the theatrical catalog P&L for the home entertainment group across the physical and digital retail landscape. In addition, she leads trade marketing and sales planning for both physical and digital film and television content.

KRISTINA FUGATE
SVP, FILM MARKETING
Fugate is responsible for all theatrical new-release and catalog U.S. brand-marketing efforts for Warner across disc and digital platforms. She’s also charged with developing long-term strategies, resulting in strong performances for franchises including the Wizarding World and DC properties, 4K UHD and emerging platforms.

JACQUELINE HAYES
SVP AND GENERAL COUNSEL
Hayes leads the legal and business affairs team that handles licensing, production, clearances, marketing, sales, supply chain, acquisitions and daily operational legal matters for the distribution of the studio’s movies, TV shows and video games in physical and digital platforms on a worldwide basis.

DANA LIRA
SVP, LEGAL AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS
Lira manages legal clearances for all enhanced content and virtual reality experiences created by the home entertainment division, along with legal review of the marketing and promotion of the studio’s movies, TV shows and video games in physical and digital formats on a worldwide basis. She also handles all legal matters for the studio’s Australia and New Zealand home entertainment divisions.

ROSEMARY MARKSON
SVP, TV MARKETING
Markson manages global marketing for all Warner Bros. and HBO TV properties across physical and digital home entertainment platforms. She handles marketing strategies, product development, consumer marketing and business planning for both current on-air series and library/catalog series. Markson is also in charge of managing talent and studio relationships and ensuring that key content partners are properly serviced.

JENNIFER STUMP
SVP, LEGAL AND BUSINESS AFFAIRS
Stump is the lead attorney for Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) for franchises such as “Batman: Arkham,” “Lego,” “Mortal Kombat” and “The Hobbit.” She and her team provide legal counsel across all functions of WBIE’s publishing business in addition to supporting all Warner-owned development studios, including Avalanche, Monolith Productions, NetherRealm Studios, Rocksteady Studios, WB Games Boston and TT Games.

EMILY ZALENSKI
SVP, WORLDWIDE PUBLICITY
Zalenski oversees worldwide publicity and corporate communications for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. She leads the strategic execution of digital and physical publicity campaigns for all new-release and catalog film releases, including media and talent relations, special events and experiential marketing. She also leads communications efforts for emerging technology initiatives, including 4K UHD and emerging digital release technologies. She serves as the WBHE representative for communications strategy on many cross-studio committees.

TRACI CARROLL — VP, Creative Advertising
MARIANA CASAS — VP, Financial Planning and Analysis, Digital
KRISTIE L. COLLEY — VP, Retail Planning and Trade Fund Management
GIULIA ERICKSON — VP, Marketing Analytics and Channel Strategy
MICHELLE FOWLER — VP, Legal and Business Affairs
LAURA GROSS — VP, Consumer Insights and Research
FEIFEI HU — VP, Business Development and Licensing
SUCHITRA INJATI — VP, Strategic Supply Chain Planning and Forecasting
CHERILYNN KEHRLI — VP, Legal and Business Affairs
JULIE V. KELLEY — VP and Associate General Counsel, Legal and Business Affairs
LAURA LUPINETTI — VP, Trade Marketing
ANGIE LAI MAKHOUL — VP, Film Marketing
MELISSA HUFJAY MCALEVEY — VP, Publicity
KATY MOFFAT — VP, Operations
DEBBIE NEVEU — VP, Accounting and Financial Reporting
ZANDRA PALMER — VP, Trade Marketing
ISABELLE F. RENAUD — VP, Production/Creative Services
NATHALIE SAWYER — VP, Sales
MARYAM TASHROUDIAN — VP and Associate General Counsel, Legal and Business Affairs
MARY ELLEN THOMAS — VP, TV Marketing
MARISA ZWEBEN — VP, Legal and Business Affairs

Lionsgate

AGAPY KAPOURANIS
PRESIDENT, INTERNATIONAL TELEVISION AND DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION
A seven-year veteran of Lionsgate, Kapouranis spearheads international distribution, acquisitions, sales and marketing for Lionsgate’s television and catalog feature slate. She oversees a sales and distribution team responsible for a broad range of global and regional licensing deals encompassing the company’s films, television series and Starz original programming with nearly all leading digital and linear platforms around the world.

