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Today β€” November 12th 2019Broadband TV News: People

A+E Networks names leadership team

By Chris Dziadul

Dean Possenniskie, MD, A+E Networks, Europe, Middle East and Africa, has named a central management team for the EMEA region.

Drawn from A+E Networks UK and reporting directly to him, it sees Heather Jones continuing in her role as senior VP of Content & Creative, EMEA, overseeing the strategy and execution of the programming, marketing, creative, communications and research functions for the EMEA region. In addition, she continues as general manager, UK and serving as chairperson of COBA UK.

Meanwhile, Adrian Pilkington, senior VP commercial and digital, EMEA, will have responsibility for all revenue lines and commercial activities, including distribution, ad sales and sponsorships. The role will focus on continued innovation of pay-TV brands and building new digital partnerships. Pilkington will also continue as general manager for Northern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Mark Neil senior VP finance, EMEA, will consolidate and lead financial management for the EMEA region and Karl Burnett, VP, HR, EMEA will be responsible for leading the people strategy for the group.

Matt Westrup VP technology and operations, will lead on technology deployment, distribution and post production, with linear and digital partners, and manage leading transformational change projects.

Commenting on the team, Possenniskie said: “There is great potential for this new central team; they will work closely with our experienced General Managers and their talented teams to leverage A+E Networks EMEA’s combined scale and quality to continue to deliver growth in the changing media landscape.”

Before yesterdayBroadband TV News: People

Susanna Dinnage to leave Discovery, Nancy Daniels to run Animal Planet

By Julian Clover

Susanna Dinnage, Global President of Animal Planet, is to leave parent Discovery after 10 years.

The channel is being moved to Discovery’s factual division, where it will come under the remit of Nancy Daniels.
Dinnage has been in charge of Animal Planet since September 2017.

Last November Dinnage was named as the new chief executive of the Premier League, but six weeks later it was announced she would remain at Discovery after all.

Since joining Discovery in 2009, she has served in several leadership roles, including as general manager of the UK and Benelux businesses, and most recently as President of UK/Ireland and Chief Content Officer for Discovery Networks International.

Spacecom CEO David Pollack steps down

By Julian Clover

The chief executive of Spacecom is to step down after 24 years.

Pollack helped establish the Israeli satellite operator and raised funds for the AMOS satellites programme on the Tel-Aviv stock exchange.

He joined Spacecom from Israel Aerospace Industries, where he held several key positions in the Space Systems Division, and was responsible for international cooperation ventures.

A 2016 launchpad explosion cost the company its AMOS-6 satellite, a $95 million contract with Facebook and a $285 million acquisition deal by Shanghai’s Xinwei Technology.

However, after a troublesome 24 months, Spacecom returned to profitability in 2018.

No announcement has been made as to Pollack’s successor.

Jukka Leinonen to lead Telenor’s Nordic cluster

By Julian Clover

Jukka Leinonen, CEO of Finnish telco DNA, has been appointed head of Telenor Group’s newly formed Nordic cluster.

Leinonen will be part of Telenor’s Group Executive Management and assume the role of chair of Telenor Sweden and Telenor Denmark. He will retain his responsibilities as CEO of DNA in Finland.

“Jukka Leinonen is a well reputed telco leader with more than 30 years in the ICT industry. He has been instrumental in making DNA into the successful business it is today. The position of DNA and its continuous growth is truly impressive. Leinonen’s growth mindset and experience from the highly digital Finnish market is perfect for leading the new Nordic cluster and for joining Telenor Group’s management,” says Sigve Brekke, President & CEO, Telenor Group.

Leinonen has worked at DNA, Telenor Group’s newest company, since 2010. He joined DNA as Senior Vice President, Corporate Business and was appointed CEO of DNA in 2013. From 2002-2009 he held various senior management positions in corporate business sales, marketing and product management at TeliaSonera Ltd. Before this, from 1996-1999, he served as President and CEO for Sonera Solutions Oy.

Anders Harrysson takes Net Insight role

By Chris Dziadul

Anders Harrysson has been appointed the interim CEO Net Insight with immediate effect.

