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Yesterday β€” January 28th 2020Broadband TV News: People

Dr Daniel Ritz to become new CEO of Tele Columbus

By JΓΆrn Krieger

The supervisory board of German cable operator Tele Columbus has appointed Dr Daniel Ritz as CEO and member of the management board with effect from February 1, 2020.

Ritz succeeds Timm Degenhardt, who has decided not to renew his contract.

Ritz is a seasoned telecommunications executive with international experience and track record. Most recently, he was president and CEO of PTCL, the telecom incumbent in Pakistan.

Before that, the Swiss national worked for Etisalat Group in Abu Dhabi and Swisscom.

Tomasz ChrΓ³stny to head UOKiK

By Chris Dziadul

Poland’s PM Mateusz Morawiecki has appointed Tomasz Chróstny as the president of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK).

Chróstny has been the VP since August 2019, responsible for consumer protection and preparing the Office for tasks related to reducing payment gridlocks in the economy.

His professional career started out on projects in the field of auditing financial statements of financial institutions, company valuation and detection of crime and fraud. He was also involved in making economic, market and sector analyses as well as economic forecasts.

Broadband TV News notes that the UOKiK plays a key role in overseeing Poland’s electronic communications marketplace.

In one of its most recent decisions earlier this month it gave its conditional approval to the takeover of Multimedia Polska, the country’s third largest cable operator, by the second largest Vectra.

Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: People

New directors for Okko

By Chris Dziadul

The Russian OTT service Okko has appointed two new directors to its executive team.

According to ComNews, Pavel Roitberg, formerly the commercial director at NTV-Plus, is now Okko’s distribution director, while Darya Yurasova, who previously worked at Sberbank, has become the director of customer service and service quality.

Roitberg will be responsible for business development, distribution of products through partners and the creation of joint offers.

Meanwhile, Yurasova’s tasks will include increasing the efficiency of the contact centre and building a user service system in new communication channels, as well as setting up a client experience management system and launching the Okko ambassadors’ programme.

The development follows a several other recent appointments, including Natalia Glagoleva as director of Okko video ecosystem marketing earlier this month.

Jose Calderoni joins Starz

By Chris Dziadul

The Lionsgate company Starz has appointed Jose Calderoni as senior VP of international marketing to the Starz International Digital Networks team.

In the newly created role, he will report directly to executive VP of international digital networks Superna Kalle and be based in the company’s Santa Monica office.

Calderoni will lead Starzplay’s international marketing efforts in more than 30 countries across Europe and Latin America working across partner marketing, brand, media, social, acquisition and creative to make Starzplay a successful global brand in partnership with the larger Starz organisation.

Commenting on the appointment, Kalle said: “Jose’s strong record of elevating brands internationally is perfect to scale Starzplay as we strengthen our presence in each country – his remit is to elevate our brand and programming to drive subscription”.

Prior to joining Starz, Calderoni served as marketing & social director North Latin America at Netflix, where he led the mission to position the first streaming service in key Latin American markets.

He also led marketing and digital strategy for Telefonica Movistar and served as head of marketing for Volaris airlines, where he created the brand and developed award-winning campaigns that transformed a start-up low-cost airline in Mexico into the second-largest airline in the country.

ViacomCBS appoints African leadership team

By Chris Dziadul

ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) has named Craig Paterson and Monde Twala as co-GMs of ViacomCBS Networks Africa.

They will take up their roles following the departure of VCNI veteran Alex Okosi, executive VP and MD of VCN Africa and BET International, at the end of February.

Commenting on the development, Raffaele Annecchino, president of ViacomCBS Networks Europe Middle East, Africa and Asia, said: “Alex has made an immeasurable impact on our business in Africa.

“Since launching MTV Base in 2005, Alex has spearheaded the development of our business on the continent, which now delivers more channels to Africa than any other international network – reaching 100 million viewers in 48 territories across MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and BET.”

Okosi added: “I am proud to have had the opportunity to build our Africa business from the ground up.

