Former Machinima Exec Sanjay Sharma Joins Russell Simmons' All Def Digital
All Def Digital, the entertainment network co-founded by music mogul Russell Simmons, has appointed Sanjay Sharma its first president and chief operating officer.
Sharma comes with extensive YouTube experience, having spent nearly five years at gaming-focused YouTube multichannel network Machinima. He was one of the company's first employees and eventually became executive vp strategy and business development. Prior to joining Machinima he worked in the business and legal affairs division at Warner Bros.
Simmons said he is "thrilled to have Sanjay join us as we build a transformative new breed of media company that can surround our programming and talent with industry leading, branding, distribution and commercial partnerships."
The Def Jam co-founder started All Def Digital last year as a collaboration between his media firm, Rush Digital Media, and DreamWorks Animation-owned AwesomenessTV. The firm also counts Awesomeness CEO Brian Robbins, All Def Music CEO Steve Rifkind and longtime music executive Osman Eralp as co-founders.
Initially designed as a YouTube channel that would combine music, comedy, poetry, news and art, the company has since expanded across multiple platforms, including website ADD52, which launched in March to spotlight emerging musicians.
"We have been incubating All Def Digital for some time now, working closely with our partners at Awesomeness TV, YouTube, HBO, and Universal Music Group as we introduce an incredible new generation of talent to audiences worldwide," Simmons said. "As many of our early concepts took root, our fans responded and advertisers took note. We knew we were ready to take All Def Digital to the next level, but first we had to identify and recruit a rare executive that understood the multiracial singularly cultural audience, and knew the many worlds we play in, from digital and television to film and music."
Sharma, who will join the company's board of directors, added that "ADD is perfectly positioned to reinvent what it means to be a multidimensional consumer media brand."