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2009 "25 Digital Entertainment Executives to Watch"
Los Angeles, CA, December 11, 2008 -- Digital Media Wire today unveiled its inaugural “25 Executives to Watch in Digital Entertainment” list, recognizing emerging leaders in the digital media and entertainment industry. Digital Media Wire in association with Content Agenda will honor the group at the 2nd Annual Digital Media Insider @ CES at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, January 9. The executives were selected by the editorial team at Digital Media Wire. Below are short descriptions of each. More to come on our amazing honorees and their companies in the January spreads! 

Amit Kapur, COO, MySpace
Social Media's Rising Star

Amit Kapur joined MySpace in 2005 as the company’s first business developer hire. Now 26 and the company's COO, he spearheads global business operations for MySpace’s more than 110 million users worldwide. He is credited by MySpace Founder Chris DeWolfe for having an "infectious passion" and the kind of "insightful, out-of-the-box strategic thinking that has allowed MySpace to maintain its position as a global leader in social networking." Says Kapur, "This is a critical year in the evolution of the Internet and we’ll be at the forefront—driving innovation and creating forwarding-thinking business models that foster a more personal, portable, and collaborative Web." Bring it on!


 

Tim Westergren, Chief Strategy Officer & Founder, Pandora
Internet Radio Evangelist
An award-winning composer, accomplished musician and record producer, Tim Westergren has worn many hats, from recording and touring with indie bands, to scoring feature films and running a recording studio. He founded Pandora, an online radio service with over 12 million users, to help artists find their audience and fans discover and enjoy new music. As Pandora's chief evangelist, he spends much of his time traveling the country collecting listener feedback, researching local music, and spreading the word about Internet radio. He says, "In the next few years, I think you'll see Internet radio become a bigger and bigger part of the media buy."



Ali and Hadi Partovi, Founders, iLike
Internet Entrepreneurs Extraordinaire

When Hadi, former general manager of MSN.com, joined his twin brother Ali, co-founder of LinkExchange, at online music startup GarageBand.com in 2006, you knew something was in the works. The result: a music discovery service that boasts the most popular music application on Facebook. Within a week of Facebook opening to third-party applications, iLike signed up over a million users. With more than 30 million registered users today, iLike helps people share music recommendations, playlists, and personalized concert alerts, and is a lead-generator for sites like Amazon, iTunes, Ticketmaster and Rhapsody. Keep an eye on these guys!



Jill Braff, SVP, Global Publishing, Glu Mobile
Mobile Games Aficionado
Game industry veteran Jill Braff leads Glu’s (NASDAQ: GLUU) publishing efforts which include licensing, marketing and sales. Glu's portfolio of top-rated games includes original titles Super K.O. Boxing!, Stranded and Brain Genius, and titles based on major brands from partners including Atari, Activision, Konami, Harrah's, Hasbro, Warner Bros., Microsoft, PlayFirst, PopCap Games, SEGA and Sony. Since joining the company in 2003, Braff’s understanding of the mobile marketplace and evolving consumer behavior has helped shape the way mobile games are marketed and launched today. In 2007, Braff was honored as one of the 40 most influential people under 40 in Silicon Valley by the Silicon Valley Business Journal, and in 2006 she was named one of the game industry's 100 most influential women by Next Generation.



Suranga Chandratillake, CEO & Founder, blinkx
Next-Gen Search Architect
A technology entrepreneur with over a decade of experience in next-generation search, Suranga Chandratillake founded blinkx in 2004. After early success, he took blinkx public on the London Stock Exchange in 2007. Today blinkx is the world’s largest and most advanced video search engine with a reputation as the "Remote Control for the Video Web." Suranga
was recognized as one of the top 10 leaders in Science and Innovation by The Observer’s Future 500 list, and was named the DEMOgod Winner of DEMO Conference 2007. He was also a finalist in the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 London region awards program.



Steve Jang, CMO & Head of Business Development, imeem
Music Community Master

Steve Jang is responsible for content and technology partnerships, product management, and community marketing at imeem, the popular social media service that boasts more than 25 million visitors per month and over 65,000 new users every day. Launched in October 2004, imeem is a music-oriented social network. "We think more people want to use the social Web to discover and experience music freely, rather than just buy downloads," says Jang. Prior to joining imeem, Steve was Director of Digital Business Development at EMI Music, where he worked on global digital partnerships and new platforms strategy.