“This has played a pivotal role in transforming the music and content space and changing the narrative on Africa. Leading our Africa and BET International businesses to success is testament to the extraordinary teams, colleagues and partners that I have worked with throughout my tenure. ViacomCBS has been my home for more than 20 fantastic years, and I leave behind incredible creative and commercial talent that will continue to deliver growth.”

David Lynn, president & CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International added, “I’m immensely grateful to Alex for his contribution to the success of VCNI, including his role in developing such a strong team of successors. Alex’s leadership has been essential to our success in Africa and to the continued growth of BET International.”

As co-head of the business, Twala, senior VP & general manager, editorial VCN Africa, will focus on content, creative, editorial and marketing for VCNI brands. He is currently the VP of ViacomCBS Networks Africa’s BET, Youth & Music, ViacomCBS Networks International and Africa.

Paterson, senior VP & general manager, VCN Africa, will be responsible for all corporate functions, including business development and strategy. Currently senior VP, business operations for ViacomCBS Networks Africa, he is responsible for driving strategic growth and business opportunities in Africa.

Annecchino added: “I am delighted that Craig and Monde will take over leadership in this important market.
“Both have worked with Alex for years, which coupled with their expertise will ensure a seamless transition. Craig and Monde are experts in their respective areas and in addition to incredible business acumen, have demonstrated leadership and collaborative excellence throughout each of their careers and tenures with the company.”

Tony Hall to step down as BBC director-general

By Julian Clover

BBC director-general Tony Hall is to step down from the organisation in the summer.

In a letter released to staff this morning, Lord Hall says it would be in the best interests of the organisation it would be best for a single figure to secure the BBC’s charter beyond 2027 and the mid-term review scheduled for 2022.

Lord Hall says he believes he is leaving the corporation in a much stronger place than when he joined and the BBC is now a very different organisation that is more innovative, open and inclusive.

“Change has been tough at times – and of course there is still more to do. But I believe our recent record of transformation stands comparison with virtually any other creative organisation in the world.”

Commenting on his departure, Chairman of the BBC, Sir David Clementi, says: “Tony Hall is an inspirational creative leader, within the UK and around the globe, and the BBC has been lucky to have him as our director-general for the last seven years. Tony has led the BBC with integrity and a passion for our values that is obvious to everyone who meets him. His reforms have shaped the BBC for the future and he will leave the BBC in the summer with our gratitude and our very best wishes.

Lord Hall was appointed director-general in 2012, replacing George Entwhistle, who was forced to resign over a botched Newsnight report just 54 days into the job.

A former head of BBC News and the Royal Opera House, Lord Hall has contended with the rise of streaming services, concern over equal pay, and the inevitable accusations of bias from all sides.

Nikica Skunca leaves Nova TV

By Chris Dziadul

Nikica Skunca has left his position as internet business unit manager, new media director at Croatia’s Nova TV after nearly 10 years with the company.

According to Poslovni, he has been appointed the CEO of IN2 Group, until recently the largest software company in the country.

Meanwhile, IN2 Group’s former CEO Katarina Siber Makar has been promoted to senior VP for business development at Aquila Software, a parent company of IN2 Group.

Skunca started his career at Hrvatski Telekom in 1998.

Sky boss calls for more internet regulation

By Julian Clover

Sky’s group chief executive, Jeremy Darroch, has called on government to impose greater regulation of the internet.

In an article for The Times, Darroch says that according to Ofcom, social media sites are the “most commonly cited source of online harm”.

He says that despite commitments in the 2017 and 2019 manifesto and clear cross-party support no regulatory regime has emerged. This in contrast to Darroch’s own broadcasting industry, which he says “are subject to regulatory frameworks that set standards and prevent harm to consumers and society.”

Pointing to the 2019 general election – in which his former CFO Andrew Griffith was elected as MP for Arundel and South Downs – Darroch believes there was misinformation, online abuse and fake news.

Figures released by the NSPCC reveal that more than 25,000 offences involving child abuse images and sexual grooming have occurred since the publication of the government’s Online Harms White Paper nine months ago.

