Otter Media Taps Unit Leaders

Virasb Vahidi Named CEO; Tom Pickett Heads Up New VOD Unit
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Otter Media, the online video joint venture of The Chernin Group and AT&T formed in April, has announced who will take the helm of the company’s day-to-day operations – Virasb Vahidi is now CEO of Otter Media, and Tom Pickett is CEO of a new Otter Media-controlled unit focused on building targeted VOD channels.

Vahidi, (pictured), formerly served as COO of American Airlines and was previously the SVP, corporate strategy and planning at AT&T, will lead Otter Media’s general operations and overall strategy, along with TCG and AT&T.

As CEO of the new unit of Otter Media, Pickett, an exec late of Google and YouTube, will focus on building advertising and subscription-based targeted video-on-demand channels, responsibilities that will include the J.V.’s current online video assets Crunchyroll and Creativebug. Pickett most recently served as vice president, YouTube Content.

Otter Media recently agreed to snap up a majority stake in Fullscreen, the popular YouTube networkt ailored for young consumers. Under that deal, Fullscreen CEO and founder George Strompolos will continue as CEO and retain a “material ownership stake” in Fullscreen.

“Virasb and Tom are joining Otter’s executive team during a time of tremendous opportunity in the OTT space. Their consumer-focused experience and superior leadership abilities are the perfect qualities to help steer our efforts, grow our existing businesses and expand the Otter portfolio,” said Jesse Jacobs, president of The Chernin Group, the majority investor of Otter, in a statement.

AT&T and The Chernin Group committed to invest $500 million in the OTT venture when they announced it in April. Otter Media made its first acquisition in July, shelling out $10 million for Creativebug Inc., a source for online video arts and crafts instruction. Otter Media also has a majority stake in Crunchyroll, an ad-supported video platform for Japanese anime and Korean content.

The Otter Media board of directors includes Peter Chernin and Jesse Jacobs of The Chernin Group, John Stankey and David Christopher of AT&T, and Virasb Vahidi. 

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