This follows the earlier announcement that Crister Fritzson will assume the role no later than April 14, 2020.

As Henrik Sund, the current CEO, will leave his position on October 31 the company’s board of directors has chosen Harrysson to secure the transition.

Harrysson has experience from senior executive positions in the IT industry and has been a board member of Net Insight since 2010.

Commenting on the development, Gunilla Fransson, chairman of the board of Net Insight, said: ”I would like to thank Henrik Sund for his contributions during his tenure as CEO. Henrik has together with the management team laid a solid foundation for the strategic direction of the company, with increased focus on customer and growth. Net Insight is well positioned for the next development phase”.

Viaccess-Orca recruits Guillaume Forbin

By Chris Dziadul

Guillaume Forbin has been appointed chief security officer at Viaccess-Orca (VO).

Commenting on the development, Paul Molinier, CEO of VO, said: “Guillaume’s extensive experience in content protection and fight against piracy with major content owners and distributors is a valuable addition to the VO team.

“In today’s digital video era, new forms of piracy are constantly evolving, threatening content monetisation and brand reputations. Leveraging his experience, Guillaume will ensure that our content security solutions and services are stronger than ever, assuring our customers can design efficient content protection strategies for secure delivery of premium content on every screen.”

Forbin was previously director, platform and content security at OSN, where he responsible for securing its pay-TV distribution platform and protecting premium exclusive content against a wide variety of piracy threats.

Prior to OSN, he led The Walt Disney Company’s content security efforts throughout EMEA and also participated in the development of multiple Sagemcom devices as well as Sony Bravia TV sets throughout the course of his career.

In addition, VO has announced two new promotions within the ranks to further strengthen iits leadership team.

Philippe Lasry is now executive VP of solutions marketing and Arnaud Alvarez the executive VP of global sales.

Jacek Balicki resigns from Platforma Canal+

By Chris Dziadul

Jacek Balicki has stepped down from his position of VP of the management board, marketing at Poland’s Platforma Canal+.

The board of ITI Neovision, the operator of Platforma Canal+, has decided not to replace him with a new person but instead split his responsibilities between Joanna Kloskowska, the director of marketing content department, and Grzegorz Skowron-Moszkowicz, the director of the customer value management department, with both reporting directly to the members of the board.

Balicki was been with the company since 2014.

Although he will relinquish his duties in the next few days he will formally remain with Platforma Canal+ until April 2020.

Veon appoints joint COOs

By Chris Dziadul

Veon has named Kaan Terzioglu and Sergi Herrero as the group’s joint COOs.

The latter joined Veon from Facebook on September 1, while the former will join on November 1.

Commenting on the appointments, Ursula Burns, Veon’s chairman and CEO, said: “The pairing of Kaan and Sergi creates a formidable combination for Veon with each bringing complementary skills and experience. Together they will work to accelerate the delivery of our strategy and reflect the continued strengthening of our senior leadership team.”

Terzioglu joins as a member of Veon’s group executive committee and reports to Burns. He will focus on executing the transformation of the core connectivity business. Meanwhile, Herrero will continue as COO, focused on developing new revenue streams. He will also be a member of the group executive committee. As co-COOs, they will jointly drive the growth agenda of accelerating Veon’s core connectivity business while developing new high growth adjacent digital revenues and venture businesses.

Kjell Johnsen, the current group COO, will step down from his position on November 1 but will continue to support the group as an adviser.

Burns said: “I’d like to thank Kjell for his positive impact over the past several years, firstly as the CEO of Beeline Russia and chairman of Wind Italy and most recently as group COO. I look forward to continuing to work with Kjell in his role as an adviser and wish him the best in his new endeavours.”

Allison Kirkby to head Telia

By Chris Dziadul

Allison Kirkby has been appointed the president and CEO of Telia Group, effective the second quarter of 2020.

Kirkby joins from Denmark’s TDC, which she had headed since late 2018, prior to which she was CEO of Telia rival Tele2.

