This is a promotion for Lenny Daniels, who was EVP and COO of Turner Broadcasting System’s sports operation. He’ll handle day-to-day management and continue to work with TBS President David Levy on strategic issues including acquisitions, programming and expanding sports media rights. Daniels helped negotiate TBS’ 2012 deal with Major League Baseball, the 2010 agreement with the NCAA to offer Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, and the 2012 acquisition Bleacher Report, a sports Web site.
Tribune Digital Ventures Acquires What’s-ON
The $27M deal is the Chicago-based media company’s latest effort to establish itself as a power in TV metadata, including information for onscreen program guides. What’s-ON provides that data for cable and TV services in 16 countries including India, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Bahrain, Indonesia, Kenya, and Sri Lanka. The transaction means “we will have a new presence in markets with significant opportunity,” CEO Peter Liguori says. What’s-ON’s management will stay with the operation which will continue to operate from Mumbai.
Ross Levinsohn Joins DramaFever Board
This is an interesting choice for the media exec who recently left as chief of Guggenheim Digital Media, and previously served as Yahoo’s interim CEO, and president of Fox Interactive Media. DramaFever is an online video service (with subscription and ad-supported free options) that syndicates programming from around the world, … Read More »
Guggenheim won’t comment about Ross Levinsohn‘s departure, first reported by Re/code. But the development has been long expected, even though the former Yahoo interim CEO has only been at the investment firm’s media operation — which includes The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, and Dick Clark Productions — since January 2013. When it hired Levinsohn, Guggenheim said that it planned to allocate “significant capital to acquire and invest in new media companies and properties that will meaningfully expand its current portfolio.” But it became clear by late last year that he had lost his mojo at the company. In November, Michel Protti – who was Levinsohn’s chief of staff at Yahoo – announced his plan to leave as Guggenheim Digital’s SVP Strategy and Operations to become Director of Emerging Business at Facebook. Then, in January, he lost Zander Lurie, a former CFO and M&A guy at CBS Interactive, who had joined in 2013 to help with Levinsohn’s expansion plans at Guggenheim Digital. He also lost control of THR and Billboard when Guggenheim Media promoted Janice Min to Chief Creative Officer of its Entertainment Group, which includes the magazines, with John Amato serving as co-president overseeing business affairs.
EXCLUSIVE: EVP Zander Lurie has confirmed that he plans to leave Guggenheim Digital Media. That will make him the second of CEO Ross Levinsohn’s top lieutenants to bolt over the past three months, and company watchers are wondering how long the former Yahoo interim CEO will remain at the firm that owns The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek, Dick Clark Productions and other entertainment properties. Lurie, a former CFO and M&A guy at CBS Interactive, joined last February to help with Levinsohn’s expansion plans at Guggenheim Digital, owned by financial services firm Guggenheim Partners. A year ago tomorrow — when Guggenheim announced that it had hired Levinsohn — it said that it planned to allocate “significant capital to acquire and invest in new media companies and properties that will meaningfully expand its current portfolio.” But Levinsohn appears to have lost his mojo. In November Michel Protti – who was Levinsohn’s chief of staff at Yahoo – announced his plan to leave as Guggenheim Digital’s SVP Strategy and Operations to become Director of Emerging Business at Facebook. Last week, Levinsohn lost control of THR and Billboard as Guggenheim Media promoted Janice Min to Chief Creative Officer of its Entertainment Group, which includes the magazines, with John Amato serving as co-president overseeing business affairs. Both report to Guggenheim Partners President Todd Boehly, as does Levinsohn. A company rep declined comment on Levinsohn’s status.
Yahoo probably would have focused more on media than on technology if it had chosen Ross Levinsohn to be CEO instead of former Google exec Marissa Mayer. But Levinsohn, who served as interim CEO for two months, tells CNBC that he’s pleased to see “optimism again” under Mayer and urges investors to “give her time.” Having left the company, he says he’s looking for opportunities to support “premium media” including video which he says “is not replicable.”
