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50 VOD Professionals North America 2016 - Results!

Who are the fifty most influential people working in the North American online video industry? Here are our 2016 results!

North America is home to some of the largest and most powerful content distributors in the world and exerts a massive influence over the global market with regards to product innovation and strategic experimentation. With bumper budgets at their disposal, major U.S. and Canadian television companies are investing heavily in building up their online video propositions to combat the rise of disruptive, non-traditional players such as Netflix, Facebook, Amazon and Apple.

Take, for example, Sling TV, a direct-to-consumer SVOD service launched by DISH Networks to offset the growth of cord-cutting. Since its launch thirteen months ago it has managed to secure around 600,000 paying subscribers, indicative of the changing consumer attitudes towards restrictive cable packages. Or have a look at Disney which has attempted to diversify its content portfolio and capture the eyeballs of millennials by investing heavily into alternative forms of entertainment, such as short-form video and virtual reality. Even sports, a linear viewing banker, is making a move online - both the WWE Network and MLB, plus a host of others, have launched D2C on-demand players.

Yes, the North American market is complex and super-interesting which is largely down to the individuals building terrific services and driving audience engagement within it. Cue 50 VOD Professionals North America 2016!  

We've been collecting your nominations for the past few weeks on who you think are the most influential online video executives Stateside. These were then put in front of a panel of senior industry judges who decided the ranking. Today, we're incredibly excited to publish the final results.

Feel free to congratulate the chosen and tell us what you think by tweeting us @VODProfessional using the hashtag #50VODProfessionals.

  • 1

    Reed Hastings

    CEO, Netflix

    Reed Hastings - CEO, Netflix
    1

    Reed Hastings

    CEO, Netflix

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Could it Have Been Anyone Else?

    Netflix is, of course, the darling of the online video world. With 75 million global subscribers, a huge content library and a front-end product that broadcasters and other service-providers hold up as a benchmark, the company is going from strength to strength. Reed Hastings is the captain at the helm and we particularly enjoyed his ballsy and bravura performance on stage at CES earlier this year where he announced that while he was speaking, Netflix had launched simultaneously in 130 countries. Choppy waters lie ahead however in the form of increased competition from Amazon and some producers (e.g. Discovery) threatening to pull their content.

  • 2

    Ryan Pirozzi

    Head of Content Acquisition, Amazon Video

    Ryan Pirozzi - Head of Content Acquisition, Amazon Video
    2

    Ryan Pirozzi

    Head of Content Acquisition, Amazon Video

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Hey Big Spender

    Two years ago Amazon Prime Video came a distant second to Netflix across all key indicators: subscribers, size of content catalogue, brand recognition and goodwill. That gap is now closing however largely thanks to its growing library of premium programming. Since Transparent became the first show produced by Amazon Studios to win a major award in January 2015, the company has aggressively spent big bucks on acquiring and commissioning exclusive content, most notably splashing $250 million on hiring the former Top Gear presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, for an as yet unnamed motoring show. Pirozzi currently leads the U.S based acquisition team and licenses television on a worldwide basis for the service.

  • 3

    Ted Sarandos

    Chief Content Officer, Netflix

    Ted Sarandos - Chief Content Officer, Netflix
    3

    Ted Sarandos

    Chief Content Officer, Netflix

    Previous rank: New Entry

    The Content King

    In the new world of online television, there are lots of lessons that broadcasters can learn from Netflix - product development, content recommendation, launch and marketing strategies, pay model experimentation and subscriber management are just a few examples. In the opposite direction, Netflix is taking on more broadcaster-like characteristics especially when it comes to developing original content. Responsible for mega-hits like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Daredevil, Sarandos has a budget of $6 billion this year alone for both acquisitions and commissions and has stated his aim to have over 600 hours of original video on Netflix by the end of 2016.

  • 4

    Mark Zuckerberg

    CEO, Facebook

    Mark Zuckerberg - CEO, Facebook
    4

    Mark Zuckerberg

    CEO, Facebook

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Making Video Social

    “Video is an important part of the Facebook experience” said Zuckerberg when reporting the social networks financial results for 2015. He wasn’t saying this glibly – over 500 million people are watching Facebook videos daily, in turn generating 56 billion views every week. Whilst its questionable exactly what counts as a view (due to videos auto-playing when a user hovers over them) there is no denying that these are some impressive numbers nonetheless. Zuckerberg has also recently put a huge focus on live video, tweaking the platforms News Feed algorithm to put real-time broadcasts front and centre.