SANJANA NAIKSATAM
EVP, PROCUREMENT AND DISTRIBUTION OPERATIONS
Naiksatam oversees the end-to-end home entertainment operations in the United States and Canada for the packaged-media business. This includes evaluating the supply chain and striving for continuous improvements and efficiencies, as well as managing and providing direction on system enhancements relating to home entertainment and metadata management.

JILL ANDERSON
SVP, HOME ENTERTAINMENT SALES
Anderson oversees Lionsgate’s home entertainment business for some of retail’s largest accounts — specifically Walmart and Best Buy — the latter where she started her career. Anderson is continually looking for new retail opportunities to uniquely position Lionsgate’s new-release and catalog content in stores as well as online for DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD titles. She is the consummate team player who is dedicated to finding win-win solutions within her organization and with all of her retail partners. Anderson is committed to Lionsgate’s passion for original, daring and groundbreaking entertainment and driving the home entertainment sales team to support that vision.

ERIN CARTER
SVP, INTEGRATED MARKETING, HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION
Carter oversees strategic partnerships, marketing operations and distribution for new-release and catalog film and television content across digital and packaged media. In this role she leads the lifecycle planning for content from Lionsgate and its distribution partners, along with driving retail marketing efforts.  Carter joined Lionsgate from Anchor Bay in 2017, where she spent a decade leading the marketing strategy for all its independent film and theatrical releases.

KENYA HART
SVP, PROCUREMENT AND INVENTORY OPERATIONS
Hart oversees the day-to-day operations of the materials management and demand planning (procurement) teams in the United States and Canada for packaged media. As the super user/departmental systems manager, she works closely with IT to test, implement and validate systemic upgrades and enhancements. Additional functions include cost analysis and business acquisition on-boarding.

ANGELA HENRY
SVP, HOME ENTERTAINMENT SALES
Henry is instrumental in managing daily sales with a particular focus on the Walmart account. She helped launch the Summit Home Entertainment division in 2007, which was acquired by Lionsgate in 2012. Prior to joining Summit, Henry started her career at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in 2001 as a sales manager, covering a wide variety of retailers.

AMANDA KOZLOWSKI
EVP, HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION MARKETING
Kozlowski oversees marketing for Lionsgate’s home entertainment and digital distribution division, leading the marketing of Lionsgate’s largest film properties in their post-theatrical windows, along with all marketing of the studio’s multi-platform release slate, third-party content distribution deals and 17,000-title library. Kozlowski also plays a lead role in the Lionsgate Data Center, the studio’s marketing technology and consumer data center of excellence. She is the executive sponsor for the company’s Multicultural Employee Resource Group and a partner with the HR division on multiple Diversity & Inclusion pilots.

AMELIA MCPARTLON ROGERS
SVP, INTEGRATED MARKETING, HOME ENTERTAINMENT AND DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION
Rogers oversees marketing initiatives across all Lionsgate home entertainment and digital platforms. In this role, she guides the marketing campaigns for the 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and digital releases of Lionsgate and Starz films and television programming, as well as content from distribution partners including A24, Roadside, CBS Films, Studio Canal, Entertainment Studios and others. She also leads the marketing campaigns for Lionsgate’s multiplatform limited theatrical releases.

