AOL Hires Viacom Exec as Head of Video, Studios
Dermot McCormack will replace current video president Ran Harnevo
AOL has hired former Viacom executive Dermot McCormack as its new president of video and studios, replacing Ran Harnevo, who is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities but will remain as executive producer of AOL's first longform original series, Connected.
Harnevo has been with AOL since 2010 when the company acquired his web-video startup 5Min Media.
McCormack will lead AOL On, the company's 14 video channels, and BE On, AOL's branded-content platform, as well as the company's original programming division AOL Studios.
In a statement, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said he hoped McCormack would help AOL's video efforts grow.
"At AOL we recognize that sight, sound and motion is the triple play of engagement and that is what drove our investment in video and 5min Media in 2010. AOL is now a top three player in video, and we owe much of this success to exceptional leadership from Ran Harnevo and the team he developed," Armstrong said. "Dermot is a game-changing talent with experience exactly where we need it — building audiences through engaging programming — and is the person I expect to take AOL's video efforts to the next level, building on our significant success to date and increasing the pace of our innovation and growth."
McCormack added: "I have watched the evolution of AOL's video strategy closely and have seen it develop into a thriving business poised to break out. I am delighted to be joining AOL now to make sure it does just that. We are early days in our journey, but the opportunity is huge and my goal is to make sure that we put in place a strategy and operating process that ensures AOL takes more than its fair share of that opportunity."
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Harnevo congratulated his successor and said he was ready to move on: "Dermot is the right person to lead AOL On forward, and it's time for me to return to my entrepreneurial roots."
McCormack previously spent nearly six years at Viacom, where he ran Viacom Music & Logo's Connected Content Group, leading all non-linear brand property initiatives for MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo. Prior to that he was svp interactive product management at Cablevision, where he led the creation of a new digital revenue growth department and drove the growth of Cablevision's interactive advertising and commerce businesses.
AOL has launched nearly 50 original series since 2011 including the Emmy-nominated Park Bench with Steve Buscemi. The company's library of curated and original video content is distributed on 15 connected devices, including Apple TV. AOL Studios recently lost Gabriel Lewis to Maker Studios with Nate Hayden taking over as head of the original programming division.