Her widely anticipated appointment follows the sudden departure of Johan Dennelind in August.

Commenting on the appointment, Marie Ehrling, chair of the board of Telia Company, said: “Telia Company’s board of directors is today very happy and proud to announce that Allison will become president and CEO of Telia Company. Allison possesses all the qualities that have been on our list of requirements during the recruitment process. She has a solid industry experience from both telecom and media, a strong drive to implement change, a visionary approach and a strong focus on growth.

“Furthermore, Allison has in her career shown a powerful leadership that engages and inspires. That is a prerequisite to successfully implement the formative changes that Telia Company is currently undergoing with regards to new business models, new ways of working and rapid technology development. Allison will drive Telia Company further in the company’s ambition to be the leading operator in the Nordics and Baltics.”

Kirkby joins in the midst of Telia Company’s proposed acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting, which includes commercial channel TV4 and the C More group.

Kirkby added: “I’m delighted and extremely honoured to be appointed president and CEO of Telia Company. Given its unique assets, scale and leadership position, Telia Company has the ability to be a role model for the global telco industry and bring the benefits of digitalisation to all its stakeholders, especially its customers and owners. I am really looking forward to getting to know the Telia team as we work together to take Telia Company forward.”

At one time Kirkby was thought to be in the running to replace Gavin Patterson as CEO of BT, where she holds a position on the board.

Christian Luiga will remain as acting president and CEO and then return to his role as executive VP of CFO of Telia Company.

Martina Rutenbeck joins IPTV platform BrightBlue

By JΓΆrn Krieger

Martina Rutenbeck will drive the development of IPTV platform BrightBlue for German fibre-optic network operator Deutsche Glasfaser.

The focus is on marketing and sales of the white label offer to B2B partners. Rutenbeck, who took up her new position on October 1, 2019, will be responsible for the expansion and distribution of the products and features as well as the extension to other target groups.

“I look forward to working with the BrightBlue team to further expand the reach of the B2B platform and contribute to the company’s growth through a dynamic development,” said Rutenbeck. “Today’s IPTV market offers a large field of activity for a company that can provide its B2B partners with high technical reliability and the necessary speed to deliver an exciting and competitive portfolio with high customer retention potential and thus also add value to their network investments. Based on linear television, it will be important to offer the viewer a time-independent, modern TV experience and to market it as well.”

Deutsche Glasfaser launched BrightBlue in June 2018 as an IPTV solution for network operators aiming to offer their own TV service. The white label product, which can be purchased as a complete solution or in modules, targets small and medium-sized fibre-optic, cable and VDSL network operators. Since its foundation, 23 B2B customers have opted for the BrightBlue platform.

The line-up comprises over 300 TV channels, of which more than 125 are in HD quality, over 150 radio stations and more than 50 apps as well as cloud-based interactive functions. TV streaming in 4K quality is also part of the multiscreen platform. Rutenbeck will be responsible for platform expansion and marketing in German-speaking countries.

With Martina Rutenbeck, BrightBlue gains an executive with more than 30 years of experience in telecommunications, cable, satellite and broadband networks. Most recently, Rutenbeck, together with partners, set up service provider content4tv, which supplies network and platform operators with distribution rights for TV channels. Prior to that, she spent 12 years at satellite operator Eutelsat as managing director of KabelKiosk, a TV and service platform for network operators acquired by M7 Group in 2014.

Shane McCarthy named Irdeto COO, Video Entertainment

By Julian Clover

Irdeto has appointed Shane McCarthy as chief operating officer of its video entertainment business, the security company has announced.

McCarthy has held a series of roles at the set-top box company Pace, including as President of its international business. He’s spent the past five years as a consultant in the media and entertainment and technology sectors.

At Irdeto he’ll be responsible for strategy within the international business.

“With an already thriving business providing security to many of the major players across the video entertainment space, this is a very exciting time to join Irdeto and help take the business to the next level,” said McCarthy.

