PBS Names Ira Rubenstein Chief Digital and Marketing Officer

Ira Rubenstein - P - 2016
Courtesy of PBS

Kenji Thielstrom is joining PBS as vp, creative services.

Veteran publicity and marketing executive Ira Rubenstein has been named PBS' chief digital and marketing officer, network president and CEO Paula Kerger announced Monday. Rubenstein and his team will oversee acquiring, retaining and engaging audiences for the benefit of PBS member stations.

Additionally, Kenji Thielstrom will join PBS' marketing team as vp, creative services. She will oversee creative and brand direction.

Rubenstein, who has been with PBS since 2014, had been serving as senior vp and general manager, PBS Digital. In that capacity, he has led the expansion of PBS' general audience and children's content to mobile devices, OTT services and other digital platforms. Rubenstein also oversaw the revamping of PBS.org, which has seen growth in traffic to station websites and online station donations; led the development of Passport, a new video offering available through member stations that provides donors on-demand access to the network's library of public television programming; and guided the expansion of PBS Digital Studios, PBS' network of online-original content, which now has more than 15 active series and more than 34 million monthly views.

Before joining PBS, Rubenstein served stints at Fox, Marvel and Sony.

"PBS is committed to helping our stations meet consumers where, when and how they engage with our content — from broadcast to new platforms," Kerger said in a statement. "Given his strong track record in both the digital and marketing arenas, Ira is uniquely qualified to lead these efforts."

Added Rubenstein in a statement of his own: "For nearly 50 years, PBS has remained at the forefront of media innovation, with the goal of providing the best possible service to the American public. I am excited to take on this role and look forward to supporting member stations with world-class creative, marketing and digital campaigns."

Thielstrom most recently served as creative director at DG Entertainment and also has been a creative advertising executive at Fox and Sony.

In addition to Thielstrom, Rubenstein's team includes Don Wilcox, vp, multiplatform marketing and content, and Karen Baile, vp, digital strategy and business intelligence as well as Scott Nourse, vp, product development, and Sara DeWitt, vp, PBS KIDS Digital.