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Otter Media, the joint venture from The Chernin Group and AT&T, has named former American Airlines executive Virasb Vahidi as chief executive.
In his new role, Vahidi will work with TCG and AT&T to lead the digital media firm’s operations and overall strategy. He was most recently chief commercial officer at American Airlines and also previously spent four years at A&T as senior vp corporate strategy and planning.
“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to help build Otter Media as a leading online media company,” Vahidi said. “Otter Media is tapping into exploding demand for content available anywhere, anytime on any device. We’ll take a customer-centered approach to create innovative offerings to grow this exciting business.”
Otter Media was established in April with a $500 million fund to invest in, acquire and launch digital media ventures and over-the-top video services. TCG’s investment in Japanese animation company Crunchyroll was rolled into the new fund. Otter has since acquired YouTube multichannel network Fullscreen and do-it-yourself video platform Creativebug.
The firm also announced Tuesday that it has created a new company to focus on building advertising and subscription video-on-demand channels which will also include the assets from Crunchyroll, Creativebug and Korean video service KDrama. Former YouTube executive Tom Pickett has been appointed CEO of the new — currently unnamed — company. Pickett will be charged with launching, investing in and acquiring additional channels focus on niche programming.
“I am really excited to work with an amazing team and build on the success of Crunchyroll and Creativebug in the rapidly growing OTT video space,” he said. “I see a big opportunity to create new models that enable passionate communities to come together around great video experiences.”
Pickett most recently served as vice president of YouTube content at Google, where he began working in 2004. Prior to joining the search giant, he worked at Booz Allen Hamilton.
Peter Chernin said that both appointments will help steer the expansion of the Otter portfolio.
“Tom’s proven track record at YouTube and his insights and working knowledge of the evolving video-on-demand space will be instrumental as we further explore opportunities to expand our relationship with content partners and consumers,” he added.
Otter Media’s board includes Chernin, TCG’s Jesse Jacobs and AT&T’s John Stankey and David Christopher. Vahidi joins the board with his appointment.
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