Starz Taps Thornton as Chief Revenue Officer

Huguez to Step Down as Affiliate Chief in 2014

Starz has elevated Michael Thornton to the newly created position of chief revenue officer.

In realigning its business structure to put revenue streams under the guidance of one executive, Thornton will now be responsible for the network sales and affiliate marketing group, while also overseeing the programmer’s distribution business, comprising Anchor Bay Entertainment, Starz Worldwide Distribution and Starz Digital Media. 

Thornton, who had been serving as vice president, acquisitions, business and legal affairs at the premium programmer, will report to Starz president Glenn Curtis in his expanded role.

Starz also announced that Ed Huguez is stepping down as president of affiliate distribution, but will remain with the company as an advisor through the first quarter of 2014. 

“We are very pleased that Michael will be assuming the new role of chief revenue officer.  In the rapidly changing media business landscape, it is important for Starz to unite together the revenue businesses of affiliate sales for Starz/ Encore/Movieplex and Starz Distribution under one senior executive,” said  Starz CEO in announcing the promotion.”In his short time at Starz, Michael’s wide-ranging talents and contributions to the businesses have been incredibly valuable.  Combined with the excellent senior management and sales teams at Starz, we are confident in Michael’s ability to move the Starz business forward.” 

During his career, Thornton has worked on many sides of the negotiating table. As executive vice president, acquisitions, business and legal affairs, Thornton had oversight of programming acquisitions for 17 Starz channels and on-demand/online offerings. In addition, he was responsible for managing the strategic direction of business and legal affairs related to the acquisition of programming content, as well as business and legal affairs for distribution of the Starz companies’ content with online/broadband distributors, transactional video on demand. He was also involved in the worldwide syndication of proprietary Starz Original series and other Starz proprietary/licensed content.

Thornton has also held a leadership role at Disney/ABC Domestic Television as executive vice president, business and legal affairs, where he led multiplatform strategy and negotiations for post-theatrical distribution of The Walt Disney Studios’ film output and the post-network distribution of ABC Studios’ television product. Prior to that, Thornton was senior vice president, programming acquisitions at DirecTV.