  • 5

    Richard Plepler

    CEO, HBO

    Richard Plepler - CEO, HBO
    5

    Richard Plepler

    CEO, HBO

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Forward Thinking

    It seems that more or less every U.S. operator is now responding to the growing trend of cord-cutting, as millennials spend less time watching linear and more time online. Perhaps one of the first to recognise this phenomenon (and also embrace it) was HBO, which is headed up by Plepler. With the aim of being available “where, when and how people want”, Plepler launched direct-to-consumer service HBO Now last year which has since amassed almost 1 million subscribers. The CEO has also hinted at an international expansion of the proposition at some point in the future.

  • 6

    Susan Wojcicki

    CEO, YouTube

    Susan Wojcicki - CEO, YouTube
    6

    Susan Wojcicki

    CEO, YouTube

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Entertaining the World with Bite Size Video

    The king of short-form programming, YouTube commands an audience of around 1/7 of the world’s population and reaches more 18-49 year olds than any cable network in the U.S. Hundreds of millions of hours of content are watched every day on the platform, in turn generating billions of views, and the number of people watching the Google-backed service daily has increased 40% year-on-year since March 2014. The company has remained nimble in responding to its competition – in the last 12 months it has launched YouTube Red, an ad-free version of its service, YouTube Gaming, a live-streaming platform, and a slew of original titles.

  • 7

    Emmett Shear

    CEO, Twitch

    Emmett Shear - CEO, Twitch
    7

    Emmett Shear

    CEO, Twitch

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Live Video Streaming Pioneer

    A few weeks ago Twitch launched its 2015 Retrospective which contained one whopping statistic – in the previous 12 months it captured more than 450,000 years’ worth of live-stream viewing. Shear is responsible for providing the vision for the brand, which was purchased by Amazon in 2014 for $1 billion, and has helped transform casual gaming from a hobby and into an occupation. The platform currently attracts 8.5 million daily active users who each spend around 106 minutes consuming content. In 2012, Shear was included in Forbes Magazine’s annual 30 under 30 list.

  • 8

    Eddy Cue

    Senior Vice President, Internet Software and Services, Apple

    Eddy Cue - Senior Vice President, Internet Software and Services, Apple
    8

    Eddy Cue

    Senior Vice President, Internet Software and Services, Apple

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Technology Veteran

    It’s a classic will-they-won’t-they scenario. Apple has long-rumoured been working on a branded television streaming service, which would include TV and movie programming, however process has reportedly been slow going due to negotiations with the content providers. One thing is for sure however – if any man can bring the right players to the table, its Eddy Cue. Responsible for overseeing Apple’s content stores (e.g. iTunes), Cue is purportedly leading conversations with Hollywood executives about investing in original programming that would be offered exclusively to his customers. He joined Apple back in 1989 and was instrumental in launching the App Store in 2008.

  • 9

    Jason Kilar

    CEO, Vessel

    Jason Kilar - CEO, Vessel
    9

    Jason Kilar

    CEO, Vessel

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Shaking up the Short-Form Market

    The former head of Hulu launched Vessel last year, a short-form YouTube competitor which offers selected content 72 hours before it lands on the Google-backed service. With around $132.5 million in funding, Kilar courted top publishers with the promise of larger revenues – creators get a cut from the $2.99 subscription fee and a larger share from advertisements when compared to YouTube (70% vs. 55%). Whilst the company has yet to reveal any hard viewing numbers, it did recently announce the launch of an ad-free service. Kilar was CEO of Hulu for five years and currently sits on the Board of Directors for DreamWorks Animation.

  • 10

    Joe Inzerillo

    CTO, Major League Baseball

    Joe Inzerillo - CTO, Major League Baseball
    10

    Joe Inzerillo

    CTO, Major League Baseball

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Leading Major League Baseball in Online TV

    Described by Forbes as the “biggest media company you’ve never heard of”, MLB has built a nearly $1 billion technology business around delivering live and on-demand baseball content via its own OTT service and selling the technology to other content companies (like ESPN, World Wrestling Entertainment and Sony). The man behind it all? Joe Inzerillo, who acts as Chief Technology Officer for the league. He joined MLB back in 2003 after a two-year stint as CTO of Chicago’s United Centre.

  • 11

    George Barrios

    Chief Strategy and Financial Officer, WWE Network

    George Barrios  - Chief Strategy and Financial Officer, WWE Network
    11

    George Barrios

    Chief Strategy and Financial Officer, WWE Network

    Previous rank: New Entry

    What a Smackdown!

    With cord-cutting on the rise, many traditional cable channels have begun to explore direct-to-consumer propositions in order to capture an audience which is increasingly looking for content elsewhere. The WWE Network is no different and, so far, it seems to be doing a sterling job. Research firm Parks Associates ranks WWE Network as the fifth largest D2C OTT service in the States (ranking alongside Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Hulu and MLB.TV) with a subscriber base of more than 1.2 million. In his role, Barrios is responsible for leading strategic planning, financial management and technology.

