CBS Names Hopkins President for Distribution

Former YES Network Exec Will Focus on Retransmission, Subscriber Fees

In another senior level executive move, CBS Corp. named Ray Hopkins president of Television Networks Distribution.

Hopkins, who had been chief operating officer of the New York Yankees’ YES Network, will report to Joseph Ianniello, who yesterday was promoted from CFO at CBS to COO. News Corp. bought a 49% stake in YES next year and YES distribution activity moved into the Fox Cable Networks camp.

Hopkins and Ianniello will work together to secure new retransmission and affiliation agreements for the CBS Television Network, Showtime Networks, CBS Sports Network, Smithsonian Networks and TVGN, the company said.

“CBS Corporation provides much of the best content in the business to cable operators, satellite providers and telco services, among others,” Ianniello said in a statement. “Realizing full value from the growing number of viable distribution services is a cornerstone of the company’s growth strategy. We are very pleased to add an executive of Ray’s caliber – particularly one with his wealth of relevant experience – to bring this initiative to another level.”

CBS has been growing its subscription-based income, reducing its dependence on advertising revenue, which can vary with ratings and the economy.

Hopkins spent nine years as COO at YES Network. Before that, he was executive VP of affiliate sales and marketing for Gemstar-TV Guide. Previously he was with Fox Cable Networks. He began his career at CNBC in 1989 in affiliate relations.

“I have worked with Ray for almost two decades, first at FOX and then at YES, and we have enjoyed an extremely successful partnership over the years,” YES Network CEO Tracy Dolgin said in a YES statement.  “He is one of a kind, a tremendous executive and colleague.  He has left his indelible mark on YES, and his impact on the company cannot be over-stated.  Ray has helped elevate YES to unprecedented heights, to the point where it is one of the most dynamic media companies in the nation.” 

“I am fortunate to have worked for so long with Tracy, one of the savviest and most visionary executives in the business who also happens to be a long-time friend,” Hopkins said in the YES release. “I have also benefitted from working with YES’ first-rate senior management team, and from having as a cornerstone of the network the New York Yankees, the best-known sports team in the world. It has been a very fulfilling experience at YES, both professionally and personally. While I will undoubtedly miss working with all my YES colleagues, I have accomplished everything that I set out to do upon arriving here eight and a half years ago.  I am excited about the extraordinary opportunity awaiting me at CBS.”