Owen Van Natta, CEO, Playlist
Social Media Enthusiast
In November, Owen Van Natta, an early executive at Facebook and most recently the company's Chief Operating Officer and Chief Revenue Officer, joined Playlist, Inc. a leading music-oriented social network, as CEO. Project Playlist is one of the fastest growing web sites and most popular widgets on the Internet. "Project Playlist's unprecedented growth proves that consumers are looking for new ways to discover, share, and buy music on the web," says Van Natta. Van Natta came to Facebook from Amazon.com, where he held the weighty title of vice president of worldwide business and corporate development and also was part of the founding team of its A9.com site.



Min Kim, VP of Marketing, Nexon America
MMOG's Top Player
Min Kim is Vice President of Nexon America responsible for business development initiatives and game operations for Nexon published titles in the U.S. Established in South Korea in 1994, Nexon is a pioneer of interactive entertainment software and a world leader in massively multiplayer online games. By developing titles that are more casual than hardcore MMORPGs, Nexon has redefined the notion of online games from a marginal sector propelled by hardcore gamers to a progressive, mainstream form of entertainment enjoyed by everyone. Prior to joining Nexon America, Min lead the successful launch of the Global Edition of MapleStory, one of world's top online games supported by an item-selling business model.



Max Levchin, Founder & CEO, Slide, and Co-Founder, Paypal
Sultan of Slide
Max Levchin has a rare talent for identifying the hottest areas of technology and digital entertainment and setting his mark on them. He co-founded and worked as Chief Technology Officer of PayPal, a company he sold to eBay for more than $1.5 billion in 2002 at the age of 26. Most recently he started Slide, which creates and distributes popular Web applications on Facebook, as desktop widgets. It was recently announced that Katalyst Films, the production company run by Ashton Kutcher, will distribute its first original web series on Slide. Not a bad vote of confidence by one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.



Matt Palmer, EVP & GM, Stardoll.com
The Dollminator
Stardoll has revolutionized the way millions of young girls play with dolls in the post-Barbie era. As Executive Vice President and General Manager for Stardoll.com, Matt oversees the company’s U.S. business and strategy from its Los Angeles office. Matt supports Stardoll’s ongoing global expansion and drives U.S. growth and revenues by working to develop integrated partnerships both with influential personalities and within the entertainment industry—from advertisers, television networks, music labels, film studios, celebrities, musicians, and brands. Prior to joining Stardoll, Matt was named Advertising Age’s 2006 Entertainment Marketer of the Year while serving as Senior Vice President, Marketing, Disney Channel, at the Disney ABC Cable Networks Group.



Lynda Clarizio, President, AOL’s Platform-A
Digital Advertising Chief
As President of AOL's Platform-A, Lynda Clarizio oversees the industry’s largest digital advertising platform. Platform-A offers advertisers solutions that leverage AOL's consumer brands including AIM, Moviefone, MapQuest, TMZ, and AOL.com; TACODA's audience insights & behavioral targeting; and Advertising.com's multiple networks, including display, mobile, video and search. "With Platform-A, we are creating a unified suite of marketing solutions to enable advertisers to harness the full power of digital media to meet their marketing needs," says Clarizio.



Kyra Reppen SVP & GM, Neopets, MTV Networks
Internet Pet Farmer

Who says a pet has to be furry and eat your kids’ homework? Just ask Kyra Reppen. Kyra is Senior Vice President and General Manager of NeoPets, the largest and fastest growing youth community on the Internet. In this role, Kyra leads and manages all day-to-day operations, creative direction and business strategy for NeoPets. Kyra can also be credited with creating ParentsConnect, a new Nickelodeon-owned online community designed exclusively for parents, and spearheading the acquisition of GoCityKids, the leading local online resource for parents and winner of a 2006 Webby Award for best family/parenting website. In addition, Kyra launched Nick Jr. ParentsTV, broadband video for parents; she produced the first ever 3D online games for preschoolers and led the networks' preschool introduction to wireless, interactive TV and innovative online gaming experiences.



Ian Rogers, CEO, Topspin
Digital Music Pioneer

Topspin's CEO Ian Rogers is a music and technology industry veteran with roots in defining the way artists and consumers promote and experience digital media online. Rogers created one of the first music-related Web sites and built many of the original promotional sites for the music and movie industries. Prior to Topspin, he was VP of Video & Media Applications at Yahoo!, where he oversaw the strategy for products and services, including the Web-based Yahoo! Media Player and Web services which powered Yahoo! Music Video applications on sites including Facebook and Bebo. He also served as GM for Yahoo! Music, overseeing the development of Music.Yahoo.com, LAUNCHcast radio and the Yahoo! Music Unlimited subscription service.
 



