‘Gatekeeper’ Shuffle Sees Chang Leaving DirecTV at Year’s End, Succeeded by AT&T’s Dan York

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When DirecTV said last week that chief
content officer Derek Chang was leaving, it announced
his replacement, Dan York, at the same time.

That’s because Chang let it be known months ago that
he wanted to leave, giving DirecTV CEO Mike White
plenty of time to bring in York.

York, a former pay-per-view and sports programmer
at In Demand and HBO, headed up
content acquisition for AT&T since 2004, two
years before the U-verse TV triple-play service
launched in San Antonio, Texas.

York joins DirecTV as executive vice president
of programming and chief content officer
in early July, the company said. Chang leaves as
executive VP of content strategy and development
at year-end, having led program acquisition,
original content, regional sports networks
and ad sales for six years, DirecTV said.

“He’s beat up from all the retrans wars and
he wants to do something in the international
space,” one member of the programming community,
echoing several others in that category
who also preferred not to be identified, told The
Wire last week about Chang, who acts as gatekeeper
to nearly 20 million U.S. multichannel homes, second
only to Comcast’s 22 million.

Both are known as tough negotiators, with stylistic differences.

“Dan York is much more personable than Chang,” another
person who’s sat across the table from both men
said.

Chang is “much more cerebral-seeming,” another programmer
said. “Which isn’t to say York isn’t smart. He just
said no more nicely and personably than Chang.”

Said another programmer, “They’re both really smart
and they don’t leave much on the table.”

Both have been willing and able to “take channels
down,” including the Hallmark channels at U-verse and
G4 at DirecTV, both in 2010, the first programmer noted.

York deserves credit for the deals he struck at U-verse,
which had little leverage as a start-up service but now has
4 million video homes, the first programming exec said.
“The odds were against him when he took that job, and a
lot of folks in the industry didn’t support him.”

York was ready for a bigger opportunity, a programmer
friend said. “I think Dan will be excited
to have 20 million homes.”

York declined an interview request from The
Wire last week. Chang laughed off a question
about his leaving DirecTV at an event at the Cable
Show in Boston, prior to DirecTV announcing
the news.

York will initially lead programming and
content-rights deals, adding more responsibility
(overseeing DirecTV’s regional sports networks)
as Chang transitions out, the company
said. Chang’s content duties grew after DirecTV
Entertainment EVP Eric Shanks left to become
Fox Sports president in 2010.

AT&T promoted Jeff Weber, who was VP of Uverse
and Video Products, to succeed York as
AT&T Services president of content and advertising
sales.

McDowell Says:
Time to Stop Talk
Of ‘Title II’ Regs

Commissioner Robert McDowell got an opportunity to
make his pitch for closing the Federal Communications
Commission’s Title II docket in front of a House subcommittee
last week that was discussing proposals for international
governmental oversight of the Internet.

The FCC opted
not to classify Internet
access as a
Title II telecommunications
service,
but the threat of
doing so prompted
major cable operators
to acquiesce
to the networkneutrality
rules,
which McDowell
also opposed.

FCC chairman
Julius Genachowski
has said
the docket would
remain open to
collect information
that could be useful
to Congress as a resource for updating the Communications
Act. McDowell thinks that’s a bad idea.

Asked whether the FCC should close the docket immediately,
McDowell said yes, and pointed out that
he’s been making that pitch for a while now. He said he
thinks keeping the reclassification issue open sends
the wrong signal internationally.

McDowell even came armed with an example. In his
testimony, he pointed to an Arab States proposal for
government control of the Internet that had a familiar
ring, though it would need to be “Title 2,” with an Arabic
numeral. Rep. Mary Bono Mack said during the hearing
that proposal could turn the next Arab Spring of socialmedia-
fueled agitation for democracy into a Russian
winter of censorship.

Brrrrrr.

New TV One Logo
Debuts in Boston,
Backing Up O’Jays

TV One during the recent 2012 Cable Show quietly hid in
plain sight its
new network
logo. The
bright tangerine
image
was emblazoned
on the
black storage
bags handed out to the media during the three-day
event.

It also was prominently displayed during the
African-American targeted network’s party that featured
a live performance from iconic R&B group The
O’Jays
. Cable attendees packed the Harbor Ballroom
at the Westin Boston Waterfront and danced to some
of the trio’s big hits, including “Love Train” and “For
the Love of Money.”

TV One said it would officially unveil the logo, along
with additional marketing and promotional details, later
this month.

Scribe Success Story:
Littlejohn Signs Deal
For ‘Swirling’ Movie

Multichannel News contributing writer Janice Littlejohn,
who has penned several stories about the cable programming
category, will likely soon experience the content
development
business from
behind the
camera.

State Pictures
(producers
of Soul
Food
and Men
of Honor
) has
signed a deal
to produce
and package
a film version
of Littlejohn’s
new how-to
book on interracial
dating,
Swirling: How to
Date
, Mate and
Relate
, Mixing
Race
, Culture
and Creed.
Littlejohn and
Swirling co-writer Christelyn Karazin will serve as executive
producers for the film, which will be shopped to the
major studios.

The deal is on top of Littlejohn’s other film project,
a documentary she is directing about women in jazz
dubbed … but can she play?

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