CHASE BRISBIN — VP, Global SVOD
MELISSA CLARKE — VP, Retail Operations
WHITNEY DICKINSON — VP, Media and Data
LINDSAY LEFRANCOIS — VP, Procurement
TIFFANY OLIVARES — VP, Publicity and Community
SHANNON PARKER — VP, AV Creative Services
HELEN REICH — VP, Sales Administration

Cinedigm

YOLANDA MACIAS
EVP, ACQUISITIONS, DIGITAL SALES AND STUDIO RELATIONS
Leveraging more than 25 years of industry experience, Macias leads the content acquisitions team, acquiring, renewing and developing content for all distribution platforms worldwide. Also, she oversees business strategy, development and relationships with digital and television platforms globally.

JILL NEWHOUSE CALCATERRA
EVP, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS AND INVESTOR RELATIONS
Working closely with chairman and CEO Chris McGurk, Newhouse Calcaterra manages all external communications for Cinedigm with both investors and the entertainment industry. Given the recent investment by Chinese company Bison Capital, she is putting an additional focus on international outreach efforts, particularly in Asia, and is focused on the company’s OTT efforts both domestically and abroad.

MELODY FOWLER
VP, ACQUISITIONS
Fowler identifies, curates and negotiates the acquisition of content for all distribution platforms. She is also responsible for developing, maintaining and managing co-production partnerships with third-party producers to ensure a consistent supply of commercial titles for Cinedigm.

PBS Distribution

AMY LETOURNEAU
SVP
Letourneau oversees acquisitions, business intelligence and strategy. She leads the company’s content sourcing, evaluation, and negotiation across all distribution platforms for scripted, factual, lifestyle and children’s programs. Under her leadership, the organization has significantly expanded the drama and children’s catalogs while continuing to build on a strong foundation of engaging factual programming. She founded and launched the PBS-branded theatrical releasing unit, which has handled such high-profile documentaries as Woodstock: Three Days That Defined a Generation and Dark Money. With more than 15 years of experience in commercial and public media, Letourneau’s portfolio includes numerous award-winning films and television programs.

REBECCA CARR
VP, OPERATIONS, PRODUCTION AND TECHNOLOGY
Carr has worked for PBS Distribution since its inception in 2009 and heads operations for all PBS Distribution business streams. She oversees all aspects of the digital supply chain for DTC-SVOD channels, TVOD and SVOD, as well as operations and production for hard copy distribution. Her responsibilities include asset and data management, evolving systems and processes, product execution, and vendor management.

JEN O’CONNELL-ROBERTSON
VP, MARKETING
O’Connell-Robertson leads the marketing, communications and creative strategy across multiple brands and businesses. Her primary focus is driving growth of the company’s direct-to-consumer subscription businesses — PBS Masterpiece, PBS Kids and PBS Living — in addition to support for retail, e-commerce, transactional and SVOD, and PBS International. Prior to joining PBS Distribution, she was GM of the Walter Presents SVOD service, and was a 15-year AMC Networks veteran, culminating in the role of SVP, digital media and business development, for AMC’s WE tv channel.

LIZ LIEBMAN
DIRECTOR, DTC-SVOD
Liebman leads the DTC-SVOD business for PBS Distribution, including the PBS Masterpiece, PBS Kids and PBS Living subscription channels. In this role she oversees the strategic planning, consumer acquisition, engagement strategies and partnerships across these businesses. Prior to taking this role, Liebman held several positions managing both physical and digital releases at PBS Distribution, National Geographic and Turner.

Amazon

JENNIFER SALKE
HEAD, AMAZON STUDIOS
Salke is responsible for all aspects of television and film development, as well as production for Amazon’s entertainment division. This includes implementing an overall long-term content strategy for both units along with launching upcoming series and films along with ongoing support of current series. High profile projects include “Lord of the Rings” and “Cortes,” from Steven Spielberg and starring Javier Bardem, as well as Emmy-nominated comedy series “Fleabag.” “In a world of peak TV, there’s so many choices,” Salke said at last month’s Summer Television Critics Association press tour. “It takes time for some of these shows to find their path.”

