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Lionsgate hires Jaunt exec as OTT chief

US studio Lionsgate is pushing further into over-the-top distribution with the hire of a senior business executive from VR specialist Jaunt.

Julie UhrmanJulie Uhrman (pictured) has joined to become the first executive VP and general manager of Lionsgate Over-The-Top Ventures.

This role will see her spearheading strategy, rollout and growth of Lionsgate’s streaming activities, which currently comprise celebrity-and-movies site Tribeca Shortlist, a Comic Con International service, upcoming Kevin Hart platform Laugh Out Loud and a feature film-focused Hispanic US service with Univision.

At Jaunt, Uhrman was head of platform business development, working with the likes of Disney, Samsung, LG Electronics, Oculus, PlayStation and Google. She is also the founder of Android-focused television games console OUYA, and has held senior roles as Vivendi and IGN Entertainment.

Her hire continues the trend of traditional media groups creating new OTT- and SVOD-content focused roles for execs, with CBS naming Julie McNamara as content chief of SVOD platform CBS All Access and Discovery hiring Karen Leever and Michael Bishara to oversee their platforms as two recent examples.

Uhrman will work closely with managers of these services on content, curation and marketing strategies, and expand their domestic and international footprints across digital, cable, telco and satellite platforms.

She joins a team of senior Lionsgate executives who are already pushing the company’s OTT efforts. They comprise co-COO Brian Goldsmith, president of worldwide television and digital distribution Jim Packer, president of interactive ventures and games Peter Levin, and executive VP of television operations and corporate development Laura Kennedy.

Uhrman was “the perfect choice to round out an executive team with the complementary skills and vision to position our growing suite of online channels to serve next generation consumers around the world”, said Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer.

Lionsgate is currently in the process of acquiring premium cable network Starz, whose Starz Play subscription video-on-demand service is currently in the Middle East and will likely expand in the coming year.