As expected, former Showtime executive Mark Greenberg has been tapped to head the premium entertainment joint venture from Viacom, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Lionsgate.
Greenberg will lead the joint venture, which is expected to launch in fall 2009, as its president and CEO, with responsibilities for its management and development.
Although structural specifics have been scant since its April 20 announcement, the joint venture has been called a next-generation premium TV service that will include a video on demand component. It will showcase new and library films, plus TV series, from Paramount, Paramount Vantage, MGM, United Artists and Lionsgate.
Greenberg was a veteran of Showtime Networks Inc., part of Viacom until 2006, when the premium service was integrated into CBS Corp., when that company was split off under the direction of Les Moonves. Viacom, the lead investor in the premium network JV, will lead its marketing and distribution efforts. The fledgling service has yet to announce a distribution partner.
Formerly executive vice president for SNI, Greenberg, who left the company in March 2006, was responsible for the development, management and execution of corporate strategy, business planning, new business development, digital media, research and international. Greenberg also headed the operation of Showtime's sales and affiliate marketing efforts. During his tenure, hel aunched Showtime On-Demand, HDTV and other media properties and led the company's sports and event programming group (SET) and pay per view initiatives.
More recently, he served as a consultant for Blockbuster, a potential partner for the venture, according to reports.
Greenberg was in New Orleans for NCTA's The Cable Show '08, but was not immediately available for comment.
He did issue the following statement: “I feel privileged to work with such a well respected group of executives and to lead a venture with such an extraordinary collection of motion picture and television content. This is an industry-altering opportunity to reinvent the premium television category and deliver first run movies, library content and original television programming in a way that takes full advantage of current and emerging technologies. I am excited about working closely with our distribution partners to develop new and creative ways to deliver premium entertainment to consumers.”
Speaking on behalf of the CEOs of the partner companies, Jon Feltheimer, Lionsgate co-chairman and CEO Jon Feltheimer noted: “Mark, who has spent 25 years in the cable industry with HBO and with Showtime and, most recently served as a strategic advisor to me at Lionsgate, is the perfect executive to fill this important leadership role. With his long and successful track record in the premium pay television arena, his extensive business development expertise and long-standing relationships with programmers and distributors, Mark will be a big contributor as we shape the service's linear and digital strategy and bring important new innovations to consumers in the premium television category.”
For more news from NCTA's The Cable Show '08, click here.