MARIE DONOGHUE
VP, GLOBAL SPORTS VIDEO
Donoghue is responsible for Amazon’s global sports content business, as well as its sports strategy, enabling customers to access live and on-demand sports content, on hundreds of devices, in more than 200 countries and territories. Prior to joining Amazon, Donoghue served as EVP of global business and content strategy at ESPN, leading the ongoing development and implementation of its enterprise-wide business and content strategy. Donoghue oversaw all digital dealmaking for ESPN, including ESPN’s relationship with BAMTech, the home of ESPN’s first direct-to-consumer (OTT) streaming platform.

AMC/RLJ Entertainment

SYLVIA GEORGE
EVP AND GM, URBAN MOVIE CHANNEL
George was appointed to her current position in March 2018. Prior to that she was the company’s first chief marketing officer after serving as president, U.S., managing North American distribution and spearheading integration of Acorn Media and Image Entertainment, which were acquired by RLJ Entertainment in 2012. During this time, George helped to build Acorn’s brand profile as the “chief curator of the best Brit TV,” according to Time Magazine, and grew the brand’s footprint across retail while developing the digital home video market.

KERENSA SAMANIDIS
GM, ACORN TV INTERNATIONAL
Samanidis is responsible for the overall development, management and operation of the Acorn TV subscription streaming service for all markets outside of North America. Samanidis brings a wealth of expertise in OTT strategy and management having previously devised and launched services for Sony PlayStation, BFI and Turner (WarnerMedia). Acorn TV last year expanded into dozens of territories including Mexico, Spain, Scandinavia, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.

Hulu

KELLY CAMPBELL
CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER
Campbell leads Hulu’s overall marketing efforts across the SVOD and live-TV businesses, drives the strategic vision and voice behind the Hulu brand, and oversees the entire subscriber journey including acquisition, engagement, retention, viewer experience, partnerships and research. She also works closely with the company’s technology, advertising and content leaders to ensure that Hulu’s consumer proposition and brand is reflected in every aspect of the Hulu experience.

REAGAN FEENEY
VP, NETWORK PARTNERSHIPS
Feeney is responsible for managing Hulu’s strategic relationships and carriage agreements with networks and operators. Previously, Feeney was VP of content at AT&T’s DirecTV, where she was responsible for identifying and negotiating general entertainment and sports programming acquisitions, as well as maintaining external business relationships for linear cable channels, out-of-market sports subscription packages, regional sports networks and on-demand sports content.

BRITTANY HVEEM
HEAD OF BUSINESS AFFAIRS
Hveem is responsible for leading negotiations of development and licensing deals related to Hulu’s slate of original series, documentaries, international co-productions and specials. She oversees the business and production relationships with studio suppliers such as Warner Bros., Universal Television, Sony and Lionsgate, approving production budgets and negotiations with talent. Prior to joining Hulu in 2016, Hveem was most recently VP of business affairs for Warner Horizon Television and was previously counsel at ABC Studios.

ANGIE KANG
VP, BUSINESS AND LEGAL AFFAIRS
Promoted to her current position last year, Kang has led numerous deals that have built out Hulu’s content library. She led efforts to lock in the first official content provider for Hulu’s online TV service. Kang negotiated a multiyear deal with AMC Networks for “Fear the Walking Dead.” She closed a deal with 20th Century Fox Television Distribution for exclusive SVOD rights to new and upcoming FX and FXX primetime comedies, dramas and miniseries. She led all of Hulu’s legal efforts to obtain the exclusive SVOD rights to all episodes of “Seinfeld,” as well as an output agreement to new shows from Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TNT and TBS, among others.

HEATHER MOOSNICK
SVP AND HEAD OF CONTENT PARTNERSHIPS
Moosnick drives Hulu’s content partnership and acquisition strategy across its live and on-demand subscription streaming services. She recently joined Hulu from Google, where she served as head of global business development, strategy and content partner management for YouTube TV and Google Fiber, including all TV networks and affiliates. In that role, she led the teams that structured, negotiated and closed all content deals for the launch of the company’s digital MVPD service.

