BBC Worldwide (London, England, 44-208-433-2000): After spending the past year working as business development director on a commercial media player that BBCWW plans to roll out later this year, Gill Pritchard is shifting gears and departments to oversee all kid-targeted titles as head of children’s for the Home Entertainment division.
BKN Home Entertainment (London, England, 44-207-269-8680): With eight titles due out in the Brit market between now and year’s end, BKN has set up Adrian Ball as sales director for the region to ensure the releases get maximum retail exposure and support. Ball’s resumé includes senior sales stints at Warner Vision International and Polygram Video, and he most recently filled a similar position at music and movie label Prism Leisure.
Cartoon Network Enterprises (New York, New York, 212-275-6327): Jenny Smyth has joined the team as a marketing executive covering Europe, the Middle East and Africa. She hails from Chorion, where she most recently served as marketing coordinator looking after properties including Mr. Men and Noddy.
Cookie Jar Entertainment (Los Angeles, California, 323-937-6244): The studio has picked up a new director of development who knows her way around the world of podcasting. Melissa Wolfe joins the Jar from Frederator Studios, where she worked as programming director for on-line animation hub Channel Frederator, as well as selecting, developing and coordinating projects for Nickelodeon’s shorts program.
Curious Pictures (New York, New York, 212-674-1400): To handle the content side of its expansion into feature films, Curious has recruited Karina Kliss as head of film and TV development. Kliss comes from Starz Animation, where she was responsible for optioning and developing CGI family features as a development exec. Before that, she spent four years in production at Miramax Films. In her new role, Kliss will be looking for projects that target families, teens and adults, and the studio would also like to dabble in projects that have a more indie film sensibility.
Disney-ABC International Television (Mumbai, India, 91-98-2071-5609): Making the leap from ad sales to program sales, Swati Shetty has been named the distribution arm’s director for India, and will push its library of content to broadcasters in the region. Shetty used to work as associate director of advertising sales for Disney Channel India, and was a key member of the net’s launch team.
DreamWorks Consumer Products (Glendale, California, 818-695-5000): Theme parks are big business worldwide these days, and virtually every major studio is vying to bring its unique vision of branded amusement experience to the leisure-seeking masses. DreamWorks is no exception, having recently set up Joel Ward as its park operation and marketing executive. In this newly created position, Ward will be responsible for building relationships with potential partners in the theme park sector (including an existing one with Universal Studios), as well as sussing out new opportunities for DWA properties worldwide. Ward has 18 years at Universal Studios Hollywood under his belt, and most recently served as VP of brand marketing for the park.
Foothill Entertainment (Santa Barbara, California, 805-965-4488): Having tested the fit in a year-long consulting relationship, Foothill has brought Pat Ryan into its full-time fold as EVP of sales. The former president of international sales at DIC Entertainment has been busy ramping up the worldwide broadcast footprint of HHK Entertainment’s Hip Hop Kidz and Collingwood O’Hare’s Animal Stories over the past few months, and will be charged with doing the same for more developing projects Foothill represents.
FremantleMedia Enterprises (New York, New York, 212-541-2800): The company has brought in Jeff Siegel as VP of home entertainment for the Americas. In this position, he will manage Fremantle’s current home entertainment catalogue, maximize opportunities for its library of proprietary programming, and shore up digital download partners. Siegel comes from MTV Networks, and his most recent title was senior director of worldwide home entertainment.
Marvel International (London, England, 44-207-031-0417): The comic conglom’s overseas HQ has brought in an exec who knows a little something about superheroes to manage its licensing business in the UK. Working with Sony Pictures Consumer Products through his own consulting firm Blue Fig, N. Gustavo Antonioni recently oversaw the launch of Spider-Man 3′s licensing program with international retailers in Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Europe. In his new role, Antonioni will oversee all sales, marketing, promotions and retail activity for the UK and Ireland.
Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group (New York, New York, 212-846-8000): Marketing maven Pam Kaufman has been upped from EVP of marketing and worldwide promotions to chief marketing officer (CMO). In her new role, Pam will continue to mastermind
marketing strategies that cut through the clutter and take advantage of new digital media opportunities. She’ll also keep liaising with marketing partners and share best business practices with colleagues at Nickelodeon International. One specific project that will feature high on Kaufman’s priority list is helping to build a profile for Nick’s new music brand, borne out of a partnership with Sony Music Label Group to co-develop, co-produce and co-finance TV and music projects over the next four years.
Toys ‘R’ Us (Wayne, New Jersey, 973-617-3500): The toy retailer seems to have honed in on Radio Shack as a lush executive poaching ground lately. On the heels of bringing over Claire Babrowski to serve as its new EVP and COO in June, TRU has pilfered the electronics chain’s corporate ranks again, this time picking up Tori Moore Binau as SVP of marketing for Babies ‘R’ Us. Binau, who held the same position at the Shack, will oversee strategy, media, positioning and creative services for marketing efforts touting the store brand to new and expectant moms, as well as developing and promoting BRU’s lucrative baby registry program.
Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising (Los Angeles, California, 310-369-1000): The studio has picked up Howard Nelson as its new VP of worldwide promotion from Starz Media, where he worked on national promotions and licensing programs for 2006 CGI feature Everyone’s Hero as VP of brand marketing. Movie projects brewing at Fox that Nelson will have to gear up for include Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Movie (December ’07), Horton Hears a Who (March ’08) and Space Chimps (July ’08).
And after less than two years with the company, Michael Peikoff has been bumped up to SVP with job parameters that put him squarely in charge of retail marketing, licensed promotions and all internal and external communications for the licensing division. He will also continue to manage business in categories including soft lines, hard lines, gift & novelty, domestics, health & beauty and worldwide publishing.
Viz Media Europe (Paris, France, 33-1-5643-5033): As it preps to put a big push behind the European launch of Blue Dragon, an anime series based on the same-name Xbox 360 video game from Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi, the company has recruited some veteran talent to lend a hand. With a wealth of experience growing vidgame properties beyond their console roots, Ubisoft’s former US director of licensing, Pascal Bonnet, has come in as director of licensing and brand management and will start off by architecting a consistent Blue Dragon brand strategy. Meanwhile, Isabelle Aghina has left her VP of international sales position at Marathon Group to join as director of TV & DVD sales and distribution.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (Burbank, California, 818-977-7163): Having spent the last nine months building a foundation for expansion, Ron Scott will now steer the unit towards new distribution and publishing partnership opportunities as SVP of worldwide sales and distribution. It’s quite a natural promotion, given that Scott helped pioneer the direct-to-retail strategy that’s the backbone of WBIE’s publishing model. And he has also delivered distribution deals with Codemasters, Brash Entertainment and Empire Interactive that have given the unit considerable traction in North America this year. Looking ahead, Scott plans to concentrate on moving the business into global markets, and to do so he will probably draw on expertise and know-how he picked up while serving previously as EVP of worldwide publishing for Activision and president of Crave Entertainment.
Wild Brain (San Francisco, California, 415-553-8000): The studio’s latest hire reunites CEO Charles Rivkin with a colleague from his days at The Jim Henson Company. Michael Polis has come aboard as chief marketing officer and will help build Yo Gabba Gabba! into a global brand, as well as managing Wild Brain’s corporate ID and key partner relationships. Polis most recently served as SVP of marketing worldwide at Henson, where he also developed and produced web content and DVDs.