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WarnerMedia revamps leadership team ahead of streaming launch

WarnerMedia has reorganised its leadership team and has named Robert Greenblatt, formerly chairman of NBC Entertainment, as chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer, following completion of AT&T’s US$81 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

WarnerMedia’s properties include Friends

WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey has also given expanded roles to Jeff Zucker, who becomes Chairman, WarnerMedia News & Sports, and President, CNN; and for Kevin Tsujihara, who continues as Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. with additional responsibilities including a new global kids and young adults business

Gerhard Zeiler, meanwhile, has been moved from his role as President, Turner International to become WarnerMedia Chief Revenue Officer.

Greenblatt’s WarnerMedia Entertainment will include HBO, whose long-term chief executive Richard Plepler recently announced his departure, linear cable networks TNT, TBS and truTV, and the Direct-to-Consumer business.

WarnerMedia News & Sports will include CNN Worldwide – including CNN, CNN.com, CNN International, CNN en Español, HLN and Great Big Story – as well as Turner Sports, Bleacher Report and the AT&T Regional Sports Networks.

Zucker will continue to lead CNN as well as running this expanded organisation.

Warner Bros.’ film, television, and games operations will add a new Global Kids & Young Adults business that brings together the family, kids and animation efforts from across WarnerMedia, including Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, as well as, Otter Media, Turner Classic Movies and all activities around licensed consumer products development.

Tsujihara will head these units and continue to lead Warner Bros.

WarnerMedia will consolidate its affiliates and advertisng sales groups under a single structure led by Zeiler.

Greenblatt said, “I’m honoured to be joining WarnerMedia during such an exciting time for the company and the industry as a whole, and I look forward to working alongside the many talented executives and team members across the company. WarnerMedia is home to some of the world’s most innovative, creative and successful brands and we’re in a unique position to foster even deeper connections with consumers. And it goes without saying I will always have a soft spot in my heart for HBO going back to the rewarding experience I had producing Alan Ball’s Six Feet Under.”

Amidst concerns about the future of HBO following Plepler’s departure and WarnerMedia’s plans to launch a broader streaming offering, following the announcement, Stankey told the Hollywood Reporter that the management changes were not about cost-cutting.

He said that HBO under Casey Bloys would be “the anchor” of the WarnerMedia streaming service and reiterated that while WarnerMedia would retain more content for its own platform than in the past, it would also continue to make content available to third parties.  Stankey said that the aim of putting different companies together was to build a scale streaming service that would be in 60-70% of American homes, enabling it to compete head on with the likes of Netflix and Amazon.