  • 12

    Navin Prasad

    Lead Product Designer, Netflix

    Navin Prasad - Lead Product Designer, Netflix
    12

    Navin Prasad

    Lead Product Designer, Netflix

    Previous rank: New Entry

    All About the Product

    In the last few years the UI design of VOD services has become fairly homogenous – a grid-like format featuring bold movie poster icons with a carousel on the top – and this is largely in part due to the influence that Netflix exerts on the industry. Its products are best in class across devices and Prasad, as Lead Product Designer, has been involved with many of the service’s bigger projects over the last few years. This includes its website redesign last year, the implementation of social features in 2011 and the creation of the entire iPad UI.

  • 13

    Chris Williams

    Chief Audience Officer, Maker Studios

    Chris Williams - Chief Audience Officer, Maker Studios
    13

    Chris Williams

    Chief Audience Officer, Maker Studios

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Driving Audience Growth

    Maker Studios has some serious creative talent on its roster – PewDiePie, StampyCat and Shay Carl to name a few – and, as Chief Audience Officer, Williams is responsible for growing its creator network and increasing revenue by getting eyeballs on screens. Since joining the company in 2012 (which was purchased by Disney in May 2014 for nearly $1 billion) he has seen over 55,000 video producers join the MCN which together generate over 11 billion monthly views on a variety of digital platforms, including YouTube. Prior to his current role Williams formed Disney Online Originals, a new division at the studio dedicated to the creation of branded short-form content.

  • 14

    Deron Triff

    Head of Media Partnerships, Licensing and Format Innovation, TED

    Deron Triff - Head of Media Partnerships, Licensing and Format Innovation, TED
    14

    Deron Triff

    Head of Media Partnerships, Licensing and Format Innovation, TED

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Making the Connections

    Having reached its 1 billionth video view all the way back in 2012, TED Talks is a serious force in the educational OTT world. The non-profit, which showcases its talks and conferences on web and mobile, has built a stunning app that features some nifty features – for instance, users can define the amount of time they have or mood they are in and then get served up relevant content. In his five years as Head of Media Partnerships, Triff has developed channels that have grown monthly TED Talk views / listens from 4 million to 70 million.

  • 15

    Eric Berger

    Executive Vice President and General Manager, Sony Pictures Television / Crackle

    Eric Berger - Executive Vice President and General Manager, Sony Pictures Television / Crackle
    15

    Eric Berger

    Executive Vice President and General Manager, Sony Pictures Television / Crackle

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Finding Success with AVOD

    As General Manager of Crackle, a global AVOD streaming network from Sony Pictures Television, Berger oversees all aspects of keeping the service moving forward, including content, product and marketing. Under Berger’s direction, Crackle has become one of the leading OTT ad-supported networks in the U.S. market and, we’re told, he has been at the forefront of its transformation. Additional GM duties include running the digital businesses of Sony Pictures Television’s networks worldwide, which includes 150 channels reaching 1.3 billion cumulative households. Prior to Sony Pictures, Berger was Vice President of Strategic Planning at Time Warner Inc.

  • 16

    Sam Toles

    Head of Global Content and Distribution, Vimeo

    Sam Toles - Head of Global Content and Distribution, Vimeo
    16

    Sam Toles

    Head of Global Content and Distribution, Vimeo

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Providing Premium Programming

    Content, content, content – the key differentiator in the OTT world. It doesn’t matter how feature-rich or pretty-looking you make your service, if it doesn’t have the programming to back it up, it’s not going anywhere. This is not lost on Toles, who has P&L ownership of Vimeo’s consumer-facing content business. Overseeing all video acquisition, development and distribution, he recently announced a brand new slate of exclusive programming that will be available to the service’s 200 million viewers worldwide later in 2016. Before Vimeo, Toles headed up content strategy and acquisitions at GaiamTV.

  • 17

    Andre Sala

    Head of Content Strategy, Vine

    Andre Sala - Head of Content Strategy, Vine
    17

    Andre Sala

    Head of Content Strategy, Vine

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Social Video Expert

    There are some pretty impressive statistics that have come out of Vine, the short-form video sharing service where users can post six-second-long looping video clips, in the last 24 months. It has 100 million monthly active users; the number of Vine loops played daily is around 1 billion; around 71% of Vine users are Millennials. There is a vibrant community of creators on the platform and, heading up content strategy, is Andre Sala. Having joined the company in September 2014, Sala got to work quickly – Vine Kids, a dedicated app which offers short videos of animated characters for children, was his idea.