“As our market and customers evolve, it’s important that Irdeto evolves in tandem to continue to ensure optimal security and service to our current and future customers,” added Doug Lowther, Chief Executive Officer, Irdeto. “The creation of the COO role is designed to do this while advancing Irdeto’s global business. Shane McCarthy brings a wealth of experience to Irdeto which will be invaluable in further accelerating our progress.”

Irdeto says its software security technology and cyberservices protect over 5 billion devices and applications for some of the world’s best-known brands.

A+E Networks promotes Glen Hansen and Ellen Lovejoy to SVP sales roles

By Robert Briel

A+E Networks International Division has promoted Glen Hansen to Senior Vice President of Content Sales in the Asia-Pacific region, and Ellen Lovejoy to Senior Vice President and Head of Sales in the Americas and Formats.

Both report to Managing Director, Content Sales & Co-productions Richard Tulk-Hart, effective immediately.

Hansen’s new role will expand upon his duties as Vice President of Content Sales in the Asia-Pacific markets to include Territory Manager across Australia & New Zealand. Since joining A+E Networks in 2014, Hansen has overseen international content sales across Asia-Pacific, developing and implementing sales strategies for A+E’s programming catalogue in the developing region.

Hansen came to A+E Networks International from Zodiak Rights, where he was Senior VP of Sales and Acquisitions for the North American market. Prior to Zodiak Hansen worked as Head of Sales for Finished Programming and Formats at Fox Look, and Senior VP of Sales and Acquisitions at Target Entertainment and Granada International (now ITV).

In her new role, Lovejoy will expand her leadership responsibilities in the region as well as continue to grow A+E Networks’ format business around the world. Lovejoy joined A+E Networks in 2011 when she was brought on as Senior Director, International Content Sales overseeing sales into Australia, NZ and Canada. She was promoted to Vice President in 2013 expanding her remit to launch a global format sales business, and again to Vice President, Head of Sales, Americas and Formats, in 2017 taking responsibility for the Americas region and expansion of A+E’s off-net US strategy.

Originally based in London as Head of Sales for Beyond Distribution, Lovejoy moved to New York to set up their US sales office in 2002. She then moved to Target Entertainment Ltd, where she served as SVP Sales & Programming in 2003, overseeing the Americas.

Support for 5G Media Action Group

By Julian Clover

More than 30 organisations have now signed up to the 5G Media Action Group (5G-MAG).

Launched at IBC 2019, 5G-MAG is designed to be a new association for the use of 5G in the media sector.

The cross industry organisation comprises network operators, component and technology solution suppliers, equipment manufacturers, R&D organisations, regulators and policy makers.

It held its first General Assembly on Wednesday at the EBU Headquarters in Geneva.

“Much has been said about the potential for 5G networks to play a central role in media delivery in future. One of the big challenges, however, is to ensure that new 5G features such as broadcast capabilities are supported by network infrastructure and user devices,” said Antonio Arcidiacono, EBU Director of Technology & Innovation.

Arcidiacono said while 5G services were sure to appear in the major metropolitan areas, the media-related applications that are of most interest to broadcasters require a reliable wide area network coverage close to 100% of the population and 100% of the territory.

Net Insight AB appoints Crister Fritzson as CEO

By Robert Briel

The board of Net Insight AB has appointed Crister Fritzson as its new CEO.

Crister will lead the transformation and expansion of Net Insight that the company has embarked upon. He will assume his new position during the first half of 2020. Crister has extensive experience of managing companies within the Telecom and Broadcasting industry. Crister currently holds the positions as CEO and group CEO of SJ AB.

“I and the entire board are very pleased with having recruited Crister as the company’s CEO. His experience of the industry and international cooperation as well as a shown ability to successfully lead organizations during changes will be an important asset for the company,” said Gunilla Fransson, chairman of the board of Net Insight.

Crister currently holds the positions as CEO of SJ AB and head of the SJ group. He has previously held positions as the CEO and group CEO of Teracom and Boxer TV Access AB. In addition, Crister has held several senior management positions with Motorola and Allgon Systems. Crister has been a member of the board of Net Insight since 2013.