GAUDE LYDIA PAEZ
SVP AND HEAD OF CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS
Paez leads the team responsible for all external communications in support of Hulu’s corporate brand, business strategy, products, technology, advertising sales and content acquisition. She joined Hulu in 2016 from Fox Broadcasting Co., where she served as SVP of corporate communications and digital publicity.

BEATRICE SPRINGBORN
VP, CONTENT DEVELOPMENT
Since joining the Hulu team in 2014, Springborn has played an integral role in developing and greenlighting straight-to-series orders for Hulu’s slate of originals, including the Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award-winning “The Handmaid’s Tale,” as well as “The Looming Tower,” “Future Man,” “Castle Rock,” “Catch-22” from George Clooney, and the upcoming limited series “Little Fires Everywhere” from Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.

Google Play/YouTube

CHRISTINA AVITABILE
HEAD OF CONTENT DISTRIBUTION AND LICENSING (TVOD/SVOD/AVOD), YOUTUBE AND GOOGLE PLAY
Avitabile is responsible for business development and partnerships for Google’s transactional movies and TV stores (on Google Play and YouTube) as well as licensing and acquisition deals for YouTube. Before joining Google in 2014, Avitabile spent a year in content acquisition, digital video, at Amazon.

KELLY MERRYMAN
VP, GLOBAL CONTENT PARTNERSHIPS, YOUTUBE
Prior to joining YouTube, Merryman served as VP of content acquisition at Netflix from 2007 to 2014. She also held positions in digital distribution and business development at Sony Pictures.

FandangoNow

DANA BENSON
VP, COMMUNICATIONS
Benson directs all corporate communications and public relations functions across the company’s ticketing, e-commerce and editorial content portfolio, including Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes, Flixster, MovieTickets.com and transactional on-demand video service FandangoNow. She also oversees public relations for subsidiaries Ingresso.com in Brazil, and Fandango Latin America.

PENNY ALBERTS
SENIOR DIRECTOR, CRM, CUSTOMER GROWTH PLANNING
Alberts leads acquisition and retention strategies for Fandango, FandangoNow and FanShop. She crafts integrated business plans to align stakeholders around key beats throughout the movie lifecycle. She also drives incremental revenue opportunities across brands and franchises. Prior to joining Fandango, Benson was director of public relations at Disney Interactive.

REMA MORGAN-ALUKO
DIRECTOR, SOFTWARE ENGINEERING
Morgan-Aluko leads the technology group for TVOD service FandangoNow. She oversees the development of Web, mobile apps, over-the-top applications and services, as well as application program interfaces. Previously, she led the development and implementation of several initiatives across Fandango’s verticals, including trailers (Movieclips), video and editorial content, movie and entertainment metadata, commerce, user profiles, CRM, marketing campaigns and programs, and advertising and monetization. She co-founded Fandango’s TECHWomen chapter, which aims to advance opportunities for female technologists within the company and beyond.

Movies Anywhere

BETH K. BAIER
ASSISTANT CHIEF COUNSEL
Baier leads all day-to-day legal and business affairs matters and serves as the senior legal advisor to the company’s business teams. She actively participates in legal analysis, modeling, negotiations and drafting of new strategic business models and high-profile deals involving emerging digital distribution technologies, distribution platforms, technical operations and marketing strategies.

ELISSA BROWN
VP, FINANCE AND OPERATIONS
Brown leads day-to-day operations, developing and executing key business and platform strategies to drive growth and deliver operational efficiencies across all facets of Movies Anywhere. This organization includes finance, strategy, business development, partner management, business intelligence/analytics, customer care and program management.

Sling TV

DANA McLEOD
VP, PROGRAMMING
McLeod oversees content acquisition, strategy, curation and promotion for Sling TV. She also manages programmer relationships and business development. Previously, she served as director of finance for Sling TV, where she was responsible for its finances, in addition to programming and media sales for both Dish and Sling TV.

