Narrative hires former A+E Networks and BBC exec

UK independent broadcaster, Narrative Entertainment, has recruited former A+E Networks exec, Jacob Ahlin, as digital director and former BBC exec, Kate Gartland, as marketing director.

Jacob Ahlin,

Jacob Ahlin (Source: Narrative Entertainment)

Ahlin will head and develop Narrative’s digital strategy, following its move into the FAST market last year and the launch of on-demand service the Great! Player.

At A+E Networks he held the position of director of digital propositions. During his tenure, he was tasked with building, launching and scaling digital products in partnership with Amazon, Apple, and Google.

Meanwhile, Gartland previously worked at BBC where she led BBC World News’ rebrand internationally and at Channel 5 she oversaw the launch of the Big Brother franchise on the channel.

She was most recently was at PMI Global Studio where she was a founding partner of the in-house agency, notably securing editorial partnerships with Google and Meta.

Commenting on his hire, Ahlin said: “Narrative’s digital presence grew in 2023 with the launch of the POP Player, GREAT! Player and FAST channels across an array of platforms – this led to an impressive +400% growth in digital ad impressions year-on-year. I’m excited to join the Narrative Entertainment family and help drive even further growth by expanding the reach of our brands and content to the widest possible audience.”

“Narrative is bucking the trend with bumper growth in 2023 and enjoyed by four in five of the UK’s population annually. I’m excited to join this innovative team and help drive even further growth and creativity in 2024 and beyond,” said Gartland.

Narrative Entertainment launches FTA channel Great! Real

Elsewhere, Narrative is planning to launch its new free-to-air channel Great, Real across Freeview and Sky on March 20.

The linear channel will air factual content focusing on high intensity response services such as call medics and police patrols, coastal rescue missions and airport operations.

Titles include Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport; Paddington Station 24/7; Island Medics; Emergency Rescue: Air, Land and Sea; and Coast Guard Alaska.

Steve Hornsey, Narrative Entertainment’s VP movies & entertainment, said “Narrative Entertainment is excited to invite even more new viewers to enjoy our growing Great! Network with the addition of great! Real, our first channel dedicated to non-scripted storytelling.  With an array of observational series focusing on dramatic real-life events and human stories, Great! Real will take audiences to the heart of the action with an exciting, engaging and relatable content mix that perfectly complements our existing brands.”

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