  • 18

    Ray William Johnson

    Creator, YouTube

    Ray William Johnson - Creator, YouTube
    18

    Ray William Johnson

    Creator, YouTube

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Key YouTube Influencer

    Our list of 50 VOD Professionals would be incomplete without a nod to the YouTube creator community. People like Ray William Johnson (who runs a channel on the video service that, to date, has garnered 10 million subscribers and a collective 3 billion views) are incredibly influential figures for younger audiences. This is not lost on advertisers - a study released last year by Defy Media found that 63% of 14-17 year olds would try a product / brand suggested by a YouTube star, compared to only 47% who would from a TV series of movie.

  • 19

    Lisa Holme

    Head of Content Acquisition, Hulu

    Lisa Holme - Head of Content Acquisition, Hulu
    19

    Lisa Holme

    Head of Content Acquisition, Hulu

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Getting Content to the People

    Last year there was a point when Hulu looked as if it may be written off – subscriber numbers for Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video were growing rapidly thanks to an influx of premium programming and users of Hulu bemoaned the fact that they were subjected to ads even after paying a subscription fee. But now the service’s fortunes look to be changing – some serious investments in exclusive content and a re-haul of its commercial model have made it a much more attractive proposition. Holme is responsible for driving Hulu’s video strategy and, in 2014, led negotiations accounting for 80% of its licensed content spend.

  • 20

    Edward Lee

    Vice President of Content Acquisition. Roku

    Edward Lee - Vice President of Content Acquisition. Roku
    20

    Edward Lee

    Vice President of Content Acquisition. Roku

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Online Video Master

    According to research from Parks Associates, Roku leads streaming media device sales in the US with 34% of the total market share, followed by Google, Amazon and Apple respectively. Part of the reason for its success lies in the vast number of channels available in its library – currently listed as over 1,700 on Roku’s website. As VP of Content Acquisition, Lee is responsible for developing content partner relationships for Roku. He has more than 20 years’ experience leading teams in both the traditional and media industries and, prior to taking up his role at Roku in 2009, headed up business development at two leading online video companies.

  • 21

    Will Law

    Chief Architect, Media Cloud Engineering, Akamai

    Will Law - Chief Architect, Media Cloud Engineering, Akamai
    21

    Will Law

    Chief Architect, Media Cloud Engineering, Akamai

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Expert Engineer

    Law first joined Akamai back in 2008 and has since risen through the ranks to become the CDN’s Chief Architect of Media Cloud Engineering. In this role he is responsible for supporting new and strategic initiatives for the Media Cloud team, including MPEG DASH, mobile, connected devices, HTTP adaptive streaming, HLS and security. He has worked in the streaming media space for over ten years and wrote many of the early connection frameworks that still drive much of the traffic flowing over Akamai today. Law holds a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Engineering.

  • 22

    Roger Lynch

    CEO, Sling TV

    Roger Lynch - CEO, Sling TV
    22

    Roger Lynch

    CEO, Sling TV

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Cutting the Cord with Sling TV

    Sling TV is the response from satellite provider DISH Network to the growing trend of cord-cutting in the States – a direct-to-consumer OTT proposition that offers a selection of the major cable channels and video on demand content. As of February 2016 the service has around 600,000 paying subscribers, which is strong growth considering it was released only 13 months ago. Lynch, who oversaw the creation and deployment of Sling TV, joined DISH back in 2009 and led the successful re-launch of DishWorld (now Sling International) in 2012. Under his leadership DishWorld grew its subscriber base more than tenfold.

  • 23

    Michael Hawkey

    Senior Vice President & General Manager, Discovery Business Group, Rovi

    Michael Hawkey - Senior Vice President & General Manager, Discovery Business Group, Rovi
    23

    Michael Hawkey

    Senior Vice President & General Manager, Discovery Business Group, Rovi

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Leading the Way in Content Discovery

    With more than 25 years of OTT industry experience, Hawkey currently leads the development of product offerings in multiple areas across the discovery business group at Rovi, including both the Fan TV consumer app and platform offering. Prior to this role he worked at Sling Media, a consumer electronics company, where he oversaw all aspects of the business, from product development to marketing and road mapping, giving him a multi-layered understanding of the industry.

