WarnerMedia announced several operational executive appointments for HBO Max, its premium service teed up to enter the streaming wars next year, under the leadership of Otter Media CEO Tony Goncalves.
Zucker, the president of CNN, is now the leading — if not the only — internal candidate being considered to become chief executive of WarnerMedia, the new conglomeration owned by AT&T that includes Warner Bros., HBO and Turner Broadcasting, according to five high-level WarnerMedia sources. He is currently the head of news and sports for WarnerMedia.
Television and streaming channels owned by WarnerMedia, CBS and Viacom will no longer run ads for e-cigarettes or e-cigarette products, including for industry powerhouse Juul, the companies said Wednesday.
One of WarnerMedia brass’ top goals for the company’s upcoming streaming service HBO Max was to have the biggest comedy series of the past couple of decades, Friends and The Big Bang Theory — both produced by sibling Warner Bros. TV — at launch to help drive subscribers to the new offering. After shelling out $425 million for the exclusive streaming rights to Friends, taking it away from Netflix, HBO Max has now secured the exclusive streaming rights to all 12 seasons of The Big Bang Theory.
WarnerMedia has tapped company veterans Sofia Chang and Rich Warren to oversee distribution for HBO, the nascent HBO Max streaming service and the Turner channels. The appointments of Chang and Warren as president of WarnerMedia Distribution come as part of the continuing shakeup of HBO and Turner operations following AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner last year.
Overseeing various units, he will report to AT&T chair and CEO Randall Stephenson, who says: “Now is the time to more tightly align our collection of world-class content, scaled consumer relationships, technical know-how and innovative advertising technology.”
Sarah Aubrey will lead the programming team as head of original content for WarnerMedia’s new streaming service, which will layer original programming into all of HBO’s programming. Eric Besner will be SVP of business development and strategy.
In a shakeup of what was once Turner’s ad sales division, former Turner International head Gerhard Zeiler has been named interim president of the ad sales operation at AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit.
The global news giant has built the first major broadcast facility to be completely based on the SMPTE 2110 IP networking standard. “The idea behind going IP was to get everything across CNN’s facilities connected,” says Bob Hesskamp, EVP of broadcast engineering for Turner. “The other reason we did this was we wanted to build a facility that wasn’t out of date on Day One, that was software-configurable, expandable and easier to make changes to.”