This has resulted in Lord McNally presenting a bill in the Lords to address the issue, which would ask Ofcom to prepare a duty-of-care obligation for online platforms, overseen by an independent and evidenced-based regulator.

Darroch says the government should follow Lord McNally and introduce its own bill and is writing to MPs to ask them to do so.

StarTimes’ Xun Gu to deliver DVB World 2020 keynote

By Julian Clover

The managing director of China’s StarTimes Group, Xun Gu, will be the keynote speaker at DVB World 2020.

StarTimes has established subsidiaries in more than 30 African countries and uses DVB standards to deliver terrestrial and satellite television services to millions of viewers. It is certainly one of the world’s biggest operators of DVB-based services.

Gu will outline the opportunities and challenges, technical and financial, that StarTimes has encountered in the course of exploring new markets and partnerships. The company has used DVB solutions for more than two decades and continues to pay close attention to where new DVB technology is heading, with a view to identifying future opportunities to provide affordable digital TV, especially to viewers in developing countries.

DVB World is being held in Valencia between 9 and 11 March. The programme includes sessions delivered in partnership with the DASH Industry Forum and the Ultra HD Forum, alongside sessions focused on DVB-I, the evolution of broadcast technology, and 5G.

New board members for Zegona

By Chris Dziadul

Zegona has announced its intention to appoint Kjersti Wiklund and Suzi Williams as non-executive directors, effective February 5.

At the same, it has said that Murray Scott has confirmed he will not stand for re-election at Zegona’s next AGM.

Wiklund will join the board as an independent non-executive director and a member of the Audit & Risk Committee. She brings brings significant experience from a series of senior global telecommunications roles, including as director of group technology operations at Vodafone and chief operating officer of VimpelCom. Wiklund has also held senior executive positions at Kyivstar, Digi Telecommunications and Telenor.

Meanwhile, Williams will join the board as an independent non-executive director and a member of the Nomination & Remuneration Committee. She has spent over 25 years in TMT and consumer businesses, most recently as chief brand & marketing officer at BT. Prior to that she held senior leadership roles at Orange, The BBC, KPMG, and Procter & Gamble Europe.

Commenting on the appointments, Eamonn O’Hare, Zegona’s chairman and CEO, said: “I am delighted to welcome two such high calibre individuals to Zegona’s board. Kjersti and Suzi bring a great understanding of our sector enhanced by valuable experience of working on a number of significant public company boards. I am confident they will both make powerful contributions to Zegona as we continue create value for our shareholders. The board and I have also enjoyed working with Murray over the past four and a half years and greatly appreciate the contribution he has made to the early stages of Zegona’s journey”.

Zegona was established in 2015 and invests in businesses in the European telecoms, media and technology sectors. They include the Spanish cable operator Euskaltel.

Severina Pascu joins Virgin Media as CFO and Deputy CEO

By Julian Clover

Severina Pascu is moving from Liberty Global’s Swiss operations to become CFO and Deputy CEO of Virgin Media in the UK.

Ms Pascu will be succeeded at UPC Switzerland by Baptiest Coopmans, Senior Vice President Operations, Liberty Global (see separate story).

In addition to leading the finance function at Virgin Media, Ms Pascu will also be responsible for customer service and field operations as well as logistics and supply chain, reporting to Virgin Media CEO Lutz Schüler. She will also continue to be a member of Liberty Global’s Executive Leadership Team.

“Severina has a fantastic track record in telecoms markets across Europe and has extensive operational and strategic experience which will be invaluable to us at Virgin Media,” said Schüler. “I’m looking forward to Severina joining the team next month as we continue to transform our business and embark on an exciting new growth chapter to help us realize our ambition to become the most recommended brand in our sector for our people and customers.”

Ms. Pascu started her career with Liberty Global as CFO of UPC Romania in 2008 and has experience across operations in Central and Eastern Europe.

Baptiest Coopmans new CEO of UPC Switzerland

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Baptiest Coopmans will become the new CEO of cable operator UPC Switzerland on February 1, 2020.