Netflix

BELA BAJARIA
VP, INTERNATIONAL ORIGINALS
Bajaria, who joined Netflix in 2016 as VP of content, was recently named to oversee all non-English original series around the world. In her previous role, Bajaria oversaw Netflix’s push into unscripted programming, including “Queer Eye,” “Nailed It!” and “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” as well as talk series with David Letterman and Hasan Minhaj. Bajaria also oversaw scripted originals “You” and the upcoming “Locke and Key” and “Daybreak,” among others, and led the team responsible for working with studios to co-produce and co-license series internationally with Netflix, including “Star Trek: Discovery” (CBS), “Bodyguard” (BBC), “Riverdale,” “Nightflyers” and “Good Girls” (Universal Television).

MELISSA COBB
VP, ORIGINAL ANIMATION
Cobb leads the content team responsible for bringing animated series and feature films to Netflix. Prior to joining Netflix, Cobb was chief creative officer for Oriental DreamWorks, where she oversaw development and production, business strategy, production strategy and more for a slate of animated feature films targeted to a global audience. She also served as a producer at DreamWorks Animation, responsible for animated feature films, including the Academy Award-nominated “Kung Fu Panda” trilogy.

CHANNING DUNGEY
VP, ORIGINAL SERIES
Dungey partners with fellow Netflix exec Cindy Holland in setting strategic direction as well as in overseeing a large portion of Netflix’s slate, including some of the company’s overall deals with high-profile, prolific producers. Prior to joining Netflix, Dungey served as president of ABC Entertainment, overseeing all development, programming, marketing and scheduling operations for ABC primetime and late-night. During her tenure at ABC, Dungey created a collaborative environment that supported visionary storytelling, and became a hub for talented and provocative producers to realize their vision.

JESSICA NEAL
CHIEF TALENT OFFICER
Neal is a 13-year veteran at Netflix, starting at the company in 2006 when DVD was king and streaming just a dream, and has been heavily involved in improving the Netflix culture as the company grew. In 2013, she left to become head of human resources at Coursera, and, later, chief people officer at Scopely, a mobile gaming company. She returned to Netflix in 2017 overseeing HR for the 2,000-person product engineering team responsible for improving the Netflix consumer experience.

LISA NISHIMURA
VP, ORIGINAL DOCUMENTARY AND INDEPENDENT FEATURES Nishimura is an 11-year Netflix veteran. She currently oversees the company’s original documentary slate, including features, shorts and limited series, as well as independent films. Her team strives to provide storytellers of all backgrounds with a global platform where they can share their unique narratives around the world — across geographies, languages, genders, cultures, experiences and perspectives.

AMY REINHARD
VP, CONTENT ACQUISITION
Reinhard oversees global studio licensing for films and television series as well as local language acquisitions from Latin America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India. In addition to global licensing, Reinhard negotiates international distribution rights on major studio films including Annihilation and Isn’t it Romantic. Prior to Netflix, she was the president of worldwide TV licensing and distribution for Paramount Pictures, where she held various roles for more than 10 years. She started her career at Revolution Studios.

Redbox

KATE BRENNAN
DIRECTOR, MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS
Brennan is responsible for all public relations and social media efforts for the company’s movie and video game business, including B2C and B2B efforts. She also leads the company’s “Back to the Movies” initiative aimed at building nostalgia, conversations and connections around Movie Night occasions.

NAIVASHA DEAN
DIRECTOR OF EDITORIAL STRATEGY, REDBOX ON DEMAND
Dean is focused on title merchandising and content discovery for Redbox’s digital On Demand service. Prior to joining Redbox, she oversaw editorial and content operations at Fullscreen’s streaming service, and specialized in editorial advertiser solutions at Hulu.

LAURA FLORENCE
DIRECTOR, CONTENT PARTNERSHIPS
Florence recently joined Redbox to lead the company’s digital content relationships with studios and independent partners. She has more than 13 years’ experience in both the physical and digital categories of content distribution, including her tenure at Gravitas Ventures, where she ran North American sales and marketing for theatrical, TVOD/cable/satellite, home entertainment and AVOD Sales.

