This is the 10th consecutive year that Multichannel News has chosen a class of 40 executives in and around the multichannel-TV universe to bring to our readers’ attention. This class includes impact-makers in traditional sectors — cable networks, cable providers, cable technology firms — and, increasingly, younger men and women entrepreneurs in new categories of content creation, such as studios that provide shows both for pay TV and for online viewers, and marketing and branding agencies.
As always, each member of in the 2015 class falls within the under-40 age demographic. And, as always, we welcome suggestions from readers as we look to shape this new-every-year list in years to come.
Vice President, College Sports Programming, ESPN
Dubbed “one of the most powerful people in the business of college football” by The New York Times, the recently promoted Ilan Ben-Hanan oversees all of ESPN’s college sports rights acquisitions along with the categories of college football, men’s and women’s college basketball, the NCAA Championships and the College Football Playoff.
He has guided the programming team through yearly scheduling grids consisting of more than 500 games across nine platforms — ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3, ESPNEWS, Longhorn Network, the GamePlan pay-per-view service and SEC Network — while ensuring ESPN stays true to its contractual obligations. Under his leadership, ESPN has secured rights to all 10 Football Bowl Subdivision conferences — including long-term deals with each of the five major conferences — and the entire College Football Playoff portfolio, consisting of four separate pacts.
He will play a key role in ESPN’s renewal negotiations with the Big Ten Conference, after being an integral member of the ESPN team that negotiated the multiple rights deals for the College Football Playoff. He has provided direction and vision to every facet of ESPN’s CFP strategy, including programming, ad sales, marketing, affiliate relations and communications. A two-time cancer survivor, he created and was instrumental in the promotion of Jimmy V Week, one of ESPN and The V Foundation for Cancer Research’s biggest fundraisers. Launched in 2007, it has raised more than $8 million so far.
Vice President of Distribution Strategy, Discovery Communications
Armed with more than 15 years of domestic and international media experience with Discovery and other top media brands, Alden Budill is widely regarded among her peers and Discovery’s senior leadership as a key part of the continued success of the company’s domestic distribution team with its portfolio of 13 television networks.
Her concentration is in managing strategic distributor support for joint venture OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, as well as Discovery’s U.S. Hispanic networks, Discovery en Español and Discovery Familia. She has helped promote a wide range of programming, including nonfiction and scripted content on OWN as well as children’s fare and lifestyle shows on the Hispanic networks. For OWN specifically, she was instrumental in cementing affiliate initiatives and partnerships as part of its immediate and long-term strategy. Her work with distributors ranges from custom-content programs and event activations to digital-media stunts and social-media campaigns.
Earlier, Budill served in a variety of senior leadership capacities for Discovery’s International division, most notably as vice president of U.K. affiliate sales and business development for Discovery Networks International after serving as VP of international strategy and mergers and acquisitions. Her career prior to Discovery included posts at Shine Group, MTV Networks, Time Warner Inc. and The Walt Disney Co.
Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer, Metrological
Albert Dahan co-founded Metrological (with Jeroen Ghijsen) in 2005, overseeing the development of its technology. Under his technical leadership, it has grown into the world’s leading application framework supplier, by the company’s description.
Dahan was a key member of the team leading the successful design and deployment of the integrated apps and widget experience for Liberty Global’s Horizon TV multiple-platform TV everywhere product. Most recently, he led the development of the first RDK App Emulator, developed in cooperation with RDK Management, which has tested and certified more than 250 applications as ready for deployment on RDK-based devices. A 17-year software development veteran who taught himself computer programming in BASIC at age 8, Dahan started his career as a software developer for financial-services provider Rabobank ICT, where he was responsible for developing the architecture and back-end technology for the Rabobank website. He was also responsible for multiple Rabobank projects as a consultant.
Metrological offers the Metrological Application Framework, a cloud-based application platform designed for any connected device. Its customers include Tier 1 cable companies and telcos reaching more than 20 million households. Dahan attended St. Lauren’s College in The Netherlands. He is a published author and presenter, specializing in application platforms, software development and media streaming.
Vice President of Social Media Activations & Earned Media, Viacom Velocity
At Viacom for a little over a year, Lydia Daly is social media strategic lead for all integrated marketing executions across MTV, Comedy Central, VH1, Spike and Logo and more in her role with Velocity, a full-service integrated marketing and creative content solutions division. She reports to Velocity’s executive vice president of integrated marketing, Dario Spina.
Last year, Velocity introduced Echo, a marketing product delivering social-by-design campaigns to advertising partners. It has since rolled out the Echo Social Graph, a custom analytics tool that measures the effectiveness and virality of execution. Daly has been an instrumental leader behind the launch of Echo and the introduction of the Echo Social Graph. With more than 40 Echo campaigns in motion, Daly is a critical contributor to Velocity’s leadership team, closely examining past campaigns to decode what is igniting on social media and why. She continues to ramp up Velocity’s predictive capabilities for clients and is a champion of social-media analytics within the integrated marketing and sales groups. Previously, Daly was strategic planning director for JWT in Singapore and New York. She earlier worked in strategy roles at 180 Amsterdam and Meteorite London.
Daly has a bachelor’s degree in international marketing from Dublin City University and attended the Institute of Direct Marketing at King’s College London. She lives in New York.
Director, Video Operations, Viamedia
Brian Eads is an all-around cable operations master. As one of Viamedia’s original employees, he has been instrumental in building its vast video-operations department, which supports cable ad insertion for 60 operators in 71 U.S. markets.
Throughout his 13-year career at Viamedia, Eads has been directly responsible for management, acquisition, processing, quality control and distribution of 1.2 million commercials each day and 438 million spots each year. He also focuses heavily on customer service throughout every aspect of his job. He interfaces directly with the company’s 300 sales executives and its various service divisions to ensure that advertisments air as ordered. He is also responsible for product and partner integrations, workflow design, project management and new-technology evaluations. He has been personally responsible for integration with some of the industry’s largest cable interconnects, technology vendors and compliance regulators.