  • 24

    Teresa Perera

    Senior Director, Product Design, ESPN

    Teresa Perera - Senior Director, Product Design, ESPN
    24

    Teresa Perera

    Senior Director, Product Design, ESPN

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Seasoned Veteran

    Perera has a rich heritage in the media design space, holding senior positions at both Hulu and NBC Universal before landing in her current role at ESPN. Whilst at NBC she led a team of 15 designers on a wide range of initiatives – including the rebranding of Hulu, Syfy UK and NBC Olympics. In her current role Perera is providing cross-platform product design solutions for many of ESPN’s brands including WatchESPN, International Editions and stand-alone sites such as Cricinfo, ESPN FC and ESPN Scrum. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Design and Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

  • 25

    Jerry Seinfeld

    Actor, Crackle

    Jerry Seinfeld  - Actor, Crackle
    25

    Jerry Seinfeld

    Actor, Crackle

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Crackle’s Super Celebrity

    Our list wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of star power and Jerry Seinfeld, one of the most successful comedians of all time, certainly fits that bill. But what makes him influential in the OTT space, I hear you ask? His online-only TV series, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which commands audiences of up to 100 million per month. With multiple industry accolades, hundreds of millions of dollars and the heritage of creating one of the best television shows in history, Seinfeld could easily command a primetime slot on terrestrial television. His decision to walk away from that is evidence of the growing influence of streaming video.

  • 26

    Craig Seidel

    Vice President, Distribution Technology, MovieLabs

    Craig Seidel - Vice President, Distribution Technology, MovieLabs
    26

    Craig Seidel

    Vice President, Distribution Technology, MovieLabs

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Skilled Architect

    As VP of Distribution Technology at MovieLabs, a “Hollywood on-ramp for advanced technologies and innovations in digital distribution”, Seidel focuses on all aspects of the digital supply chain including interactivity, metadata and file delivery. We’re told that he architected the Common Metadata specifications that define much of UltraViolet technology, and most recently authored the Media Manifest Delivery Core specification, a simplified schema for the delivery of online motion picture and television media assets, making it easier for content owners to distribute content globally. Prior to MovieLabs, Seidel held roles at Rovi, TiVo and Liberate Technologies.

  • 27

    Jessalyn Blatty

    Senior Manager, Product Management, Disney ABC Television Group

    Jessalyn Blatty - Senior Manager, Product Management, Disney ABC Television Group
    27

    Jessalyn Blatty

    Senior Manager, Product Management, Disney ABC Television Group

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Broadcast Veteran

    With the levels of cash Disney commands, it can afford to spend big when it comes to online video and innovation. And it does! Following its acquisition of Maker Studios for $1 billion back in 2014, the studio has also splashed around $400 million in Vice Media, to be used on content production and international expansion, and around $65 million on virtual reality studio Jaunt. Blatty, who serves as Senior Manager of Product Management, joined the company in 2014 following almost five years at A+E Networks.

  • 28

    Rajeev Raman

    Senior Director, Cisco Cloud Solutions

    Rajeev Raman - Senior Director, Cisco Cloud Solutions
    28

    Rajeev Raman

    Senior Director, Cisco Cloud Solutions

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Excellent Pedigree

    Raman joined Cisco back in November 2015 when his business, 1Mainstream, was acquired by the set-top-box provider. 1Mainstram had raised $7 million in funding from investors who liked the look of the company’s on-demand and live multi-screen services delivered through the cloud. Commenting on the purchase, Cisco claimed that 1Mainstream would help it become “immediately relevant” within a broader spectrum of the video market, including OTT. Before joining Cisco, Raman served as Vice President of Product at Roku.

  • 29

    Spike Jonze

    Creative Director, Vice Media

    Spike Jonze - Creative Director, Vice Media
    29

    Spike Jonze

    Creative Director, Vice Media

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Blazing a Trail at Vice Media

    In the last 24 months Vice Media has been making some serious noise in the broadcast industry – from securing $400 million in investment from Disney (valuing the company at $2.5 billion) to launching a nightly news programme on HBO Now to starting up its very own U.S. cable channel named Viceland. The latter is where Jonze comes in. With an expected reach of 70 million households, he will be responsible for overseeing branding, marketing and show production. Shane Smith, Vice CEO, has suggested the channel will host “native advertising” – sponsored content that blends into the shows themselves.

  • 30

    Cenk Uygur

    Host and Co-Founder, The Young Turks Network

    Cenk Uygur - Host and Co-Founder, The Young Turks Network
    30

    Cenk Uygur

    Host and Co-Founder, The Young Turks Network

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Making the News Relevant

    The news (and sports) will be one of the last bastions of live TV viewing in 10 years’ time - it’s reasonable to expect that almost all other viewing will be consumed on-demand by 2026. And in this future, where Millennials have grown up, will they still be tuning into traditional networks like CNN for their fix of daily events? Perhaps. Or they’ll turn to the online-only channels they grew up with, like TYT Network. With over 2.7 million subscribers on YouTube and over 2.5 billion views, Uygur is the creator and host of the influential current affairs channel alongside Ana Kasparian.