“I’m glad and proud to have the board’s trust and look forward to leading the company in its next phase and international expansion together with all the innovation capability the company possess”, added Crister Fritzson.

Crister Fritzson will replace the current CEO, Henrik Sund, who will leave the company during the fall.

1+1 Media promotes Oksana Petryshyn

By Chris Dziadul

Oksana Petryshyn has been appointed the acting general producer of Tet TV, which is part of Ukraine’s 1+1 Media Group’s TV business.

She joined 1+1 Media in 2010 and has been head of Paramount Comedy, a joint venture between 1+1 Media channel and Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN), since 2017.

According to Maxim Kryvitsky, the head of the TV business and a board member of 1+1 Media, she will also continue in this role.

Meanwhile, Viktoria Levchenko, who has been the general producer of Tet TV since 2015, took on the role of head of the business unit 1+1 Production on September 16.

1+1 Media has introduced a new structure under which the group is now divided into business units and corporate services.

Former AMC’s Marco Frazier joins Pantomimus Media

By Robert Briel

Marco Frazier, former Senior VP of International Distribution for Digital & New Platforms at AMC Networks, has joined the UK-based entertainment company Pantomimus Media Limited as Head of Corporate Development.

Frazier will work directly with Pantomimus’ Managing Director Roberto Ricci to expand The Red Harlequin franchise across multiple platforms worldwide.

“I am delighted to work alongside Roberto, a true visionary and the creative talent behind The Red Harlequin. I have been deeply impressed by how he and his team have brought this unique series to life and look forward to bringing it to viewers around the world,” commented Frazier.

Roberto Ricci added, “I have known Marco for over twenty years and have always been impressed by his professionalism and long-standing TV industry expertise. His wealth of experience in content distribution across traditional and new platforms comes at a great time for The Red Harlequin.”

Frazier has over 20 years’ experience leading distribution and business development across the globe for international programmers and broadcasters. Prior to joining Pantomimus, Frazier managed international distribution for AMC Networks as its Senior VP of International Distribution for Digital & New Platforms.

He was the first senior AMC executive to be based outside of the USA, and was also part of the original management team for ESPN in EMEA following the broadcaster’s sale of its Eurosport holding. Frazier has worked extensively with SVOD services and maintains strong relationships with digital media platforms and virtual MVPDs such as Amazon and YouTube TV, in the US and internationally. He has also been instrumental in launching multiple thematic pay TV channels and brands while building multi-million pound revenue streams for major international broadcasters.

The Red Harlequin is an epic fantasy drama set in a world divided into six disparate Chrome nations, where citizens must wear masks bearing the color of their homeland: the affluent Reds, the nomadic Greens, the all-male and all-female Yellow and Orange nations, the enigmatic Violets, and the brutal Blues, a nation of fierce Spartan warriors. Backed by Finnish Media Fund, IPR, The Red Harlequin is being developed for TV with Rick Porras (co-producer of The Lord of the Rings) and Showrunner Robert Butler (Co-creator of the BBC/DHX Creeped Out anthology series).

The brainchild of ex-journalist and kids entertainment executive Roberto Ricci, The Red Harlequin is also being developed as a transmedia concept across publishing, games and music, with publishing as the first key pillar. To date, the series consists of books and graphic novel adaptations. The series has been translated in French, Russian, Turkish and Kazakh.

Richard Halliwell new managing director of NENT Studios UK

By Robert Briel

Nordic Entertainment Group has appointed Richard Halliwell as Managing Director of the newly formed NENT Studios UK, which comprises NENT Group’s content production and distribution businesses in the UK. Halliwell will report to Jakob Mejlhede Andersen, CEO of NENT Studios UK.

Halliwell will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of NENT Studios UK, and will leverage his extensive experience to focus on the development, funding and distribution of a wide range of scripted and non-scripted content for the international market. NENT Studios UK intends to make substantial content investments in the UK and internationally, primarily for NENT Group’s rapidly growing Viaplay streaming service.