Eads has been responsible for keeping Viamedia’s video operations technology and capabilities at the forefront of advanced advertising since 2001, managing it all from the central operations center in Lexington, Ky. Prior to joining Viamedia, Eads was a video specialist with TCI (later AT&T Broadband), before joining SeaChange International. Since 2010, he has used his MBA to teach business classes at a local university. Eads, his wife Lena and their three children live in Georgetown, Ky.
BENJAMIN (BJ) ELIAS
Senior Vice President, Distribution, Fox Networks
At Fox Networks, Benjamin (BJ) Elias is responsible for leading the division’s distribution of new media products and services, including authenticated video (TV everywhere) via websites and mobile apps, over-the-top television, video-on-demand and interactive television, plus providing guidance to senior management.
Elias plays a central role in designing the business strategy for Fox’s largest and most financially significant digital rights agreements. He also develops product strategy for expanding distribution of Fox Networks’ suite of TV apps and websites, including Fox Now, FX Now, Fox Sports Go, Nat Geo TV and BTN2Go.
Elias also is a key driver in negotiations with major pay TV providers across wide-ranging digital platforms and has emerged as a leader in working through increasingly complex issues with Fox Broadcasting affiliate stations. He has demonstrated a strong ability to navigate strategically through the constantly shifting TV-distribution landscape.
Prior to joining Fox in 2010, Elias was director of strategy and business development at A+E Networks. Before that, he was Sezmi’s director of content partnerships, negotiating content licenses for the company’s hybrid OTT video service. He has also held business development positions with Yahoo! and CBS. Elias earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and journalism from Emory University and a master’s degree in communications management from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.
Vice President, Products & Solutions, Envivio
You might say Boris Felts’s head has been “turned to the cloud” since he was a child. As a hobby, he crafted and flew kites and sailed in the Mediterranean near Marseille. Now, the cloud is digital and Felts is in the vanguard movement of content in a multiscreen world.
Felts was the first employee and is a major contributor to Envivio, the U.S.-based provider of software video processing and delivery solutions. Before joining Envivio, Felts earned a double master’s of science degree from two of the top-ranked science and telecom universities in France, Ecole Polytechnique and Telecom Paris. Before entering the tech field he served in the military, completing commando training and serving as an officer in the French Navy. During his last university year, he worked with Philips Research in Paris as a research engineer, pursuing his interest in signal processing. His ideas earned him seven patents for video compression.
In 2000 he joined Envivio in San Francisco, where he steadily rose in the executive ranks and, more importantly, added to scientific advances that have enabled today’s successful delivery of multiscreen content. As vice president, Felts is in charge of developing new products and solutions; recruiting talent; advising on areas of business expansion; and is actively involved with Envivio’s Tier 1 clients in the U.S. Outside of the office, he enjoys watching American TV series, playing volleyball and raising his bicultural kids.
Senior Vice President, Corporate Public Relations, Showtime Networks
Johanna Fuentes has been a key member of the corporate communications team since she joined Showtime in 2010. She is responsible for the planning and execution of corporate public relations initiatives for the company’s marketing group, digital and social media teams, film acquisitions, affiliate sales and new business development, including media efforts around Showtime Anytime and the network’s new standalone streaming service.
Fuentes also helps execute long-range communications strategies that raise the profile of the network and its executives. She manages the research analysis and dissemination of the network’s subscriber, ratings and research data to the national media, as well as managing the network’s casting, series pickup and development announcements. She also collaborates on PR trade campaigns throughout awards season and oversees the network’s corporate communications footprint across social media, working hand-in-hand with the entertainment PR and digital marketing teams on social-media efforts for the network’s original series, events and documentaries.
Prior to Showtime, Fuentes served as VP of communications at Bravo, overseeing public-relations strategies and extending the brand into the lifestyle, fashion and business media. She had previously worked for six years at CBS as a director in the entertainment communications group. Fuentes is a graduate of Boston College.
President, Leftfield Entertainment
Recently promoted from head of Leftfield Pictures, David George is president of Leftfield Entertainment, with oversight of all the Leftfield companies: Leftfield Pictures ( Pawn Stars), Loud TV (Tiny House Nation), Sirens Media (Real Housewives of New Jersey), Outpost Entertainment (Brainstormers) and the more recently established Riot Creative.
George, who joined in 2010, has been instrumental in overseeing Leftfield’s programming and development, expanding it from the male-driven “hidden treasures” genre into one of the industry’s top players across the spectrum, including docusoaps, lifestyle series, reality and nonfiction, game shows and crime and thriller series. In addition to Pawn Stars, which continues to deliver strong ratings for History, spinoffs American Restoration, Counting Cars and the game show Pawnography are all from Leftfield’s stable. Leftfield also produces international formats of Pawn Stars in the U.K. and Australia, with deals pending in France and Italy.
George developed high-rated premieres for Bravo (Blood, Sweat and Heels) and History (Counting Cars). Leftfield also produces Lachey’s Bar (A&E), Alone (History), New Money (E!) and Cutting It (WE tv) . Before joining Leftfield, George was an executive for MTV on shows such as Pranked and Parental Control; at 24, he was showrunner on Total Request Live. He also executive produced MTV live events . He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for his work on Legally Blonde: The Musical, the company said.
Sales & Marketing Manager, MCTV
Recently named a Rising Leader by Women in Cable Telecommunications, Katherine Gessner joined MCTV (Massillon Cable TV) as project coordinator in 2008. After attending graduate school at the University of Denver, she returned as sales and marketing manager in 2013.
Gessner is responsible for the planning and execution of the company’s marketing plan; manages the corporate website and digital marketing; oversees the door-to-door sales program; and works closely with the call center and dispatch departments to develop training materials. MCTV serves two markets in northeast Ohio and was founded by Katherine’s grandparents in 1965; her father, Robert Gessner, has run MCTV since the 1990s. Within the next 10 years, Katherine plans to assume leadership of the company.