  • 31

    David Mendels

    CEO, Brightcove

    David Mendels  - CEO, Brightcove
    31

    David Mendels

    CEO, Brightcove

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Visionary at Brightcove

    Mendels has nearly two decades of experience as a general manager and corporate strategist and is a recognised leader in the development and strategies behind rich Internet applications. Prior to taking the top job at Brightcove, he served as Executive Vice President and General Manager at Macromedia before it was acquired by Adobe Systems in 2005. During this time he directly managed the company’s flagship products and at Adobe he led the Business Productivity business unit where he was responsible for generating $1 billion in revenue from products including Adobe Acrobat, Acrobat Connect and Flex.

  • 32

    Rachel Payne

    prizma, CEO

    Rachel Payne - prizma, CEO
    32

    Rachel Payne

    prizma, CEO

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Steering the prizma Charge

    A serial entrepreneur and tech executive, Payne serves as CEO of two ventures – prizma, an end-to-end video solution for media brands, and FEM Inc., a media company that has built a video discovery and recommendation platform that can be embedded into any website or application. Before she struck off on her own, Payne served as Principal, Global Strategic Alliances, at Google where she worked with the executive team across all product areas to develop strategy and engagement models for Google’s global partners. Payne holds an MBA in Global Business and Public Management from Stanford and sits on the board of BRAC USA.

  • 33

    Brian Rifkin

    Co-Founder, JW Player

    Brian Rifkin - Co-Founder, JW Player
    33

    Brian Rifkin

    Co-Founder, JW Player

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Ensuring Smooth Delivery of Video

    Sticking your videos on Facebook or YouTube is great when you’re trying to build your brand but to have complete control over how your audience engages with your content you’ll need to have your own video player in place. This is where JW Player steps in. With an impressive client roster that includes VICE, Pop Sugar and The Washington Post, its flagship product is live on more than 2 million sites and streams billions of videos each month across all devices. Rifkin heads up business development at the company and has held senior positions at both A Simple Internet and About.com.

  • 34

    Dr. Kanaan Jemili

    President and CEO, NeuLion

    Dr. Kanaan Jemili - President and CEO, NeuLion
    34

    Dr. Kanaan Jemili

    President and CEO, NeuLion

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Powering the World’s Biggest Sports Services

    An engineer by training, Dr. Jemili has over twenty years’ experience in the video technology space, holding roles at companies such as Verance, DivX and Rovi. We’re told that under his leadership NeuLion, an online video provider, has strengthened its position in the over-the-top video delivery space, powering services of globally recognised brands that include the NFL and Univision Communications. Dr. Jemili holds a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from l’Ecole Nationale d’Ingnieurs de Tunis (ENIT) and a Ph.D. degree in in Electrical Engineering from the University of Dayton.

  • 35

    Saschka Unseld

    Creative Director, Oculus Studio

    Saschka Unseld - Creative Director, Oculus Studio
    35

    Saschka Unseld

    Creative Director, Oculus Studio

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Creating a New Form of Entertainment

    Last year Reed Hastings was asked by Wired magazine if there is a force in the industry that he fears. His answer? Virtual reality. The medium has already proved to be a hot topic at conferences this year such as Connected TV Summit and a number of major players in the broadcast world have already made significant investments in the medium. The company leading the VR charge is Oculus, a headset manufacturer bought by Facebook two years ago. Unseld, in his role as Creative Director at Oculus Studios, is currently working with his team to produce five animated VR films.

  • 36

    James Glasscock

    Senior Vice President Strategy and Business Development, Machinima

    James Glasscock	 - Senior Vice President Strategy and Business Development, Machinima
    36

    James Glasscock

    Senior Vice President Strategy and Business Development, Machinima

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Key Strategist

    Machinima is one of the largest entertainment providers of eSports and gaming content worldwide, reaching over 160 million fans who watch, on average, 3.8 billion video views every month. In his role as SVP of Strategy and Business Development, Glasscock leads his team on developing content distribution partnerships with digital publishers, including cable, satellite, telco’s and wireless carriers. Before joining the network, he held senior positions at Turner Broadcasting and Playboy Television. Whilst working at the latter he managed to reduce operating expenses by $20 million annually over three years.

  • 37

    Dina Juliano

    Senior Vice President, Consumer Product Strategy, TV Everywhere, NBC Universal

    Dina Juliano - Senior Vice President, Consumer Product Strategy, TV Everywhere, NBC Universal
    37

    Dina Juliano

    Senior Vice President, Consumer Product Strategy, TV Everywhere, NBC Universal

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Leading NBCU into a Digital Age

    Juliano has a rich heritage in the broadcast space, spending 12 years at HBO before moving to NBC Universal in 2014. Whilst at the cable channel she headed up user experience and product design for its suite of digital propositions including HBO Go, HBO.com, MaxGo and HBO On Demand. According to Variety, Juliano is currently responsible for “developing product strategy to expand Peacock’s TV Everywhere growth across authenticated digital channels, including web, mobile and connected devices”.

