WarnerMedia Taps AT&T Veteran to Run Streaming Service

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C.E.O. of WarnerMedia, John Stankey speaks onstage at Day 2 of the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit 2018 at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on Oct. 10, 2018 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

WarnerMedia's forthcoming streaming service has found its leader. 

AT&T veteran Brad Bentley has been named general manager and executive vp for direct-to-consumer development at WarnerMedia, CEO John Stankey announced in a memo to employees on Monday morning. Bentley will report to Stankey and work to coordinate the late 2019 projected launch of the service, which is expected to offer a combination of HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. programming. 

Stankey also announced that Turner chief technology officer Jeremy Legg will assume responsibility for HBO's technology operations, a move that he wrote would allow WarnerMedia "to execute decisively to align on target platforms, and coordinate the resources across these organizations that represent components of a unified direct-to-consumer technology platform." Stankey noted that the HBO tech team will stay in place and added that the goal of the shift "is to provide focus and scale to the most important elements of these efforts and to make sure they have the proper resources." 

Bentley spent more than 15 years at DirecTV before the satellite TV provider was acquired by AT&T. He then joined AT&T's entertainment group, where he worked on the launch of live TV service DirecTV Now. Legg, for his part, oversaw Turner's TV Everywhere strategy and came to the network of cable channels from AOL. 

"Bringing the product we envision to the marketplace will require the support, coordination and cooperation of all WarnerMedia entities," Stankey wrote in his note.

He added, "As an organization, we have many industry and structural dynamics pushing and pulling against our traditional approach to operating and running the business. The balance we must strike is between positioning the company to succeed within the realities of the future and keeping the business in a position to execute in today's marketplace." 

Stankey revealed plans for the WarnerMedia streaming service in October. Details are still scarce about the service but the executive has said that the offering will package programming from across the WarnerMedia portfolio. For example, it will offer the Criterion Collection film library but won't include live CNN broadcasts. Warner Bros. content like the Harry Potter film franchise and TV shows including Friends and ER could also end up as part of the service once existing licensing deals expire. 

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.


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