Comcast rejiggered its programming and content acquisition groups, realigning six executives on Jeff Shell and Matt Bond’s respective teams. (A related Comcast Cable executive move was announced; scroll down for details).
Shell, president of the Comcast Programming Group — which owns and operates the company’s linear and non-linear networks including E!, Style, Golf Channel, Versus, AZN, PBS KIDS Sprout, Comcast SportsNet and G4, and on the nonlinear side, FEARnet, ExerciseTV and other video brands) — promoted a trio of executives.
• Bill Bridgen was upped from EVP of network distribution to Comcast SportsNet, where he will report to CSN president Jon Litner and oversee distribution of the operator’s regional sports networks.
• Alan Dannenbaum succeeds Bridgen as EVP of network distribution and now reports to Shell. He was previously SVP of content acquisition, reporting to Matt Bond (see below).
• Earl Marshall was named VP of business development for Shell’s group, from his previous role as senior director for Comcast’s Corporate Development Group. Marshall reports to Joe Donnelly, CFO of the Programming Group.
"Bill’s expertise in sports, network management and affiliate relations will contribute tremendously to our growing SportsNet businesses; Alan’s expertise and reputation in affiliate relations will expand distribution opportunities and Earl’s business development acumen will enable us to continue to leverage new cross-platform development opportunities," Shell commented in Comcast’s press release announcing the promotions.
Matt Bond, EVP of Comcast’s Content Acquisition Group, also promoted three executives on his senior management team, who all report directly to him:
• Jennifer Gaiski was promoted to SVP, content acquisition, from VP. Last November she was named one of CableWorld‘s Top 50 Most Influential Women for 2006.
• Allan Singer was named SVP, content acquisition, replacing Dannenbaum. He recently rejoined Bond’s group to oversee new media content acquisition following a move to Comcast SportsNet in August 2005 as SVP, sports business development, where he negotiated and acquired sports programming and helped expand Comcast’s regional sports networks.
• Matt Strauss was named SVP, new media, from SVP of content acquisition and development.
"Allan, Matt and Jennifer are exceptional leaders and respected throughout our industry," Bond said in a statement. "They are a dynamic team with unsurpassed experienced which will be invaluable as we continue to develop and deploy cross-platform features and services."
Gaiski and Singer, like Bond and Dannebaum, rose through Comcast’s programming acquisitions ranks as transactional attorneys, negotiating carriage agreements to license outside programmers’ content.
Strauss managed Cablevision’s Mag Rack video on demand service before joining the company in June 2004 to launch its proprietary Select on Demand VOD service. (Click here for a Q&A with Strauss).
He will continue to manage the development and acquisition of non-linear video programming services while adding responsibility for developing content for Comcast’s Internet properties, which are housed in a separate group, Comcast Interactive Media, under CIM president Amy Banse.
July 11 update: Comcast Cable, representing the company’s core cable operations business, announced an additional content-related executive move by naming Diana Wechsler Kerekes the operator’s new VP of video content.
Kerekes’ previous title was VP of broadband content acquisition, where she worked with Comcast Interactive Media to acquire rights to video and interactive content for Comcast’s Internet properties.
The move gives her product management responsibility for video across Comcast’s cable services and platforms. She will also lead Comcast’s On Demand team, according to today’s announcement, guiding content strategies and the product roadmap.
Kerekes now reports to Derek Harrar, who in May was named SVP and general manager for video services at Comcast Cable, replacing Page Thompson, who relocated to Florida to run the Comcast-owned Golf Channel.
"Diana’s leadership and insight will help us continue enhancing our ON DEMAND service and give our customers the most linear and video-on-demand viewing choices,” said Harrar. “Her experience in the development and acquisition of cross-platform content will be a tremendous asset as we drive more value to our customers.”
Kerekes joined Comcast as VP and general counsel for programming investments, the previous name of Matt Bond’s group, and also served as interim manager of PBS KIDS Sprout.