  • 38

    Shahid Khan

    Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, Mediamorph

    Shahid Khan - Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, Mediamorph
    38

    Shahid Khan

    Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, Mediamorph

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Taking Mediamorph to the Next Level

    As co-founder of Mediamorph, a global provider of cloud-based applications that streamline the digital video supply chain, Shahid leads the company’s overall strategy, customer acquisition and the hiring of top executives. Prior to launching the company back in 2010, he held roles at IBM and ZEFER and currently acts as Managing Director of Meridian Advisory Group, a management consulting firm for the digital content ecosystem. Used by nearly all US TV networks, including Comcast, DISH and Cablevision, Mediamorph offers solutions that assist content distributors in handling their programming deals, rights, royalties and analytics

  • 39

    Hui Zhang

    Co-Founder and CEO, Conviva

    Hui Zhang - Co-Founder and CEO, Conviva
    39

    Hui Zhang

    Co-Founder and CEO, Conviva

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Improving Video Quality

    Capturing relevant data from your video service, whether it focuses on user behaviour or performance quality, is now a necessity to find success in OTT. Conviva falls into the latter camp – experts on OTT delivery optimisation, the company measures sensors that sit within a video player to measure the playback experience. This information is then used to improve the quality of the stream. Zhang founded Conviva back in 2006 alongside his colleague Dr. Ion Stoica. He holds a PhD in electronic engineering from the University of California.

  • 40

    Jared Dielwart

    Chief Content Officer, Kidoodle.TV

    Jared Dielwart - Chief Content Officer, Kidoodle.TV
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    Jared Dielwart

    Chief Content Officer, Kidoodle.TV

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Kid Power!

    Kids VOD is big business – there’s no doubt about it. Studies show that children are watching up to 4 hours of content a day across a plethora of connected devices. The larger players, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video Larger companies, are investing significant sums into acquiring relevant content whilst smaller operators, like Kidoodle.TV, are trying to reinvent the way young people watch television. As Chief Content Officer, Dielwart leads the acquisition and distribution of programming on the service.

  • 41

    Alex Drosin

    President, North America, Massive Interactive

    Alex Drosin - President, North America, Massive Interactive
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    Alex Drosin

    President, North America, Massive Interactive

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Massively Influential

    Drosin manages Massive’s Tier 1 clients across the U.S., Canada and Latin America. We’re told that he is responsible for the recent deployment of major multiscreen OTT services for Bell Media, Sony Pictures Television, Canal Sony and AXN. He also leads projects for Massive’s strategic consulting division which has serviced ViaSat, CBS, Rogers, and Univision, among many others. He previously spent over ten years working for Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video where he helped establish Saturday Night Live’s presence around the world. He enjoys writing about OTT & IPTV and is a regular at all major conferences.

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    Margaret Crocker

    Program Acquisition Manager, Curious World / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    Margaret Crocker - Program Acquisition Manager, Curious World / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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    Margaret Crocker

    Program Acquisition Manager, Curious World / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Providing Great Content for Kids

    Curious World is a subscription-based website that offers children a range of age-appropriate content, including games, videos and eBooks. There are a few nifty features that come with it – parents can set-up the app by filling out a brief profile for their child that personalises the experience, or download progress reports that detail a kid’s engagement over the previous month. As Program Acquisition Manager, Crocker manages original game production and content programming for the app. She comes from a freelance background where she has worked for companies such as A&E Television and Scholastic.

  • 43

    Kirby Grines

    Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Business Development, Float Left Interactive

    Kirby Grines - Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Business Development, Float Left Interactive
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    Kirby Grines

    Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Business Development, Float Left Interactive

    Previous rank: New Entry

    TV App Expert

    Grines is a co-founder and serves as the SVP of Business Development at Float Left, which is a multi-award winning provider of digital strategy consulting and application solutions for TV Everywhere and OTT video. In his role, Grines is responsible for corporate strategy, developing key business relationships, and managing strategic partnerships and alliances. Since 2009, Float Left has launched over 200 apps across 30+ devices, powering the user experience of some of the largest streaming services including CBS Sports, which saw 3.96M unique viewers tune into Super Bowl 50. Additional clients include AMC Networks, FOX, Viacom, and Red Bull.