Halliwell will combine his new role with his current position as CEO of DRG, an international content development and distribution company based in London and part of NENT Studios UK. This will ensure that NENT Studios UK productions are fully supported and monetised by DRG’s global development and distribution capabilities.

NENT Studios UK CEO Jakob Mejlhede Andersen has extensive hands-on knowledge of Viaplay’s target audience and a successful track record within streamed storytelling from his previous role as NENT Group Head of Content, most recently based in Los Angeles.

Richard Halliwell, Managing Director of NENT Studios UK: “I am delighted to take on this role and look forward to working closely with Jakob and the team. NENT Group is a dynamic force in content, and I will bring my experience of developing, financing and distributing a wide range of programming to expand the international capabilities of the business even further. Our aim is to establish NENT Studios UK quickly as an ambitious global content powerhouse that partners with the very best producers and platforms.”

Jakob Mejlhede Andersen, CEO of NENT Studios UK: “Richard has a strong reputation in the market and I am delighted that we can use his unique experience to accelerate the development of NENT Studios UK. Our complementary skills, together with a shared passion for great storytelling, mean that I can think of no better partner to help drive this exciting new business.”

NENT Studios, which brings together NENT Group’s content production and distribution businesses, operates through three divisions – Nordics and Central & Eastern Europe; the UK; and the US. NENT Studios comprises 32 companies in 17 countries and is behind acclaimed works in genres ranging from factual, documentary and reality to game shows, lifestyle and drama.

(Photo courtesy NENT, Matthew Joseph)

James Murdoch buys into Vice Media

By Julian Clover

A holding company set up by James Murdoch is to acquire a minority stake in Vice Media Group.

The younger son of Rupert Murdoch and former chief executive of 21st Century Fox created Lupa Systems earlier this year with the intention of building a new portfolio of media companies.

Murdoch received around $2 billion as his personal share of the $71 billion sale of 21st Century Fox to Disney.

The Financial Times, which first reported the story, said the size of the stake was not known, but the investment was ‘small’. Murdoch has sat on the board of the millennial digital media outlet for a number of years.

Lupa acquired stakes in a comic book publisher and the Tribeca Film Festival as the son attempts to distance himself from the conservative leanings of his father

Vice, which developed a reputation for its edgy videos, has subsequently been through a series of reorganiations under its new CEO Nancy Dubuc.

In May it raised $250 million in debt from investors including George Soros. Fortress Investment Group LLC and Monroe Capital were also in the consortium.

Eutelsat promotes Marie-Sophie Rouzaud

By Chris Dziadul

Marie-Sophie Rouzaud has been appointed group chief human resources officer at Eutelsat, effective early 2020.

On the same date she will also become a member of the group’s executive committee.

Rouzaud has served as the company’s head of international human resources since 2017.

She has more than 20 years of experience, with a focus on international team management, talent building and corporate change.

She has spent her entire professional career working for high-tech companies: after holding several senior positions at Alcatel-Lucent, she joined Technicolor in 2011. Her responsibilities included driving the integration of employees during Technicolor’s acquisition of Cisco’s Connected Objects business unit.

Rouzaud will succeed Antoine Mingalon who, after three years at Eutelsat has made the decision to leave the company to pursue other professional projects as of early 2020.

T-Mobile Polska recruits Jakub Pancewicz

By Chris Dziadul

Jakub Pancewicz has been appointed the new director of terminal and supply management at T-Mobile Polska, effective beginning of November.

Together with his team he will be fully responsible for the entire process and strategy of device management for both the B2B and B2C areas.

In what is a newly created department, he will also manage all supply chain processes for T-Mobile Polska, including inventory management, logistics, returns, repairs, storage and delivery to customers.

Prior to joining T-Mobile Pancewicz was the general director for Poland and Southern and Eastern Europe at Motorola, Lenovo.

He has worked in the telecom sector, both in Poland and abroad, for many years and was associated with Nokia for nearly 16 years.

He collaborated on many mergers and acquisitions and was responsible for creating and managing products, as well managing and restructuring processes.

He also has extensive experience and knowledge in sales and product development.