In a sign of big moves to come for Roku, veteran television executive Charlie Collier will be leaving his post as president of Fox Entertainment to join the digital distribution platform as president of Roku Media.
Collier will oversee advertising sales and content from Roku-owned and operated channels featured on the streaming platform that hosts the growing number of ad-supported free to air Streaming TV (FAST) channels, as well as serving as a key funnel for Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, Paramount+ and other subscription streams.
Collier is set to move into his new role at Roku at the end of October and will be based in New York.
Collier’s appointment coincides with other high-level changes at Roku. Two top executives, Mustafa Ozgen and Gidon Katz, have been promoted to chairman as Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood promised to create a “next-generation media company.”
Ozgen Promotes to President of Roku Devices While Katz Becomes President of Consumer Experience; both executives had been senior vice presidents. Collier, Ozgen and Katz report to Wood.
“There is a tremendous opportunity to accelerate and further evolve Roku’s business as the streaming platform built for advertising, and Charlie is the ideal person to help us capitalize on this moment,” said Wood. “He is a proven leader who brings a wealth of experience, an evolving business history, strong creative instincts, talented relationships, and a track record of revenue and growth. He will play an integral role in helping us achieve even greater success as a next-generation media company.”
Wood also pointed to Roku’s focus on growth outside of the US as a reason for the new alignment of operations.
“As Roku grows internationally, these positions will help focus more on key areas of our business as the global shift to streaming continues,” said Wood. “Charlie, Mustafa and Gidon bring extensive industry knowledge and leadership experience to Roku. I look forward to working with them and their teams as we continue to innovate and build our position…and our overall global footprint.”
The move comes as Roku comes under pressure from Wall Street to address the severe drop in its stock price. The digital distribution platform has grown dramatically over the last decade, reaching an active user base of around 63.1 million as of its second-quarter earnings report.
As a distributor with significant national reach, Roku has captured the attention of Hollywood. But after rallying for most of 2021, the company’s share price has plunged (down nearly 74% year-to-date, closing Thursday at $60.89 a share) amid concerns around the world. the industry that the growth of streaming platforms is slowing, particularly in the US.
Roku’s status as a distributor that has recently ventured into the realm of original content, including through last year’s acquisition of Quibi’s programming assets, has made the company challenging for investors to scrutinize on a sense of fish or bird. The addition of an experienced content development and network programmer at Collier sends a clear message that Wood recognizes that the company has reached a turning point.
Roku has at times experienced friction with key content providers and distributors over the terms of the deal, including for HBO Max and YouTube TV. Bringing in an executive with Collier’s experience is likely to help smooth out those discussions.
However, Roku’s announcement made it clear that oversight of relationships with content providers remains the domain of Tedd Cittadine, vice president of content partnerships, “who continues to lead Roku’s relationships with third-party apps and streaming services.” “.
Roku said Collier will be tasked with collaborating on “business strategy” with Cittadine and Gil Fuchsberg, senior vice president of corporate development and strategic partnerships, with Cittadine continuing to report to Fuchsberg.
Roku ad sales executives Alison Levin (VP of ad revenue and marketing solutions), Louqman Parampath (VP of ad products) and Mirjam Laux (VP of international content and advertising) will report to Collier. That’s the way Rob Holmes, vice president of programming, wants it.
“Roku is a pioneer in broadcast television and has achieved scale and meaningful relationships with our partners that will continue to be unique and valuable at this pivotal time in the industry,” Collier said. “As a Roku partner, I have seen firsthand the power and potential the platform brings to advertisers, partners, content creators and consumers. I look forward to working with the talented team at Roku to continue to innovate, grow and take the company and its partners to the next level.”
Collier’s move to Roku caught most people at Fox by surprise and there’s no word yet on a successor. A Fox spokesperson would say only that the company has a “fantastic team” and that an announcement about a new head of entertainment is expected soon.
Collier and Fox Corp. regard their parting as extremely amicable. In a statement to VarietyFox Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lachlan Murdoch expressed his appreciation to Collier for helping rebuild entertainment operations on the Fox studio lot following the sale of 21st Century Fox to Disney in 2019. Murdoch cited leadership and Collier’s “unbridled enthusiasm” as crucial in getting the new company off the ground.
“He and his team have executed a creative strategy in an entrepreneurial and profitable manner that leveraged our broadcast leadership to build and support businesses that position us for future growth,” Murdoch said.
Collier returned the sentiment: “It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work alongside so many remarkable colleagues at Fox,” he said. “Sincere thanks to Lachlan for the opportunity to be a part of the evolution of Fox’s historic brand and business.”
Collier joined Fox Corp. in late 2018, when the company was being formed following Rupert Murdoch’s sale of his 21st Century Fox assets to Disney, a deal that was completed in March 2019.
Collier is well known throughout the television business as a strong people manager and content marketing expert. During his tenure at Fox, Collier led the company’s entertainment strategy and the rebuilding of its production infrastructure after the breakup of 21st Century Fox. Collier spearheaded Fox’s acquisitions of ad-supported streamer Tubi, animation store Bento Box Entertainment, TMZ’s celebrity and entertainment news franchise, and busy production company MarVista Entertainment.
After the Bento Box deal, Collier championed the creation of the Blockchain Creative Labs unit to bring Fox into the emerging world of NFTs and Web3 content applications. He also established the Studio Ramsay production joint venture between Fox and superstar television chef Gordon Ramsay.
In programming, the biggest success that the Fox broadcast network presented under Collier’s supervision was the talent competition series “The Masked Singer” and the successful expansion of the “9-1-1” drama franchise with “9-1 -1: Lone Star”.
Before joining Fox, he spent 12 years at AMC Networks, rising to president in 2008. He helped fuel that company’s exponential growth with the success of such signature original series as “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” and “The Walking Dead.” “from AMC. and SundanceTV’s “Rectify.”
Collier got his start in cable during the breakneck growth era of the 1990s. He worked in ad sales at Court TV (now Turner’s TruTV) before joining AMC Networks in 2006. Prior to Court TV, he held roles related to sales for A+E Networks, Oxygen Media and local television advertising sales company Telerep.
Katz joined Roku earlier this year after being part of the team that launched Peacock in his role as president of direct-to-consumer for NBCUniversal. Before that, he ran the Sky Now streaming platform and helped launch Virgin Media’s VOD service.
A seasoned technology executive and Turkish Navy veteran, Ozgen joined Roku in February 2019. He has spearheaded key initiatives for the company, including Roku TV, Roku Players, and Roku Ready Soundbars. Before Roku, Ozgen was CEO of SmartKem, a producer of semiconductors. He has also held senior positions at technology and engineering companies such as QD Vision, Sigma Designs, CSR, Zoran, Oak Technology, TeraLogic and Wind River Systems.