  • 44

    Jay Moore

    Vice President, Marketing, Highwinds

    Jay Moore - Vice President, Marketing, Highwinds
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    Jay Moore

    Vice President, Marketing, Highwinds

    Previous rank: New Entry

    CDN Guru

    A creative professional with over 20 years of marketing experience, Moore owns the responsibility of promoting one of the highest performing CDNs on the planet by integrating all aspects of marketing, communications, public relations, and social media. He joined Highwinds back in 2007 to launch the CDN and, as such, has played a key role in building the company’s marketing arm. Moore currently sits on the board of OrlandoiX, a five-day international digital festival focused on interactive media, entertainment technology and the digital arts.

  • 45

    Josh Snow

    Vice President, Product, Fullscreen

    Josh Snow - Vice President, Product, Fullscreen
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    Josh Snow

    Vice President, Product, Fullscreen

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Getting Video onto Screens

    Snow has over fifteen years’ experience in the TV space, with stints at MSNBC, ABC News, ESPN, Sling Media and DIRECTV. His accomplishments are numerous – we’re told that he was responsible for launching the first ever OTT service from the satellite provider and managed to grow video engagement of reuters.com by 300% following a rebuild. He also developed ESPN360, now known as the direct-to-consumer streaming service WatchESPN. At Fullscreen, a global network of content creators that generates more than 7 billion monthly views, Snow heads up product.

  • 46

    Ben Lister

    Chief Operating Officer USA, Rightster

    Ben Lister - Chief Operating Officer USA, Rightster
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    Ben Lister

    Chief Operating Officer USA, Rightster

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Massive Reach

    As COO, Lister is responsible for leading a bi-coastal team of digital video and YouTube management experts in growing Righter’s U.S. presence. To date they have established hundreds of new partnerships with brands and studios including 20th Century Fox, NBC Universal and Paramount Pictures. He has over 15 years’ experience in the TMT sector, having worked at Channel 4, MTV Networks and Warner Music Group, and has deep knowledge of the YouTube and Facebook video platforms. Rightster reaches around 1.5 billion viewers per month.

  • 47

    Robert Gelick

    Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Platforms, CBS

    Robert Gelick - Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Platforms, CBS
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    Robert Gelick

    Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Platforms, CBS

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Mobile Video Master

    Gelick is an Emmy-award winning executive and is responsible for developing entertainment experiences for CBS across multiple platforms, including web mobile, social, video and gaming. Colleagues call him “a visionary in the mobile application space” which makes sense considering he spent eight years working for Motorola, starting as a Senior Design Planner and working his way up to Director of Global Portfolio Planning. He has proven success in achieving revenue profit and business growth objectives. He holds a BA in Psychology and a BFA in Industrial Design from the University of Michigan.

  • 48

    Jason Flick

    CEO and Co-Founder, You.i

    Jason Flick - CEO and Co-Founder, You.i
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    Jason Flick

    CEO and Co-Founder, You.i

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Powerful Video Player

    With over 25 years of technical and business experience, it’s no surprise that Flick oversees a company that recently netted $15 million in funding. The You.i Engine “is a cross-platform app engine that simplifies and accelerates multi-platform app development” and counts Adobe, Rogers, Pace and Crackle amongst its client base. Built on the principles of video-game engines, designers can use with the tools they love and then export their work directly into the UI framework. In June 2015 Flick was awarded with the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Ontario – Technology.

  • 49

    Rick Brace

    President of Media Business Unit, Rogers Communications

    Rick Brace - President of Media Business Unit, Rogers Communications
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    Rick Brace

    President of Media Business Unit, Rogers Communications

    Previous rank: New Entry

    True Broadcast Veteran

    As President of the Media Business Unit at Rogers Communications, Brace is responsible for overseeing operations for all of the company’s media assets, including online video. This is a pretty broad remit – the company is blazing a trail in 4K video delivery (having committed to deliver 20 NHL games in UHD this year) and launched a direct-to-consumer SVOD service back in 2014 to compete with Netflix. With over 40 years’ experience in the broadcast industry, we’re told that he has a “strong reputation for building brands and changing perceptions”.

  • 50

    Dawn OBrien

    Senior Manager, Digital Development, Bell Media

    Dawn O'Brien - Senior Manager, Digital Development, Bell Media
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    Dawn OBrien

    Senior Manager, Digital Development, Bell Media

    Previous rank: New Entry

    Big Portfolio of TV Apps

    O’Brien, in her role as Senior Manager of Digital Development at Canadian broadcaster Bell Media, leads a team of application developers in creating, releasing and maintaining OTT products for a slew of viewing devices – mobile, games consoles and connected TVs, plus all new digital platforms. Her remit covers digital products across all Bell Media brands, such as CraveTV, TMN GO and CTV to name a few. Before this, O’Brien served as Technical Manager and then Director of Technical Development at Astral Media, which was acquired by Bell in 2012 for $3.38 billion.

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