Prior to joining MCTV, she held positions in marketing and project management at Strad Energy Services in Denver; the University of Denver; and Hermes Sports & Events in Cleveland. She holds a bachelor’s in marketing from Marietta College and an MBA from the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. At Marietta, she also earned minors in Leadership Studies and Sports Management and was a four-year starter in women’s soccer. She currently serves on the Massillon Public Library’s Board of Trustees and the board of the Humane Society of Stark County. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, playing soccer and spending time with family, friends and her dog, Howie.
Chief Business Officer, 3 Ball Entertainment
In his role at 3 Ball Entertainment (formerly Eyeworks USA), Jeff Goldman oversees business development, legal, business affairs and international activities at one of television’s most prolific producers of reality and nonfiction programming for both broadcast and cable.
After joining the company in 2008 to manage international distribution, Goldman rose through the ranks to co-managing director of Eyeworks Distribution, a division he built out of the company’s Los Angeles offices and that ultimately grew into one of the industry’s most robust distribution out- fits for finished product and local formats. Goldman also was a key member of the team that negotiated the deal between Eyeworks and Warner Bros. that led to 3 Ball becoming independent. Goldman handles such series as Extreme Weight Loss (ABC), which, under his oversight, has been sold to more than 130 countries (it airs internationally as Obese); Bar Rescue, in season four for Spike TV; as well as Spike’s newer hits Catch a Contractor and Hungry Investors and the upcoming Sweat Inc., featuring fitness icon Jillian Michaels; My Cat from Hell, in season five for Animal Planet; L.A. Hair, in season four for WE tv; Outback Nation for FYI; Kingin’ With Tyga for MTV2; and Funniest Wins for TBS.
Goldman continues to broker strategic partnerships, distribution and talent deals for 3 Ball . Prior to Eyeworks Distribution, Goldman worked in the William Morris Agency’s television department.
Vice President, Integrated Marketing, IFC
Kim Granito has shepherded integrated campaigns for partners in and around IFC’s original comedy series and used the network’s “slightly off” brand voice as a filter to develop smart, fresh and funny customized offerings, events and packaging. She is responsible for establishing IFC’s positioning within the sales marketplace in everything from the network’s annual upfront campaign to custom sponsor offerings that air across its various platforms.
Granito works closely with series creators to establish partnerships that deliver on brand objectives and enhance the overall IFC viewing experience. Most notable is a longstanding partnership with Subaru around comedy series Portlandia. Granito also developed a number of overt, over-the-top integrations in Comedy Bang! Bang! for Volkswagen and Cheez-It crackers that drew attention to the show’s sponsors but remained true to the context of the series. Similarly, she has successfully developed custom opportunities that look and feel like actual series content, such as GEICO campaigns in each of the last three seasons of Portlandia.
Said Blake Callaway, IFC’s executive VP of marketing and digital media: “Kim has an uncanny ability to balance the needs of IFC with those of our partners. Sponsors value the customized creative solutions, viewers are entertained and IFC sees the revenue upside. She balances IFC’s parallel goals of staying true to its brand vision and voice and driving revenue goals while keeping viewers entertained and engaged.”
Senior Vice President, Managing Director of Production for Latin America & U.S. Hispanic, Sony Pictures Television
Age: 38 Angelica
Guerra has been instrumental in growing Sony Pictures Television’s scripted production business and has played a key role in elevating the teleseries, a hybrid genre blending elements of the telenovela and the U.S. drama, across the Latin American and U.S. Hispanic markets.
In the U.S., her most notable teleseries projects this past year included Metastasis, the Spanish-language adaptation of Breaking Bad, and En La Boca Del Lobo (In the Lion’s Den), about the man who brought down the Cali drug cartel; both aired on UniMas. Another SPT series, Senorita Polvora (Miss Gunpowder), is coming to the network later this year.
Guerra has also been instrumental in establishing strategic production and co-production agreements, which have enabled SPT to bring even more content to the market. Sony currently has a 12-series, five-year co-production deal with Televisa in Mexico, as well as a three-year production deal with U.S. network Telemundo. Prior to joining SPT, he served as executive vice president, content for Caracol Television, responsible for developing and managing Caracol’s growth strategy in Colombia and internationally. Before that she was executive vice president for Gentv, Channel 8, where she coordinated the station’s administrative, financial and commercial operation. Guerra also served as chief financial officer for Tepuy (now Telemundo International).
Vice President, Advanced Advertising Product & Strategy, Comcast Cable
Rob Holmes works with Comcast Spotlight, the cable operator’s local ad-sales organization, as well as programmers and distributors on advertising-related initiatives. He leads addressable advertising across all platforms, including video-on-demand and digital, as well as dynamic ad insertion, programmatic and data-enabled products and partnerships. His team is also responsible for developing corporate strategy for advanced advertising and advertising technology in partnership with other leaders in Platform Services.
Last year, Holmes played a significant role in Comcast’s acquisition of FreeWheel, a leading video ad server and a cornerstone of its advanced advertising product strategy. He also played a critical role in launching NBCU+, a first-of-its-kind partnership combining NBCUniversal’s scale in TV advertising with Comcast’s platforms to deliver more targeted and informed campaigns. He joined Comcast through NBCU, where he relaunched the Corporate Strategy group following Comcast’s investment in in the media firm and led initiatives across the broadcast and cable networks, advertising, digital and the film studio. Before Comcast, he was active in a number of startup ventures. He led business development for BNI Video, including its first partnership with a major programmer to provide a TV-everywhere platform, prior to BNI’s acquisition by Cisco. He also led content acquisition and marketing for Vudu.
Director, Marketing Strategy & Partnerships, Travel Channel.
Marika Kelderman is responsible for both the on-air and off-air marketing campaigns of major programs and manages a multimillion-dollar media budget at this Scripps Networks Interactive programmer. She also oversees the brand’s social media strategy, manages Travel Channel’s corporate social responsibility relationships and develops partnerships with major sports, entertainment and consumer lifestyle brands.