Coopmans will replace Severina Pascu who took over the CEO position of Liberty Global’s Swiss cable subsidiary almost one and a half year ago. Pascu will stay in the Liberty Global group and support the company’s largest subsidiary, UK cable operator Virgin Media, as deputy CEO and CFO.

Coopmans joined Liberty Global in 2013 as the CEO and managing director of UPC Netherlands, where he led the merger of UPC and Ziggo. He currently oversees technology, network and operations for Liberty Global across Europe as well as the services it delivers to other operators.

Like Pascu, in his new role Coopmans will also oversee Liberty Global’s operations in Poland and Slovakia.

“I am very much looking forward to my new role and to having the opportunity to further execute and build on Switzerland’s growth plan, which Severina has successfully initiated,” said Coopmans. “The Swiss market is challenging and highly competitive, but leads the way in Europe as far as innovation and digitisation are concerned. I’m excited to work with the highly skilled Swiss team and to lead UPC in the second phase of its growth plan.”

Discovery rings in the changes in Ukraine

By Chris Dziadul

Discovery has made far reaching changes to its Ukrainian operation, closing its office in the capital, Kiev.

At the same time, reports Telekritika, citing several representatives of pay-TV providers, it has dismissed two Ukrainian distribution managers.

Both actions happened at the end of 2019 and since the beginning of this year the distribution of Discovery channels in the country has been overseen by the group’s Bulgarian office.

It adds that the reason for this is the disappointing performance of Discovery channels in Ukraine.

The two regional managers who left the group were Anton Korchemakha, who was responsible for the distribution of Discovery channels in the Baltic States and Belarus, and Vladimir Zinchenko, who was responsible for Ukraine.

The Bulgarian office is headed by Yekaterina Mikhailovich.

Arthur Dreyfuss named director-general Altice MΓ©dias France

By Julian Clover

Arthur Dreyfuss, secretary-general, Altice France/SFR, has been appointed director general of Altice Médias France.

An internal statement, reported by French media, says the close confident of owner Patrick Drahi will replace Damien Barnet.

34-year-old Dreyfuss held several positions in government including justice, foreign affairs and transport. He was also deputy spokesperson for the Chancellery before becoming Director of Consulting at Havas.

He joined the Altice Group in 2014 as Communications Director of Altice NV before also becoming Secretary General of Altice France / SFR, of which he has been a member of the Executive Committee since 2018.

Grégory Rabuel, executive director general public and companies of SFR, is named general manager of SFR.

Top management changes at ViacomCBS

By Chris Dziadul

ViacomCBS Networks International has unveiled a simplified management structure designed to maximise growth.

It will result in the creation of two brand groups and three pan-regional management hubs, reporting to David Lynn, president, CEO of ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI).

Kerry Taylor, currently executive VP of MTV International and CMO for VCNI UK, has been promoted to executive VP of VCNI Entertainment & Youth Brands reporting to David Lynn and Chris McCarthy, president of entertainment & youth brands, ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks. Taylor’s new remit will include international oversight of MTV, Comedy Central, Paramount Network and BET.

Taylor will continue to work closely with Bruce Gillmer, executive VP, Music, Music & Talent programming/Events ViacomCBS. Jill Offman who previously led Comedy Central and Paramount Network internationally will be dedicated to the international studio business, as executive VP of ViacomCBS International Studios UK.

Jules Borkent has been promoted to executive VP, VCNI Kids & Family, reporting to David Lynn and Brian Robbins, president, Kids & Family Entertainment, ViacomCBS Domestic Media Networks.

Commenting on the appointments, Lynn said: Lynn said: “Kerry and Jules are exceptional creative and strategic professionals. Kerry brings equal parts marketing acumen and a genuine connection to the global youth zeitgeist that has driven MTV’s successful international franchise strategy and ratings success. Jules is a respected industry voice, who’s dedicated to bringing unique and diverse content to Nickelodeon audiences around the world.”

He added: “Consolidating our international flagship brands into two groups will simplify our structure and more closely align our business with ViacomCBS’ US brands, enabling us to share more content and resources across our different brands and extract maximum value from our content investment and libraries.”