Dina Kaplan, COO & Co-Founder, blip.tv
Online Video Creators' Best Friend
Dina Kaplan is a Co-Founder and COO of blip.tv. Founded in 2005, the New York-based company distributes 37,000 Web shows on its site and via syndication partners like iTunes and AOL. The company's content attracted 51 million views in September.  The blip.tv vision is that content creators should focus all of their efforts on creating great shows, and blip.tv can help with the rest: technology, distribution, marketing and publicity, and monetization. An Emmy award-winning news reporter prior to co-founding blip.tv, Kaplan has an infectious and creative energy. Fast Company recognized Kaplan in their November feature on the The Most Influential Women in Web 2.0. I guess we aren't the only ones that are taking notice.


Dick Glover, CEO, Funny or Die Networks
(Land)Lord of Internet Comedy

When Hollywood funnyman Will Farrell co-founded the comedy website Funny or Die, many people thought that it would just be a collection of funny videos in the slapstick comedy genre. But under the leadership of CEO Dick Glover, formerly VP of Broadcasting and New Media for NASCAR, Funny or Die has developed into an Internet powerhouse and an online home for videos featuring some of Hollywood’s biggest start. It helped launch the much publicized 2008 presidential candidacy of Paris Hilton and hosts a number of the most viewed politically themed videos. A 20-year veteran of broadcasting and media, Glover also has a background at the Walt Disney Company in various senior management roles in their ABC and Internet Groups.     



David Verklin, CEO, Canoe Ventures
Cable's Revolutionary
David Verklin is known for being at the forefront of revolutionary change. He joined Canoe Ventures as CEO effective August 4 with the mission to drive the creation of shared processes and standards for more robust audience targeting, interactivity and measurement in multi-platform advertising across cable operators' systems throughout the country. This means driving such initiatives as “t-commerce,” where you can buy from the television and be charged on your cable bill or credit card. Based in New York City, Canoe Ventures is owned by the country's largest MSOs and will combine the operators' research, knowledge and resources to deliver more value to advertisers, including a focus on addressability, interactivity, and data. “Data is the new creative,” says Verklin.



Craig Sherman, CEO, Gaia Online
Virtual World Virtuoso
Evil tongues say that virtual worlds are just a way to profit from awkward kids who can’t make friends in the real world. Craig Sherman is proving them wrong. One of the best known executives in the industry, Sherman knows how to keep the right balance between monetization and creativity in the most exciting new areas of media. During business hours, Sherman lives in gaiaonline.com, the leading casual, browser-based MMO for teens. Craig also leads the company’s strategic planning, management, and technology development. Before Gaia, Craig was Entrepreneur in Residence at Benchmark Capital.
 



Karin Gilford, SVP Fancast & Online Entertainment, Comcast Interactive
Online Entertainment Evangelist
Karin Gilford is Senior Vice President of Fancast and Online Entertainment for Comcast Interactive Media (CIM), the division of Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) dedicated to developing and operating online and cross-platform entertainment and media businesses. Gilford is responsible for building and managing Fancast, CIM’s cutting edge online video and entertainment site as well as identifying new opportunities for CIM in the online entertainment space. Gilford is an eight-year Yahoo! veteran, where most recently she served as Vice President and General Manager of Yahoo! Entertainment leading all programming, content and business strategy for Yahoo! Movies, Yahoo! Music, Yahoo! Television, OMG, Shine and Yahoo! Games.



Julie Shumaker, SVP Worldwide Sales, GM, Core Games Group, Double Fusion
The Alchemist of Gaming
Shumaker and her team at Double Fusion have made the company the leading independent network in videogame advertising. She has helped create seven-figure revenues in multiple games and is expanding the gaming market through free, ad supported play formats. Shumaker leverages her veteran status in the industry, including her previous work as senior director of sales, videogame advertising at Electronic Arts (EA), where she established the industry’s first seven-figure product placement deals with McDonald’s and Intel in EA’s Sims Franchise. She was named to the Ad Age 2005 Women to Watch underscoring her success in making games as a viable advertising channel.
 



