A+E poaches BBCWW exec for VOD post

A+E Networks UK has poached BBC Worldwide’s Riccardo Donato.

Riccardo DonatoDonato will take on a new role as director of distribution and digital partnerships at the UK arm of A+E Networks, which leads company operations in 90 territories in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

He was previously head of VOD for BBCWW’s emerging markets arm and a business advisor to the BBCWW Labs unit.

At A+E, Donato will focus on linear and non-linear business development across A+E UK operating markets, focusing on bringing subscription service History Vault and TV Everywhere service Blaze to new territories.

He will also develop new digital services and commercial partnerships, and reports into A+E UK senior VP of strategy and distribution Adrian Pilkington.

Prior to his current role at the BBC’s commercial arm, he was head of commercial and strategy for the BBCWW’s Global iPlayer and YouTube.

The Global iPlayer was shelved mid-way through 2015, with BBCWW now focusing on SVOD services such as the upcoming BritBox, which it will operate with UK broadcaster ITV and US cable group AMC Networks.

Donato joined the BBC in March 2012 having formerly worked at British pay TV operators Sky and Virgin Media.

“With his wealth of expertise, particularly in digital programming, Riccardo will play a pivotal role in expanding A+E Networks’ business across our markets,” said Pilkington. “He is ideally placed to help us bring A+E’s digital services to our territories and is a great addition to the team as we continue to grow globally.”

A+E UK operates its 20-strong channels portfolio – including History, Lifetime and Crime + Investigation – as a joint venture with Sky, which is currently locked in an increasingly public carriage row with A+E rival Discovery Communications.

A+E has today also hired Twitter Korea exec Youngsun Soh as general manger for A+E Networks South Korea.