In VCNI’s pan-regional leadership, Maria Kyriacou, who most recently was president of International for ITV Studios, will now join the newly expanded division on February 3, 2020 with a new brief as president, ViacomCBS Networks UK & Australia, which includes responsibility for Ireland, New Zealand and Israel.

At the same time, Raffaele Annecchino, who is currently president of the division’s operations across Southern and Western Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will also take on an expanded role in the new structure, with additional responsibility for the company’s operations in Northern and Eastern Europe and key Asian markets.

JC Acosta will be the third of the division’s senior pan-regional leaders, having recently been promoted to become president, ViacomCBS Networks Americas. In this role, Acosta will be responsible for the company’s operations across Latin America – including the key markets of Argentina, Brazil and Mexico – as well as in Canada and the US Hispanic market.

Borkent and Acosta succeed Pierluigi Gazzolo, who prior to his recently announced promotion to president of Studios and OTT for ViacomCBS Networks International was president, VCNI Americas and executive VP of Nickelodeon International.

Lynn commented: “ViacomCBS is truly a global leader in terms of the quality, volume and range of content we produce and own and we aim to exploit the incredible pipelines at our disposal to deliver exceptional growth across international markets, not just for ourselves but for our partners as well. With Maria joining and with newly expanded roles for Raffaele, JC , Pier, Kerry and Jules we have an exceptional leadership team in place and a simplified structure that allows us to be more tightly focused on seeking out the most attractive opportunities to license our brands, content and IP in the highest value and fastest growing international markets, with a particular focus on accelerating our streaming strategy.”

As a result of these regional changes, Mark Whitehead, president & MD of VCNI Asia Pacific, will be leaving the company, at the end of this month.

Lynn added: “I am extremely grateful for Mark’s many contributions to our ongoing success. He has played the leading role in transforming our operations across Asia to the point where they have just delivered their highest ever rate of annual growth. Mark leaves us excellently positioned in key markets across the region to continue on an exceptional growth trajectory.”

Nicki Sheard back at BBC as CMO, BBC Studios

By Julian Clover

Sheard is returning to the BBC from Charlotte Tilbury Beauty, where she has been CMO since 2017, leading its digital transformation.

At BBC Studios, Sheard will lead the commercial exploitation of the BBC’s programme brands such as Doctor Who, Top Gear and Strictly Come Dancing/Dancing With The Stars, as well as BBC Earth, BBC First and BBC Brit channel brands.

Nicki Sheard commented: “I’m thrilled to join BBC Studios as it continues to create and commercialise world-famous programmes across almost every genre. I can see the many opportunities for our programme-makers, branded services and brands both in the UK and beyond, and I am excited by the chance to play a part in its next stage of growth. I have always loved the BBC’s brands, content and purpose, and look forward to working with colleagues old and new as CMO of BBC Studios.”

Tim Davie, CEO, BBC Studios, added: “Nicki is a supreme talent, who has proven herself many times over as a positive force for growth and transformation. She brings fantastic strategic capability, proven marketing credentials and a deep understanding and love of our programmes and brands to BBC Studios. Nicki will play a critical role taking our bold British creativity to new customers, audiences and opportunities the world over.”

During her previous spell at the BBC, Sheard was head of marketing in BBC News, working on both the BBC News Channel and online news. As Director, Marketing & Audiences for Radio & Music, she launched the BBC iPlayer Radio app, the forerunner to BBC Sounds, and BBC Radio 4 Extra (the former Radio 7), and worked on pan-BBC brand strategy.

In 2014 she moved to King Digital Entertainment, where, as FVP, Brand she led Candy Crush’s move into franchise entertainment, including a Candy Crush series for CBS, on which she acted as Executive Producer, and oversaw a high volume of launch and licensing activity for the brand.

She started her career at Procter & Gamble in brand management, before joining McKinsey & Co. to work across a variety of consumer and media clients.

