Tumblr Courts Hollywood With First Director of Media (Exclusive)

Courtesy of Michelle Drewes
Sima Sistani

The Yahoo-owned blogging platform follows Twitter and Facebook in its effort to forge deeper ties with the entertainment industry.

Tumblr is making a big push in Hollywood. 

The Yahoo-owned blogging platform has named Sima Sistani as its first director of media. Sistani is tasked with strengthening Tumblr's entertainment partnerships through integration deals with film studios, television networks and media companies. She will report to Lee Brown, Tumblr’s global head of brand partnerships.

“When I’m out there talking to media companies, they’re really interested in figuring out how to engage their fans on Tumblr,” Sistani tells The Hollywood Reporter. “There’s a big range of opportunity.”

Sistani, who officially joined Tumblr in January, was most recently head of mobile growth at Yahoo, which purchased New York-based Tumblr for $1.1 billion in May 2013. Before joining Yahoo she co-founded a social TV startup called Rogue Paper.

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She first became interested in the relationship between technology and entertainment after she left CAA, where she worked in the mid-2000s, first in the independent film finance department and later as chief staff for president Richard Lovett

With Sistani, Tumblr joins the ranks of social media firms courting partnerships with the entertainment industry. Facebook last week hired Sibyl Goldman, the former digital head at Ryan Seacrest Productions, to lead its Hollywood outreach. Twitter, meanwhile, hired away Jennifer Prince, a top Google sales executive, in August 2013 to lead its entertainment sales. 

Twitter has earned a reputation as the go-to social companion for television viewing. But Facebook recently introduced its version of trending topics in an effort to draw more eyeballs around breaking news and televised events. Tumblr's sweet spot appears to be in the reblogging of videos, photos and GIFs in the hours and days after, say, an awards show.  

In her new role, Sistani will also help celebrities leverage Tumblr. Beyonce’s popular blog, which posts intimate and previously unpublished photos of the singer, is an example of how stars have used the platform to connect with fans. But Sistani says she is most interested in finding ways for media companies to engage the creators of Tumblr’s more than 170 million blogs.

“That native response on Tumblr is to share,” she adds. “ What that means for influencers and media companies is that they are coming into a community that will share content out to their networks. I just really want to figure out how to help be a catalyst in the process.”