Discovery International Beefs Up Digital Team

Former Spotify exec tapped to create new partnerships, opportunities
Francis Keeling.jpg

Discovery Communications is shaking up its international digital operations, making a series of new hires and creating new roles, including tapping former Spotify executive Francis Keeling to create new partnerships to help bring Discovery content across every screen and service.

In addition to Keeling, Discovery said Jay Trinidad, who is currently running Discovery Northern Asia, will take on the additional role of managing director, Digital Ventures, and Eugene Huang was named senior vice president, Product and Technology.  All three roles report directly to Michael Lang, president, International Development & Digital.

As senior vice president, International Digital, Keeling will have an active role in Discovery’s OTT initiatives, including the recently announced digital video joint venture in Germany with ProSieben. He will be based in London and also will help develop and launch new digital products.

Keeling was most recently the global head of licensing at Spotify where he defined and implemented a new licensing strategy for the digital music service.  Prior to Spotify, Keeling spent 10 years at Universal Music Group, where as the Global Head of Digital, he managed the transition from physical music sales to new digital formats including digital downloads, streaming and subscriptions.

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“Francis is an outstanding digital executive who helped transform the music industry when its business model was disrupted by technological change,” Lang said in a statement. “He also comes to us from Spotify, a company we respect tremendously, with a proven track record of serving digital consumer needs.  We’re all excited that Francis is bringing these experiences and strong digital and consumer insights to Discovery.”

In his new role Jay Trinidad will focus on expanding Discovery’s brands and entertainment business into digital growth areas globally.  Trinidad spent a decade at Google as one of their early hires, working across advertising, search, strategy, operations and products including Chrome, rising to head of consumer marketing for Asia Pacific.  Trinidad will report into Lang for his new digital role, while continuing to report to Arthur Bastings, president & managing director, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific with respect to his on-going Northern Asia responsibilities.

Huang will develop Discovery’s international products and services across multiple platforms. He comes to Discovery most recently from American Express, where he was VP Strategy and Planning.  Prior to AMEX, Huang held several senior Government roles, including White House Fellow (President George W. Bush’s administration) and Chief Technology Officer, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the US Department of Treasury (President Barack Obama’s administration).  He also served as Secretary of Technology for the State of Virginia (under Governor Mark Warner).  Along with Keeling, he will be based in London.

“Eugene brings exceptional tech leadership to our business which will be incredibly valuable as we develop some significant OTT initiatives across Europe,” Lang said in a statement. “In partnership with the digital, creative and local leaders across our global organization, this senior team will help drive the digital agenda as we accelerate the pace of investment and transformation for Discovery.  Being able to attract world-class digital executives like Francis, Jay and Eugene into our business says a lot about our ambition as well as the opportunity they see for Discovery’s content and brands across the world as digital product offerings.”

Over the last year Discovery has accelerated its International digital activity significantly from its BAMTech Europe JV, double digit subscriber growth in its Eurosport Player streaming service, to the new OTT JV with ProSieben in Germany and the launch of Discovery and Eurosport channels with Amazon in the UK and most recently announced Eurosport on Amazon Germany.