EVS recruits new management members

By Chris Dziadul

EVS has announced three key internal promotions aimed at strengthening the management team and accelerating the company’s worldwide growth.

Benoit Quirynen, who joined EVS in August 2016 as SVP market & product,has been appointed SVP Strategy. In this newly created role, he will work closely with CEO Serge Van Herck, enabling strategic partnership cooperations and providing overall strategic guidance to steer the company towards its business objectives. Prior to EVS, he spent most of his career leading transformational change in a wide range of businesses and through various management functions.

Nicolas Bourdon has been promoted from his position as SVP marketing to CMO. Over the past 14 years, he has directly contributed to today’s positioning of EVS as a worldwide leader in the industry. As EVS’ new CMO, he will be managing the global market solutions activities from ideation to market delivery. He will also be responsible for overseeing the company’s global marketing, learning and community management activities.

Quentin Grutman has taken on the role of chief customer officer to lead all EVS’ customer facing teams: Sales, Presales, Project Management and Customer Service. Having led EVS EMEA for five years and EVS Americas for the past four years, he has demonstrated he has the right expertise, experience and energy to drive EVS towards its ambitious goals and strengthen relationships with its customers on a global scale.

Commenting on the three appointments, EVS’ CEO, Serge Van Herck said: “Our broadcast industry is going through fundamental changes and by promoting these experienced and passionate leaders to their new roles, I’m convinced we’ll be able to better leverage their expertise and accelerate EVS’ growth at this pivotal moment in the industry.”

All three officially took up their roles on January 1, 2020.

Angel Olabuenaga Buron joins Euskaltel

By Chris Dziadul

Angel Olabuenaga Buron has been appointed the CFO of the Spanish cable operator Euskaltel.

He replaces Jon Anders de las Fuentes, who has left the company.

Buron has more than 19 years of experience in multinational business, most recently as CFO-Latin America for Vestas.

Commenting on his appointment, Eamonn O’Hare, chairman and CEO of Zegona, said: “We see Angel’s arrival as a very positive sign for Euskaltel. We expect his strong operational finance experience will provide valuable support to José Miguel and the rest of the management team as they continue to build on the momentum they have already demonstrated in transforming Euskaltel into a more operationally focussed business.”

Malgorzata Seck returns to Canal+

By Chris Dziadul

Malgorzata Seck has been appointed VP of the programming department at Canal+ Polska.

In her new role she will assume the duties until now held by Edyta Sadowska, who is also the company’s CEO.

Seck will be responsible for, amongst others, programming strategy, the development of proprietary channels, local productions, cooperation with external channels and strategic business partnerships.

Seck has over 20 years’ experience in TV and VOD. She was with Orange Polska for four years and at Netia between 2013-14.

In the period 1998-2013 she worked for Canal+ Cyfrowy.

She was due to take up a position at T-Mobile Polska this month but decided not to.

Former Sky Sports boss Barney Francis to leave company

By Julian Clover

Long serving Sky Sports executive Barney Francis is to depart the Comcast-owned broadcaster later this year.

Francis spent ten years at the helm of the premium sports brand, taking over from Vic Wakeling in 2009.

However, in May 2019 Francis was appointed chief executive of future sport and replaced by Rob Webster as Sky Sports’ managing director.

In a statement issued by Sky over Twitter, Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s group chief executive, said: “During his time at Sky, Barney has transformed Sky Sports, building a world class team and leaving a fantastic legacy. We wish him the very best from us for the future.”

Barney Francis is leaving Sky later this year, after more than 20 years in @SkySports ?????????? pic.twitter.com/17eZMmV9pb

— Sky Corporate (@SkyCorporate) January 6, 2020

Francis added: “I’ve been privileged to work for this great company for more than two decades. It’s been the stuff of dreams for a guy who grew up as a sports-nut.

“Yet the time is right to move on to new adventures in a changing world. I leave with thanks for the support of all our customers who have enjoyed Sky Sports during my time, and of course my colleagues and friends who I will miss greatly.”

Francis joined sky in 2001 and was executive producer of its cricket coverage until 2007, when he became executive producer for football.