John Edwards, CEO, Move Networks
Television-Tech Visionary
Throughout his 30 plus-year career, John Edwards has both created and managed businesses that demonstrate creativity and innovation in the development and implementation of major high-tech products and services. John’s most recent endeavor, Move Networks, brings the television experience online by streaming the highest quality video on the Internet with fast start times and smooth playback with no buffering for the largest media companies streaming premium content online today. Move delivers HD video online for industry heavyweights including ABC.com, CBS, the CW, Discovery, ESPN, FOX, and many others. He was named Ernst & Young LLP Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 Award National Finalist in the Emerging Category.



Jason Kilar, CEO, Hulu
Hollywood's Internet Captain

Jason Kilar is CEO of Hulu, the online video joint venture of News Corp and NBC Universal, and one of the bright spots in the online video space. Since it's launch in late 2007, Hulu has grown into a top Internet video destination. It is No. 6 in online video market share in October 2008, according to comScore, with almost 24 million unique monthly visitors, who watch an average of almost 10 videos. Jason joined Hulu after nearly a decade of experience at Amazon.com where he served in a variety of key leadership roles. After writing the original business plan for Amazon's entry into the video and DVD businesses, he ultimately became Vice President and General Manager of Amazon's North American media businesses, which included the company's books, music, video, and DVD categories.



Chris Di Cesare, Head of Marketing, YouTube
Online Video Marketing Quarterback

YouTube's Marketing Head Chris Di Cesare is leading the team at YouTube which has disrupted the television industry and is continuing to redefine the brand which has become synonymous with online video. Most recently his team produced the UGC gala YouTube Live which was widely publicized and streamed to millions of viewers online. Di Cesare was previously director of creative marketing at Microsoft where he was actively involved in the marketing and product development of Microsoft’s most successful titles for Xbox, PC and MSN Games. Also responsible for the conception and development of OutSmart, Zone.com’s flagship celebrity trivia game, Chris successfully guided Zone.com to a more strategic advertising and revenue-focused business model with record-breaking reach.



Chamath Palihapitiya, VP of Growth, Mobile & International, Facebook
Facebook Growth Guru
How do you accelerate growth for a company that is already growing at a rate that is making the rest of the industry green with envy? Ask Chamath Palihapitiya. That’s his job at Facebook. As Vice President of Growth, Mobile and International, he is responsible for Facebook's new growth initiatives worldwide, mobile strategy and internationalization. Chamath joined Facebook from The Mayfield Fund, a leading venture capital firm in Silicon Valley where he focused on consumer Internet, advertising and media investments. Prior to Mayfield, Chamath spent five years with AOL, most recently as the Vice President and General Manager of AIM and ICQ, with complete responsibility and oversight of two of the biggest and most popular brands on the Internet.



Brent Weinstein, CEO, 60Frames Entertainment
Web Studio Czar
Bridging the gap between old and new Hollywood, Brent Weinstein is CEO and one of the key architects of 60Frames Entertainment, an innovative, Beverly Hills-based financing, ad sales and syndication company for professional artists to create and monetize original online content. He was head of Digital Media at the Hollywood talent and literary agency UTA. "The Internet is radically transforming entertainment and advertising, and 60Frames is in the position to be at the forefront of this revolution," said Weinstein. "In the same way that television developed iconic brands in the last century, 60Frames will help professional artists to create new formats, characters and stories that will be the brands of the 21st century."



Teemu Huuhtanen, President, N.A., Sulake
King of Teen Community
As President, North America, for Sulake Inc., Teemu Huuhtanen knows a thing or two about how to navigate and monetize the new brave world of digital entertainment. He heads up operations in North America for Habbo, one of world’s most popular online social networking and gaming communities for teens. He managed to get Habbo to be the first virtual world to sign a deal with the Hollywood talent agency William Morris and recently announced a dual economy in its online community, allowing users to be rewarded for spending time on the site with ‘pixels’, a currency that allows them to purchase discounted virtual items or rent a variety of special effects for their avatars and virtual rooms. Teemu and his team at Sulake offer advertisers real world access to teens' virtual worlds.

If you have comments or feedback about our "25 Executuves to Watch", you can reach us online at www.dmwmedia.com, through our Facebook group and by email at feedback@digitalmediawire.com. For advertising inquiries, please contact Jay Baage at jay@digitalmediawire.com
 



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