DirecTV said it has named former AT&T and InDemand executive Dan York as its new chief content officer, succeeding executive vice president of content strategy and development Derek Chang, who will leave at the end of the year.
York will join DirecTV in early July as executive vice president of programming and chief content officer and will report to DirecTV chairman and CEO Mike White. York will initially lead the satellite giant's efforts in programming and content rights, and then oversee the content and Root Sports teams as Chang transitions out of his role at year-end.
Jeff Weber, who had been serving as vice president - U-verse and video products, AT&T Services, Inc., will succeed York. Weber has been appointed to president - content and advertising sales, AT&T Services, Inc. and will lead the content strategy and acquisition for all AT&T platforms, including TV, broadband and mobile, as well as multiscreen advertising solutions. In his previous role, Mr. Weber oversaw U-verse TV and video product management, implementation, business development and subscriber growth.
"I want to thank Derek for his tremendous leadership over the years in establishing DirecTV as the very best in content highlighted by DirecTV's preeminent position in HD and its continued superiority in sports programming," White said in a statement. "We understand Derek's desire to take his career in a different direction but I personally appreciate his advice and guidance during my own entry into the industry and his willingness to work with me on a thoughtful transition over the course of this year."
Chang joined DirecTV in 2006 after stints with Charter Communications and the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network. He has been an outspoken critic of rising programming rates.
"I am extremely proud to have been part of such a tremendous team and such great successes at DirecTV," Chang said in a statement. "Under Mike's leadership I am confident that the company will continue to perform at the highest levels in this industry."
Chang said that he has been considering leaving DirecTV for quite a while, telling White earlier this year of his intentions.
"This has been something that has been in the works for awhile," Chang said in an interview Tuesday. "I thought from a family standpoint, the goal that we had was at some point to try to do something internationally, and our kids are now reaching an age [8 and 5 years old] where I didn't want to wake up one day and feel like the window had closed on our ability to do that. I kind of had to kick myself to get off the bench."
Chang said he didn't want to leave the company in the lurch, adding that he helped in the search for his replacement and agreed to stay on to assist in the transition.
Chang said he hasn't decided what type of international opportunity he will ultimately take.
"I haven't gotten that specific in my thinking," he said. "I will take the next 6 months trying to figure out what it is I want to do. It's a great opportunity. I love DirecTV, I love the people, I think we're in a great position. I feel good about the process and leaving the company in a good place and being able to take the time to go figure out what I want to do."
As president of content and advertising Sales for AT&T, York developed the content strategy and offering for AT&T U-verse and oversaw AT&T's content activities across all of its platforms, including TV, online and mobile, which serves more than 100 million customers. In six years, he helped build U-verse from zero to about $8 billion in annualized revenue while managing billions of dollars in content expense.
York was previously head of programming and development for In Demand Networks, the leading video on demand, pay-per view, and sports provider. Before that he worked for 12 years at Home Box Office, most recently managing the distribution, marketing, sponsorship, and select content acquisitions and programming operations for HBO's Sports PPV business.
In a statement, White said that while he was sorry to see Chang leave, he was delighted, after an extensive search inside and outside the company, to attract an executive of York's experience to replace him.
"Dan brings an extraordinary breadth of experience to DirecTV, from helping to build the AT&T U-verse video platform from the ground up to successfully managing all aspects of the content business including distribution, marketing and acquisition of linear, VOD, PPV and sports programming," White said in a statement. "I know Dan will ably continue Derek's legacy of strong, imaginative content leadership."
White said that he is looking forward to working with Chang and his group during the transition.
"This is an exciting opportunity to not only be a part of Mike's talented executive team, but to have the advantage of DirecTV's unequaled reach and scale to continue building an affordable, engaging content offering that will take DirecTV customers' viewing experience to a new level, both inside and outside the home," York said in a statement.