She built relationships with brands such as Warner Bros., the National Football League, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, the United States Olympic Committee and Columbia Records. She developed an off-air, midseason media strategy and campaign to support the new series Booze Traveler that resulted in 10% time-slot ratings growth and 5% primetime ratings increase for the night, as one example. The Warner Bros. partnership was around the release of the final Hobbit film, The Battle of the Five Armies, and allowed Travel Channel to integrate the movie into an episode of the series Trip Flip, surprising travelers with a trip to “Middle Earth,” also known as New Zealand. Tapping into the dedicated fan base of The Hobbit resulted in the Trip Flip special performing 14% higher for the time slot and garnering more than 10 million social-media impressions. Prior to Travel Channel, Kelderman was a successful television producer, news reporter and anchor for ABC News and 20/20 in New York and CBS affiliate WCSC in Charleston, S.C.
Senior Art Director, Troika
South Korea-born Heather Kim has spent a decade at Hollywood marketing and branding agency Troika, where she is senior art director. She has worked for such clients as The CW, ABC, AMC, Disney, Discovery Channel, Entertainment Tonight, Animal Planet, A&E, The Hub, E!, the BET Experience and BET Awards and public-radio station KCRW in Los Angeles, mostly on launches and rebranding efforts.
“After 10-plus years of working on branding for entertainment media companies, the projects that I take pride in the most are for clients who understand why their businesses are valuable to their consumers and are willing to change with the times to give customers exactly what they need,” she said. For AMC, the task was to solidify the network’s shift from movies to original content and to persuade partners, new content creators and the audience that what they had loved in Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead would continue consistently in the offerings to follow. “My focus was to consistently communicate with the creative team as to why the design had to feel a certain way.”
When The CW launched, Kim drew upon the color green as inspiration. “I created mood boards that showed the potential shows and youthful talent of CW alongside images of vibrant green saplings holding the morning dew.” Nine years later, green is still the “hero color” of The CW. Kim has bachelor’s degrees in fashion from Yonsei University in South Korea and in digital media from Otis College of Art and Design.
Mano Kulasingam and David George started Digiflare, a TV Everywhere and streaming app company, from Kulasingam’s parents’ garage in 2007. (Mano was the “digi,” or engineering and UX, and David the “flare,” partnerships and relationships). The Toronto-based company has grown from the two of them to more than 80 employees. It has become a development partner to top media brands including Starz Entertainment, Univision, Disney, PBS, Rogers Media and Bell Media.
Digiflare’s expertise in TVE and dedication to binge-watching has helped build more than 60 TVE or OTT apps. Digiflare has grown by fostering strong early partnerships with such companies as Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku, Amazon, and Samsung, as well as infrastructure partners such as Verizon Digital Media Services, thePlatform and Adobe. Since co-founding the digital agency in 2007, Kulasingam has been integral in creative customer/brand platform innovation and has helped marketing and IT executives quickly leverage creative brand opportunities triggered by emerging technologies. He oversees strategy, business operations and organizational growth for Digiflare. He has delivered innovative solutions for such top brands as PBS, Univision, Microsoft, Bell Media, Rogers and McCain. A computer science graduate from the University of Ottawa, he has several years of experience delivering digital solutions on multiple form factors.
Senior Vice President, Change Management, Time Warner Cable
Responsible for creating and maintaining Time Warner Cable’s project priority list, Rocco Laurenzano’s team oversees the planning and rollout of large-scale programs such as TWC Maxx and All Digital. Since joining the company from Charter Communications in early 2014, his primary goal is to keep the company focused on the right projects, while seeing that they are implemented with minimal disruption by focusing on the best possible customer experience.
Said TWC chief operating officer Dinni Jain: “Rocco is the complete package when it comes to leadership and getting things done Over the 10 years I have known him, his role has been to take on the company’s hardest projects and implement them on time and under budget.” Those projects have included rolling out VoIP phone service at Insight, where Jain worked with Laurenzano, or going all-digital at both Insight and TWC. “At TWC, where he was my first hire, Rocco led an effort to prioritize all of the company’s many projects while decommissioning almost half of them. He also built an entirely new product development prioritization process … and he did all of this in about a third of the time that I have had such things done at other companies — and while we were in a sale process with Comcast.” Laurenzano was south regional VP of field operations for Charter after seven years at Insight, which was sold to TWC.
Co-Founder, CEO, Host, What’s Trending
What’s Trending is a multiplatform media company that brings audiences the hottest trending videos and Internet culture every day, racking up nearly 70 million views on YouTube. Lazar has built What’s Trending into one of the more recognizable brands in the digital industry. Most recently, she was named a contributor to HLN’s flagship show The Daily Share.
In 2014, Lazar focused on further expanding the What’s Trending brand in four key areas, including editorial content and media partnerships; original content development and branded entertainment; co-productions; and international expansion. From short Trending Now videos to What’s Trending Live variety shows to long-form live specials from CES, SXSW and awards shows, What’s Trending receives more than 20 million views per month across its distribution network, including YouTube, Daily Motion, Yahoo! Screen, iHeartRadio, ClearTV, Complex and The Huffington Post. Lazar also negotiated a deal with Mumbai-based Culture Machine to expand into India. What’s Trending has plans to expand to other territories around the world with key digital and traditional broadcast partners. Since 2011, Lazar has co-hosted The Trevor Project’s annual gala fundraiser, “Trevor Live,” with YouTube star Tyler Oakley. Through her annual Tubeathon, she has helped raise more than $100,000 for Covenant House. She hosts and speaks at influencer events and conferences around the globe . A native of Montreal, Lazar graduated with honors from Emerson College and now lives in Los Angeles.