LORI FLYNN
VP, CONTENT
Flynn is focused on revenue-growth strategies and new content opportunities for the movie business. Prior to joining Redbox, she spent more than 17 years at Blockbuster Video, where she was responsible for managing the rental/merchandising group for corporate stores and online.

MAURA GRAY
DIRECTOR, ON DEMAND & PARTNERSHIPS
Gray has led multiple, large-scale brand and marketing initiatives since joining Redbox, including the Redbox On Demand launch. Prior to joining Redbox, she focused on ad sales and partnership marketing at the National Geographic Channels.

SONIA JAIN
CFO
Jain oversees the company’s long-term financial health, which includes setting financial direction, implementing strategies to drive revenue-growth and profitability, and deal support. Prior to joining Redbox, Jain was an investment banker in the consumer retail group at Morgan Stanley and a consultant at McKinsey & Company.

KAVITA SUTHAR
VP, FINANCE, STRATEGY & ANALYTICS
Suthar is responsible for Redbox’s financial strategy and analysis, budgeting and deal support. She previously held long-term strategy and analytics roles at U.S. Cellular.

NICOLE ZINNO
VP, HUMAN RESOURCES
Zinno leads human resources, overseeing all functions of HR, payroll, benefits, recruitment and internal communications that attract, retain and engage Redbox’s employee base of corporate and nationwide field team members.

BASE — British Association for Screen Entertainment

LIZ BALES
CEO
Bales has headed the BASE trade group since 2014. A commercial lawyer by trade in the acquisition, exploitation and protection of intellectual property, Bales previously headed The Digital Entertainment Group Europe.

The BASE mission statement seeks to champion the growth of screen entertainment across a £2.34 billion U.K. disc and digital video market, while maintaining a business environment with few regulatory burdens.

U.S. studio members include Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Lionsgate U.K., Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures International Entertainment, The Walt Disney Co. and Warner Home Entertainment.

Read a Q&A with Bales here.

Women in Home Entertainment 2019: A Q&A With BASE CEO Liz Bales

The British Association for Screen Entertainment’s mission statement seeks to champion the growth of screen entertainment across a £2.34 billion U.K. disc and digital video market, while maintaining a business environment with few regulatory burdens.

U.S. studio members include Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Lionsgate U.K., Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures International Entertainment, The Walt Disney Co., and Warner Home Entertainment.

As CEO of BASE and Industry Trust for IP Awareness, Liz Bales has headed the trade group since 2014. A commercial lawyer by trade in the acquisition, exploitation and protection of intellectual property, Bales also leads The Digital Entertainment Group Europe.

Bales is recognized for leadership and creation of partnerships and executing targeted initiatives to grow audience engagement, deliver industrywide behavior change and incubate innovation in established trading environments.

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With a successful track record supporting diverse stakeholders on complex challenges with a focus on measurable results and sustainable solutions as well as delivering efficiencies, Media Play News asked Bales about ongoing cyclical change across the world’s No. 2 home video market.

MPN: At the end of 2018, you cited ongoing “high street retail” challenges in packaged media while attempting to accommodate a “broad variety” of home entertainment content and format options. How have those challenges been met through the first half of 2019?

Bales: The home entertainment category has been effectively managing change for over a decade, and in 2019 we are meeting ongoing challenges head on. BASE is driving physical retail innovation in collaboration with a leading U.K. grocer and alongside industry experts, leading ground-breaking trials with exceptional indicative results at an early stage. Focusing on digital formats, the cross-platform ‘Mega Movie Week’ campaign resulted in the U.K.’s largest week of sales for digital ownership on record, topping 1 millionm units with the highest reported incredibly strong new user activation from a host of the participating platforms.

