Sony TV Merges Trio of Departments Under Keith Le Goy

The changes come as new chairman Mike Hopkins looks to evolve the indie studio from its old Hollywood alignment.
Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic; Courtesy of Sony
Mike Hopkins (left), Keith Le Goy

Sony Pictures Television Studios is undergoing yet another executive reshuffling.

Three months after Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman and CEO Tony Vinciquerra streamlined the indie studio's executive ranks, the company is merging three key departments under one exec. Set to merge are Sony TV's global networks operations, worldwide distribution and home entertainment. All three divisions will be merged into what Sony is calling a territory management model in which key services will be centralized to divide integrated programming, operations, creative services and sales functions. As part of the change, Sony will establish a direct-to-consumer unit charged with audience engagement and building new platforms. 

Keith Le Goy will oversee regional leaders in each territory who will be charged with leading television and home entertainment distribution as well as management of SPT-owned networks in their regions. Le Goy in February added oversight of home entertainment when worldwide networks president Andy Kaplan, home entertainment topper Man Jit Singh and president and CMO Sheraton Kalouria departed. Le Goy now oversees Sony distribution, home entertainment and worldwide networks. 

Additionally, Sony is reviving its first-run syndication business with John Weiser moving into a newly created role as president of First Run TV, reporting to the studio's new TV chairman, Mike Hopkins. Weiser will identify and sell first-run syndicaiton properties and partner with Holly Jacobs for U.S. production, Michael Davies for Embassy Row and Wayne Garvie's international production teams.

The news was announced Wednesday morning via an internal memo from Hopkins. The decision to merge departments was Hopkins' first move since joining the studio from Hulu in October as part of a larger effort under Vinciquerra to reimagine and update the studio for a new era in which a home entertainment division is no longer the necessity it once was. The move is considered an effort to unite similar businesses under one roof. The studio's production side, led by presidents Jeff Frost, Jason Clodfelter and Chris Parnell, will not be impacted. 

As part of the restructure, Sony is centralizing global networks in its Culver City headquarters. TC Schultz will report to Hopkins and serve in the newly created role as executive vp networks operations, planning and strategy and will relocate back to Los Angeles to oversee programming, tech operations and creative services. Sony will also create a direct-to-consumer properties unit that includes Crackle and other divisions, with Eric Berger overseeing that and also reporting to Hopkins.

Some executive departures are expected as part of the reshuffling, though the number remains unclear as a few employees may be offered new positions with the company. 

For his part, Le Goy managed all distribution for SPE's television division, directing the company's domestic and international licensing operations worldwide. He oversees distribution of SPE's film, television and other content to broadcast, satellite, cable, digital distribution in the U.S. and around the world. Le Goy has been with the company as SPT executive vp distribution since 2006 and was promoted to president of international distribution two years later. He joined Sony from Disney, where he was vp sales for Europe.

Hopkins' full memo to staff, which details new reports in each unit, is below.

Hi Everyone,
 
I wanted to share some important organizational changes taking place across our television networks, distribution and home entertainment units that will fundamentally change the way we operate and manage those businesses moving forward. These changes are part of our ongoing “Reimagining SPE” efforts that Tony announced earlier this year to create a stronger and more agile organization, one that is better able to pivot and capitalize on opportunities in a fast-changing and increasingly complex global marketplace.   
 
Over the next several weeks, we will be reorganizing in the following areas:
 
Combining global networks operations and worldwide distribution/home entertainment into a single business unit operating in a territory management model;
Centralizing key services to help drive integrated programming, operations, creative services and sales functions;
Establishing a direct-to-consumer unit focused on engaging audiences and building new platforms.  
 
Territory Management Model
 
Broadly speaking, the new territory management model brings together, under a single local leader, businesses that have been historically separate. With this approach, we gain a more efficient structure giving regional leaders, along with their direct reports in each country, the ability to make smart, strategic business decisions, while keeping local consumers at the core of what we do.
 
With this change, we are appointing leaders within each region, under the leadership of Keith Le Goy. These regional leaders will have oversight of television and home entertainment distribution, as well as management of SPT-owned networks in their respective territories. Leadership and approach by region will be as follows:
 
In Europe, the newly combined organization will be led by Mark Young (WE) and John Rossiter (CEEMA).  
The APAC region will be overseen by Ken Lo. 
Alex Marin will oversee operations in LATAM and Canada.
In addition to her responsibility for US cable, Flory Bramnick will now take on US syndication duties and advertiser sales. Jason Spivak will oversee management of US home entertainment, pay TV and SVOD sales.
Paul Littmann will continue to oversee our global deals and emerging clients across the distribution, home entertainment and networks businesses.
 
We are also re-energizing our first-run syndication business, and John Weiser will step into a newly developed role, President, First Run Television, reporting to me. In this position, John will be focused on identifying and selling first-run syndication properties partnering with Holly Jacobs for US production, Michael Davies for Embassy Row and Wayne Garvie’s international production teams. 
 
Our India channels operation, led by NP Singh, will begin to oversee television distribution in India. NP will continue to report to me.
 
Centralized Services
 
Moving forward, we are bringing key global networks functions under one centralized services unit based in Culver City. TC Schultz, reporting to me in a newly created role of EVP, Networks Operations, Programming & Strategy, will move back to Los Angeles to oversee programming, tech operations and creative services.
 
Additional services will be centralized under Keith as follows:
Distribution operations will be led by Angel Orengo, who relocates to Los Angeles for this new role from his previous stint as EVP, Distribution for EMEA.
Distribution strategy and content management will be led by Mike Wald, with the added oversight of content acquisition, content partnerships and global partner marketing.
A consumer insights and innovation unit, focusing on sales strategy, data and process engineering across distribution and home entertainment, will be led by Kim Overall.
Lexine Wong will continue to lead home entertainment marketing.
 
Direct-to-Consumer
 
Finally, in keeping with our goal of connecting directly with our viewers and increasing our understanding of how to engage with them, we are forming a new unit of direct-to-consumer properties, including Crackle, Funimation, Film1 OTT and Animax on demand, that will be overseen by Eric Berger, reporting to me. Takiyama-san, who leads Animax and Animax on demand, and Gen Fukunaga, who leads Funimation, will continue to be an important part of our global anime effort. In addition, Eric will continue to oversee our US channels businesses – getTV, Cine Sony and Sony Movie Channel.
 
I understand that these changes, following the restructuring earlier this year, will be a significant adjustment for many of you. We’ve had to make some difficult decisions but they were important moves as we reorient our business to align with the realities of today’s marketplace. 
 
I look forward to speaking with you and answering any questions you may have when we meet later today.
 
Mike