Senior Director of Product Strategy & Management, Clearleap
If you’ve ever watched HBO On Demand or streamed Food Network to your PC, then you’ve interacted with ClearFlow, the platform Tim MacGregor oversees as senior director of product management for Clearleap, a provider of multiscreen solutions for the television industry. MacGregor’s strategic vision has helped Clearleap build a successful platform, and his stewardship has helped advance time-shifted and OTT viewing for millions of consumers nationwide.
In almost six years with Clearleap, MacGregor has led development of the ClearFlow platform. His strategic vision and technical savvy have further expanded its functionality into an OTT-centric workflow management powerhouse that processed and delivered millions of real-time highlight clips to the mobile app for one of the nation's largest professional sports leagues.
MacGregor joined Clearleap in 2009 as it ramped up delivery of its content management and media services. Prior to joining Clearleap, he served as director of content services at KIT Digital (now Piksel). Previously, he was North American creative operations manager at Getty Images. He has also worked as a producer for a bicoastal photography and film management agency and as studio manager and assistant to commercial photographer Clint Clemens.
CEO, Mance Media
Based at the historic Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood, Mance Media is a global film and television distribution company launched by Matthew Mancinelli in early 2012. It acquires and licenses a wide range of programming and releases six to eight feature films a year.
Its assets include a vast 4K Ultra HD library; 45-plus titles (feature films, TV series and award-winning documentaries); an art company, Artist Spot, that merchandises Mance Media’s entertainment properties (prints, canvas, T-shirts, and movie posters); and the tech company BUY4KUHD, a new brand that distributes 4K entertainment via physical media and apps.
Mancinelli has a a firm grasp on the new technologies of OTT, streaming, 4K Ultra HD, video-on-demand and electronic sell-through. His latest theatrical release was The Young Kieslowski on July 24. Mancinelli has nearly a decade of distribution experience, having licensed programming from U.S. cable channels and producers to broadcasters in every territory of the world. Formerly senior VP, worldwide distribution for Shankly Entertainment, Mancinelli began his career working for, and mentored by, industry distribution veteran Paul Rich at Bennett Media Worldwide. Mancinelli has sold such series as HDNET’s Bikini Destinations, Gabrielle Reece’s The Extremists, Travel Channel’s First Ascent, Nat Geo’s Amazing Adventures of a Nobody and Spike TV’s Half Pint Brawlers.
CEO & Co-Founder, Ample LLC
Ari Mark is, first and foremost, a world-class storyteller and one of the brightest young minds in one of this industry’s fastest growing and most critical subsets. Mark recently struck out on his own and founded Ample LLC after a career in original programming at established networks such as AMC and SundanceTV.
As head of unscripted programming at Xbox, Mark helped shaped the confluence of gaming and television. He spearheaded the adaptation of such flagship game titles as Age of Empires, Forza and State of Decay into television formats, while executive producing Xbox’s first series, Every Street United (up to almost 5 million downloads) and Zak Penn’s Atari: Game Over and Greg Barker’s The Thread. Ample currently has one green-lighted series in production and four others in various stages of development at networks.
In his four years at AMC, Mark launched the network’s first unscripted series, while developing such critically acclaimed shows as The Pitch and Small Town Security and hits such as Talking Dead, Comic Book Men and Game of Arms. His Making of the Mob will premiere soon on the network. As director of development at Michael Davies’ Embassy Row, he specialized in game and international formats. At Sundance, he developed series such as Iconoclasts and Architecture School, as well as the Peabody Award winners Nimrod Nation and Brick City. He also managed the documentary division.
PATRICIA ESTRADA MARTIN
Vice President of Field Engineering & Operations, Cox Communications
Patricia Estrada Martin’s leadership is recognized not only for her results and delivery, but also for her unwavering commitment to her team and the customer. She oversees day-to-day operations and engineering for Cox’s video, data and telephony products in Rhode Island, Connecticut and Ohio.
She has led several key initiatives at Cox, including the creation of the first national team of virtual construction estimators. She also co-sponsored the creation of Cox’s Video Back Office National Center of Excellence, synchronizing national teams and video subject matter experts toward improving customers’ video experience and setting a new road map within the company for other functions to emulate.
With her leadership of Cox: Drive Scale, she manages critical and complex processes, improving the customer experience while mitigating capital expenditures. She is also actively engaged in local charitable works. She served as co-chair of Cox’s “Movember” campaign, which raised more than $370,000 for men’s health. While in Cox’s Oklahoma region, she was co-chair of the Diversity Committee. She coordinated Cox’s first participation in Oklahoma Pride events, and was the top fundraising team captain for Cox’s American Heart Association fund drive. She was involved in the United Way board program for diverse leaders, serving on the board of a Tulsa mental health agency and volunteering at the Tulsa Community Food Bank, the Salvation Army and Dress for Success.
Director, HBO Original Series
As a product of the United Talent Agency’s Television Literacy Department — its client list included the likes of Joel and Ethan Coen, Larry David and Steven Soder-bergh — Kathleen McCaffrey learned the media trade in an environment in which bold ideas and artistic daring were a matter of policy.
When she moved to HBO’s programming department in 2008, along with her mentor, Sue Naegle, she brought a respect for artists who not only spoke with bold and singular voices, but who dared to be different.
McCaffrey has championed Lena Dunham’s original comedy series Girls since its inception; Dunham once called her the show’s “caseworker.”
She has also played an important role in the ongoing development and direction of such hits as True Blood, Treme, Luck and Boardwalk Empire. What’s next?
She currently is working with the creators of any number of new projects for HBO, while being on the lookout for the next singular voice that dares to place truth above formulaic storytelling and ratings.
Notably, those projects include working with Jenji Kohan (creator of Orange Is the New Black and Weeds) on a pilot set in Salem, Mass., during the infamous witch trials. McCaffrey graduated from New York University in 2004.
Senior Vice President, Program Planning & Acquisitions, Crown Media Family Networks
At two networks — Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries — Darren Melameth is responsible for developing and implementing programming, scheduling and acquisition strategies, as well as overseeing the brand’s digital extensions such as video-on-demand, broadband and newmedia platforms. He also manages all financial aspects of program planning while providing creative input and direction on original program placement and development.