MPN: The U.S. home entertainment market is now 60% subscription streaming video, led by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Yet, consumption of packaged media continues (albeit slowly) while increasingly dwarfed by digital. The trend appears similar in the United Kingdom. How are BASE members adjusting their marketing approaches?

Bales: The rapid evolution of technology is a dominant force, and home entertainment is just one of a plethora of categories taking advantage of the benefits. Ultimately this evolution is about the consumer, whose love of and engagement with content in all forms is enduring and still showing huge growth; the home entertainment category value is up 10% in the last year. An established U.K. production base sees the welcome addition of bold new players, which is a huge positive for both our creative industry and U.K. audiences and while format fragmentation is obviously not without its challenges, the industry is proactive in its response, as witnessed by the remodeling being seen across the distribution landscape.

MPN: How does BASE convince consumers to purchase rather than subscribe to media? Can both distribution models co-exist?

Bales: BASE runs a variety of initiatives that focus on informing the consumer on the benefits of the various formats including ownership, rental and subscription. There is a broad range of different needs and spaces in which consumers consume entertainment content, and clear areas where transactional purchase has natural advantages over subscription and vice versa. As long as consumers are made aware of the myriad benefits of ownership across all formats, then both distribution models can continue to co-exist and meet the differing needs of a range of audience types.

MPN: With Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, complete ownership of Hulu and pending launch of a branded subscription streaming service — the latter two likely earmarked for the U.K. — how does traditional home entertainment retail compete?

Bales: Traditional home entertainment retail has already been competing with subscription streaming services for over a decade and Disney is one of a number of entities that will launch direct-to-consumer services in the coming months and years. The response from traditional home entertainment is of course insight led; gaining an understanding of audience behavioral trends and consequent engagement is a high priority. We know that consumers view content from multiple formats, and fans of film and TV have a range of choices; to visit the cinema, buy the latest content digitally or on disc as well as streaming exclusive content from subscription services.

Customers love choice and across the category content owners provide just that. With all of the current and future developments in the home entertainment business, it is imperative that we consider any possible impact on copyright infringement; the category as a whole must work together to ensure that the customer experience comes first, and ensure clarity and simplicity when it comes to accessing content easily and legally even as habits evolve.

The consumer will ultimately vote with their wallet and define the success of new services, but all evidence points to transaction and ownership continuing to be a desired option for many.

MPN: With studios and media companies increasingly focusing on subscription and ad-supported VOD, it would appear BASE has to wear multiple hats to satisfy industry members. Is that true? If so, how has that changed the internal focus at BASE?

Bales: Navigating change has been a constant for many years, the pace of which only escalates. Members have always looked to the organization for a comprehensive category level understanding of current market performance, but now increasingly look to us for a view on future challenges and opportunities.

Ultimately, home entertainment is one part of an expansive and interconnected value chain, and to genuinely add value for members our expertise in home entertainment has to be complemented with a thorough knowledge of surrounding sectors, not only subscription and ad–supported VOD, but extending to theatrical distribution and broadcast.

This is quite a task, but it is one that makes for dynamic and exciting roles within the team and is a challenge the organization has risen to with a passion.

Click here for the 2019 list of Women in Home Entertainment

Amazon Studios Unscripted Content Boss Heather Schuster Departs

Heather Schuster, head of unscripted content at Amazon Studios, reportedly has left the company after less than 12 months on the job.

Media reports suggest the longtime TV executive’s exit followed an internal probe into her corporate behavior.

It’s the first executive departure since Jennifer Salke became head of Amazon Studios.

Schuster, recently cited in Media Play News’ annual “Women in Home Entertainment” issue, worked with President Donald Trump (then a real estate businessman) during five seasons of “The Apprentice.”

During that period, Schuster worked with “Apprentice” executive producer Mark Burnett and his producing partner Conrad Riggs.

Notably, Schuster replaced Riggs last October at Amazon Studios after the latter, along with Joe Lewis, left the studio following the exit of former head Roy Price, who was forced out following allegations of inappropriate behavior in the workplace.