It would have been awkward for former Interim CEO Ross Levinsohn to have stayed after Yahoo passed him over and named former Google exec Marissa Mayer to the top job. But he’ll be nicely compensated for his two-month stint running the company after former CEO Scott Thompson left in May following disclosures that he had inflated his academic credentials. The board awarded Levinsohn 67,000 restricted shares and 250,000 stock options at an exercise price of $15.80 — the closing price on July 26 — Yahoo disclosed in an SEC filing. The board also approved 12 months of accelerated vesting of his previous equity awards. His separation agreement establishes that he was terminated without cause. That entitles him to a cash payment equal to his base salary for 12 months, his targeted annual bonus, plus a prorated portion of his target annual bonus for 2013. For some restricted stock the company awarded him in November 2011 he’ll be credited with 12 additional months of employment. Don’t expect to hear the former News Corp exec tell all about Yahoo. His agreement includes a non-disparagement clause that prevents Levinsohn from criticizing the company for five years unless he’s legally required to do so. Yahoo execs also can’t “knowingly” criticize him “other than in the good-faith performance of their duties to the Company or in connection with their fiduciary duties to the Company and applicable law.” Levinsohn joined Yahoo in October 2010.
Yahoo appears ready to make interim CEO Ross Levinsohn permanent, according to multiple reports. The board is meeting today, and it’s worth noting that Yahoo has had five CEOs in as many years. Skeptics abound regarding Yahoo’s future — and there was more bad news today that Yahoo’s share of search continued to slide, to 13% from 15.9% while Google’s rose to 66.8%. Microsoft’s Bing rose to 15.6 from 14.4%. But Yahoo and partner Microsoft’s combined share slipped to 28.6% from 30.3%. Some may wonder whether Levinsohn is too much a Yahoo veteran to be able to turn the company around, but the board may decide that stability is more important right now. He did contribute to Yahoo and Facebook settling a serious patent infringement legal battle and the resulting expansion of their partnership in advertising and other businesses. Other potential CEO contenders such as Hulu’s Jason Kilar and current News Corp chief digital officer Jonathan Miller have taken themselves out of the running. After the most recent CEO Scott Thompson departed under a cloud of resume-padding scandal after only a few months, the board may decide to stick with Levinsohn.
Michael Barrett and interim Yahoo CEO Ross Levinsohn worked together at Fox Interactive Media, where Barrett held the same title and oversaw finances at MySpace and FoxSports.com among other properties. Here’s the release announcing today’s move:
SUNNYVALE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ: YHOO) announced today that it has appointed Michael Barrett as Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer. Barrett will be responsible for Yahoo’s advertising revenue and operations globally for the company, with Americas, EMEA and APAC regional leads reporting to him.
Loyola Marymount University’s School of Film and Television annual Steed Symposium included past and present media heavy-hitters on a panel at Creative Artists Agency’s Ray Kurtzman Theater. The subject was ‘The New Disruptors’ about today’s showbiz gamechangers. The panel included past Big Media disruptors like Michael Fuchs, chairman/CEO of HBO (1984-1995) and former chairman of the Warner Music Group as well as Warren Lieberfarb, the former president of Warner Home Video; and today’s disruptors like Ross Levinsohn, EVP of Yahoo!’s Americas region, and Sara Pollack, YouTube’s senior marketing manager. Film producer and former United Artists chief Paula Wagner moderated.
First up with a comment was Fuchs, honored earlier in the day on the LMU campus for pioneering original content on HBO. (He joked that he’s an ‘old disruptor’.) Fuchs was sharply critical of traditional Hollywood companies. “The big old media companies don’t innovate. Fox buys My Space, it dies,” he said, to laughter. He praised Lieberfarb’s spearheading an entertainment industry standard for the DVD as one of the few times that an established media behemoth had disrupted the status quo.
Lieberfarb in turn took old media to task for its lack of innovation. “The real question is, in media companies today, where are the Sarnoffs and the Paleys?” he said.
Levinsohn answered that question by noting how, “in the traditional media, there aren’t disruptors anymore.” He said too many media leaders are “fearful, not fearless. Who’s taking those chances? Google, Apple. Silicon Valley is fearless when it comes to disrupting. Hollywood is fearless when it comes to creating beautiful programming… Those who figure out both will be successful.” Read More »