In 2015, Melameth will be responsible for planning and implementing program strategies for almost 60 original world premieres across the network. As a leading strategist for the programming department, Melameth plays a key role in the growth and expansion of Hallmark Channel’s programming lineup. His grasp of the mechanics of acquisitions, programming and scheduling, paired with his unique perspective on the business, serve him well as a mentor to others, both within Crown Media Networks and in the industry at large. Previously, Melameth was VP of programming for Crown Media. After eight years of overseeing program planning and scheduling for Hallmark Channel, he was tasked with overseeing Hallmark Movie Channel. He joined Crown Media Family Networks in 2000 as a programming coordinator and has steadily risen through the ranks. A karate teacher and second-degree black belt, he lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.
Senior Vice President, Digital Distribution, Alchemy
Logan Mulvey is senior vice president of digital distribution for Alchemy (formerly Millennium Entertainment), where he oversees the company’s digital output infrastructure including cable, satellite, electronic sell-through, subscription video-on-demand and VOD platforms. In this role, Mulvey builds upon the company’s position as the leading supplier to digital platforms, including iTunes and Netflix.
Mulvey joined Alchemy when the company acquired the operation of the Los Angeles office of Amplify, the multiplatform distribution company he led as CEO. At Amplify, he oversaw acquisitions, business development, sales and overall strategy. He is also on the board of directors of the Entrepreneurs Organization, as well as the board of advisers for the San Diego Film Festival. He is a mentor at SXSW and a frequent speaker at digital entertainment conferences, including Variety’s BRIC and Film Finance Summits, Digital Hollywood and the New York Film Commission at the Sundance Film Festival.
Alchemy is a leading independent distributor of film and television content across all platforms and windows in North America. It develops tailored distribution strategies across all platforms, from theatrical release to DVD, digital, VOD and television. The company has distributed the work of some of the world’s most prominent filmmakers, such as Richard Linklater, Werner Herzog, Gregg Araki, Dito Montiel, John Hillcoat, John Turturro, Lee Daniels, Oren Moverman and James Cameron.
Senior Vice President, MTV Reality Series Development
Colin Nash currently supervises development for unscripted programming and series at MTV, including current hits The Real World and Broke A$$ Game Show as well as adding the upcoming season of Challenges to his other responsibilities. Since joining MTV in 2010, Nash has overseen some of the network’s larger franchises and has also developed a broad range of new programming.
In 2014 he helped develop and oversee production for MTV’s freshman comedy series Broke A$$ Game Show, which was then picked up for a second season. He was also brought on to help reimagine MTV’s longest-running series, The Real World. Real World: Ex-plosion averaged 1.9 million viewers an episode, followed by this season’s Real World: Skeletons, currently MTV’s top VOD property of 2015. He also worked on the Prism and Beacon award-winning special Life Continued: Defeating Depression, with Rainn Wilson’s production company Soulpancake.
Nash’s 16-year career has yielded varied production and development experience. He has produced shows at MTV for a large portion of his career, including the successful The Hills, Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County and The City franchises. In 2001, Nash served as one of the few producers brought in to develop programming, as well as the overall brand for MTV’s college venture, MTVU. He also has producing experience for a variety of other networks, including ABC, The CW, VH1, TLC and The WB.
Executive Vice President of Network Strategy, Revenue & Operations, Discovery Channel
Paul Pastor joined Discovery Channel in his new role this past January, recruited by Rich Ross, president of Discovery Channel, the former Disney colleague to whom he reports. He is responsible for developing the network’s overarching business strategy, driving operational efficiencies and serving as a key network partner and liaison for ad sales, finance, distribution, digital, and Discovery Networks International.
While at The Walt Disney Co., he served as senior VP, strategy and consumer analytics for the Disney/ABC Television Group. He oversaw the division’s strategy team, consumer data and analytics team, media planning team and all research activities related to the ABC Television Network, ABC Studios, ABC Family and Disney/ABC Domestic Television.
He joined Disney in January 2007, working in business development for Disney Channels Worldwide, and quickly rose through the ranks. Early in his career, he held positions at managment consulting firm Accenture and at Technicolor, where he was focused on the expansion of the company’s media services businesses into global markets. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia and a MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles’s Anderson School of Business.
President, Original Programming & Production, National Geographic Channel U.S.
Tim Pastore oversees all development, production and production management for National Geographic Channel U.S., responsible for approximately 400 hours of content annually. He is based in Nat Geo’s New York office in SoHo, overseeing the teams in New York and Washington, D.C., and working very closely with the head of international content for National Geographic Channels International and the NGCI team in London.
Less than a year into his new role, Pastore has such projects in development as the reboot of the critically acclaimed Explorer, the longest-running documentary series in cable history; this fall’s new series Breakthrough, from executive producers Ron Howard and Brian Grazer; and the new comedy event series History of the World … for Now. In March, telefilm Killing Jesus became the network’s most-watched show ever. Having just surpassed 90 million homes in distribution, Nat Geo has cemented itself as a truly sizable player in the nonfiction space.
Prior to joining NGC, Pastore served as the executive vice president of production and development for National Geographic Studios. Before that, he was VP of factual programming and production at BBC Worldwide Productions, where, among other things, he created and executive-produced NGC’s current hit series Life Below Zero. Pastore previously served as VP of development and production for 3net, and before that was director of production and development at Discovery Channel.
Director, Content Partnerships, Layer3 TV
David Rapson is the director of content partnerships for Layer3 TV, a next-generation cable provider spearheading a new era of home media, combining the best of television, social and digital life.
He joined the company in November 2014 as the first full-time employee hired by Layer3 TV content topper Lindsay Gardner, and leads outreach and negotiation efforts with a range of top-tier cable networks, broadcasters and other content creators.
