Starz Promotes Michael Thornton to New Chief Revenue Officer Post

Starz chief revenue officer Michael Thornton

He will oversee the company's affiliate sales and distribution businesses, with Ed Huguez stepping down as president of affiliate distribution.

Premium TV company Starz said Friday that it has promoted Michael Thornton to the newly created position of chief revenue officer, in which he will oversee all the firm's affiliate sales and distribution businesses amid the continuing changes of the digital age.

He previously served as executive vp acquisitions, business and legal affairs, a role in which he oversaw programming acquisitions for the 17 Starz channels and the company's on-demand and online offerings. Thornton previously worked at satellite TV giant DirecTV and Walt Disney, giving him experience in various parts of the entertainment and media industry, including at companies that Starz has business relationships with.

CEO Chris Albrecht announced the appointment on Friday. Based in the company's Englewood, Colo., offices, Thornton will report to Starz president Glenn Curtis.

Starz, spun off by John Malone's Liberty Media into a separate publicly traded company in January, also said that Ed Huguez would step down as president of affiliate distribution. He will stay with the company as an advisor through the first quarter of 2014.

Thornton will be responsible for the network sales and affiliate marketing group and oversee the Starz distribution businesses comprising Anchor Bay Entertainment, Starz Worldwide Distribution and Starz Digital Media.
Said Albrecht: "In the rapidly changing media business landscape, it is important for Starz to unite together the revenue businesses of affiliate sales and Starz Distribution under one senior executive. In his short time at Starz, Michael’s wide-ranging talents and contributions to the businesses have been incredibly valuable."

Prior to joining Starz in 2011, Thornton served in senior executive positions with programming and legal responsibilities at Disney/ABC Domestic Television, Walt Disney Studios and DirecTV. At Disney and DirecTV, he worked on content and carriage deals with Starz.

Twitter: @georgszalai