As part of a growing team of professionals that currently numbers seven in Denver and Boston, Rapson has 10 years of industry experience, mostly at Disney/ESPN/ABC. He most recently was director of affiliate sales and marketing for beIN Sports, where he was charged with executing all network carriage agreements and new business strategies for traditional video operators, as well as nontraditional digital offerings for linear and nonlinear content.
He also worked for more than eight years at Disney and ESPN Media Networks, licensing linear and nonlinear content to cable and satellite providers.
Rapson is currently vice president of the Rocky Mountain Cable Association, an industry group based in Denver. He is a graduate of Vanderbilt University.
Head , DreamWorksTV
Birk Rawlings is the brains behind family-friendly YouTube channel DreamWorksTV. When it launched last June, it combined DreamWorks Animation’s global family brand with AwesomenessTV’s digital savvy to reach target-demo and digital natives: young kids and their families.
Since its launch, families have watched more than 78 million minutes and 30-plus series of the bite-sized, laugh-out-loud content available on the channel. DreamWorksTV’s content is all-original and made for the Web. Per VidStatX, it is outperforming the YouTube pages for Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and Disney Channel, DTV said. Verizon has announced a multiyear deal and an order of more than 200 hours of original OTT content from both DreamWorksTV and Awesomeness TV.
A more than 15-year veteran, Rawlings has shepherded nearly 100 projects for or with studios such as The Walt Disney Co., Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation. His primary responsibility is to identify new projects for the platform and oversee the production and creative process from first pitch to final airdate. While high volume — over 1,000 episodes per year — and tight budgets pose a challenge, Rawlings said he relishes the opportunity to create a space of nearly unprecedented creative freedom for parent company DreamWorks Animation.
Before DreamWorksTV, Rawlings was as an independent producer and consultant . Prior to that, he was VP of animation development at Nickelodeon, working under president of animation Brown Johnson.
Executive Vice President, Business Development & Distribution, BabyFirst
Since 2006, when she played a pivotal role in launching BabyFirst, Sharon Rechter has helped propel her network to become a dominant media brand serving growing children and their parents.
In the U.S., BabyFirst reaches about 52 million homes through Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network and other affiliates. Around the world, BabyFirst is seen in 80 million homes in more than 35 countries. BabyFirst is also a growing presence online via a subscription-based website and an increasing library of apps. Rechter plays a major strategic role behind the continuing growth of the network, website and mobile apps as head of business development. BabyFirst describes itself as the first network in the U.S. for children under 3 years old. It features rich, educational content designed to introduce babies and toddlers to a variety of skills, from language to math to music, in a delightful and engaging way. Rechter has long found inspiration in education, beginning at 12, when she wrote the best-selling book The Girl From There. Now, as a mother of two young girls, she continues to find inspiration in education, and inspire others. Rechter has a broad background in television programming and has extensive experience in multicultural programming, as she served as the VP and head of operations for The Israeli Network, a U.S. network featuring Israeli programming available on Dish.
Vice President of TV Product Development & Strategy, Digital Distribution, NBCUniversal Content Distribution
Elena Ritchie is part of the team that drives programming, performance and monetization of cross-platform, free-on-demand businesses, including video-on-demand, TV everywhere and mobile, for NBCU and its cable portfolio, including USA Network, Bravo, Syfy, Oxygen, Telemundo, E!, Esquire Network, Golf Channel, NBC Universo, Sprout, MSNBC, CNBC and NBC Sports & Olympics.
She also oversees product-based account management for pay TV and online video distributor partnerships, including Hulu. Most recently, she completed TV-everywhere distribution commitments spanning over 18 months, including VOD and linear implementations for all 14 NBCU cable networks across 100-plus MVPD partners. She played an integral role in improving NBCU’s performance across various digital platforms, including set-top-box VOD, MVPD sites and apps and Hulu. Ritchie’s team’s hard work resulted in 1.5 billion full episode views in 2014, an 8% increase in performance year-over-year.
Earlier in her tenure at NBCU, Ritchie launched direct-to-consumer mobile products and produced interactive campaigns for multiple TV networks. Prior to joining NBCUniversal in 2006, she served as account manager at interactive-TV startup Gold- Pocket Wireless, where NBCU was her priority customer. Prior to that, she served five years as president and co-founder of Enormous Productions.
Founder & CEO, Jukin Media
Jonathan Skogmo oversees all day-to-day operations of Jukin Media, including licensing, research, development and programming. The company, which licenses usergenerated video content to premier entertainment networks, publishers, brands and platforms throughout the world, receives more than 1 billion monthly views across platforms. Jukin has more than 90 employees, with operations in Los Angeles, New York, London and San Sebastian, Spain. Its owned-and-operated global entertainment brands FailArmy and JukinVideo combine to claim more than 350 million video views per month across platforms.
Additionally, Jukin Media is a worldwide leader in licensing viral video content. The company’s vast library of short-form user-generated video clips regularly airs on national morning shows, news broadcasts, clip shows, daytime talk shows and late-night shows. Skogmo is also executive producer of World’s Funniest Fails on Fox, and Fail Army, the international TV clip show currently airing in seven countries worldwide, including Spike U.K.
Skogmo is a member of the Producers Guild of America and The Hollywood Radio and Television Society and holds a degree in film and television from Chicago’s Columbia College.
Prior to Jukin, Skogmo produced shows for CMT, Discovery Channel and truTV.
TODD C. SMITH
Executive Director, Media Relations, Cox Communications
Todd Smith serves as general spokesperson for Cox Communications, the pay TV and telecommunications provider, across all product lines. He also is responsible for national media and analyst relations strategy and manages the life-cycle promotion of business-to-business services and corporate social responsibility programs.
When Smith joined Cox in 2007, his primary role was senior communications adviser for Cox Business, the $1.8 billion business-telecommunications arm of Cox Communications. In this position, he helped raise the visibility of cable’s commercial services by promoting product launches, strategic partnerships and alliances and executive thought leaders through consistent messaging and regular discussions with media and analysts.
Prior to joining Cox, Smith spent nine years at BellSouth and AT&T, beginning in small business sales. In his tenure there, Smith directed external and internal communications initiatives for multiple BellSouth organizations. Following the BellSouth-AT&T merger, Smith joined Fleishman-Hillard International Communications, where he served as a full-time member of the AT&T public relations team. Smith managed wireless analyst relations and business product communications and supported major device and application launches, including the Apple iPhone.
President/Founding Partner, Collective Digital Studio
Dan Weinstein’s Collective Digital Studio (CDS) is a multiplatform digital entertainment company that includes a network of more than 900 online video channels delivering 1 billion views a month.
Weinstein’s strategic leadership and instinctive skills have led CDS into pioneering cross-platform business models.
Earlier this year, Weinstein played a key role signing new talent across Vine and Snapchat including Rudy Mancuso, Logan Paul and Shonduras, among others. These elite creators added more than 5 billion views to the CDS multichannel network (MCN).
Weinstein has helped propel the biggest YouTube stars, including Freddie Wong, Rhett & Link, Harley Morenstein of Epic Meal Time and more to stardom with hundreds of millions of views per month and brand integrations with blue-chip marketers.
In addition to heading up one of the leading digital entertainment companies, Weinstein has executive produced several series that have transitioned from the web to broadcast, including Epic Meal Time’s Epic Meal Empire, which debuted on A+E Networks’s FYI; High Fructose Adventures of the Annoying Orange on Cartoon Network; and Video Game High School, the No. 1 scripted series on YouTube.
Partner, IBB Consulting Group
As a highly sought-after consultant to top operators and programmers, IBB Consulting’s Jonathan Weitz has worked diligently behind the scenes to help make some of these successes possible. IBB comprises 100-plus consultants, focused solely on media, cable, broadband and mobile.
Weitz joined IBB in 2006 and is today one of the firm’s most senior partners, helping to establish and grow cutting-edge media specialty areas. The work he does on behalf of TV, digital media companies and operators is almost exclusively of a confidential nature. But you’d likely be familiar with many of the initiatives that he has been tapped to lead.
They include: supporting myriad programmer and MSO TV-everywhere initiatives, including the launch of one of the industry’s first TV-everywhere services; helping plan and launch several digital video platforms and apps, including a global live and on-demand platform; executing data-driven marketing campaigns for large media companies; supporting planning and launching of a digital SVOD product; leading a digital-growth strategy initiative for a TV network; developing new data-driven ad products for advanced advertising and multiplatform; supporting development of new marketing capabilities that drove targeted tune-in messaging and measurement; and driving development of digital content planning for a TV network, contributing to significant growth of their Web and mobile platforms.
Vice President, Furious Corp.
JT White is a seasoned digital media professional with a proven track record in developing new business and people. Working both in ad sales and for creative agencies, White has a unique perspective, which allows him to communicate across disciplines and to drive a singular vision.
White has worked with some of the world’s largest brand advertisers and top content creators. In the past seven years he has worked for companies focused on full-service solutions in advertising, data and mobile development. In all roles, he leveraged state of the art technology to deliver elegant, simplified solutions for clients of all sizes. White “is the business trifecta; smart, possesses a tireless work ethic and is a pleasure with whom to work,” Furious CEO Ashley Swartz said. “Many say his wisdom is well beyond his years, both in business and life.
“He signed up to be the one to lead, define and drive a product roadmap with the vision to build the enterprise platform that powers and connects the systems that power television advertising today,” Swartz said. “JT started working in radio, sold some of the most important data products in media at Tribune Media Services, and worked with some of the most groundbreaking TV-everywhere and OTT applications for big broadcasters at BottleRocket Apps, and now, today, he wants to transform the enterprise of television. There is no one that knows JT that doubts he is up to the task.”
DANA S. WILSON
Vice President of Customer Experience, Comcast Cable.
In her role as vice president of customer experience for Comcast Cable, Dana Wilson is responsible for leading improvement initiatives to transform the experience for customers of Comcast, the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone provider.
She previously served as executive director of strategy and operations, a role in which she led departmental strategic initiatives to drive customer focus and high performance across products.
During her tenure, Wilson led the overall delivery of Comcast’s Olympics experience for both the 2012 London and 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. She was instrumental in the integration of the NBC Sports Live Extra Olympics app on X1, providing Xfinity customers with 1,000 hours of live streaming coverage of the Sochi Winter Games on the set-top box.
The innovative experience was the first of its kind in the industry and gave customers 500 extra hours of live event coverage on the TV.
Wilson started her career at Comcast as senior director of product planning and delivery for Comcast Interactive Media, where she managed execution of the Xfinity product roadmap for online and mobile entertainment.
Founder & CEO, Shareablee
Tania Yuki is a lawyer turned entrepreneur, tech innovator and mentor for women in technology. She has a history of developing new products while evangelizing and growing marketplaces.
Since the mid-2000s, she has led the development of the first online video-measurement product with comScore, Video Metrix. During her time with comScore, Yuki launched the first census-measurement product in the company’s history, pioneered video advertising reporting and implemented TV-episode reporting, a key step in the shift of dollars from TV to online video providers such as Hulu. This earned her a Great Mind Award from the Advertising Research Foundation, and solidified her passion for analytics and for making sense of emerging technology with predictive data.
In 2013, Yuki saw a pressing need for a clear and consistent way to measure and optimize success across social media and founded Shareablee, a Web-based social-media performance and predictive analytics platform that helps many brands and publishers unpack their performance, monetize more effectively and identify critical best practices that drive business value and change the outcome of social campaigns. Its technology has helped hundreds of Fortune 1000 marketers, including Fox, NBC, CBS, ABC, Viacom, HBO, Univision, CNN, DirecTV and Turner, define and drive success in social, with industry-standard metrics and predictive analytics that hone in on powerful best practices.
This article was updated after publication, correcting which offices Tim Pastore oversees and Paul Pastor's age.