In a sign of big changes ahead for Roku, veteran TV executive Charlie Collier is leaving his role as CEO of Fox Entertainment to join the digital distribution platform as President of Roku Media.
Collier will oversee ad sales and content for Roku-owned and operated channels on the streaming platform that hosts the growing number of ad-supported free streaming TV channels (FAST) and will also serve as a key funnel for Netflix. , HBO Max, Disney+, Paramount+ and other subscription streamers.
Collier is expected to take up her new role at Roku in late October and will be based in New York.
Collier’s appointment coincides with other upper-level changes at Roku. Two top executives, Mustafa Ozgen and Gidon Katz, have been promoted to president as Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood vows to create a “next-generation media company”.
Ozgen becomes president of Roku’s devices while Katz becomes president of customer experience; both executives had served as senior vice presidents. Collier, Ozgen and Katz all report to Wood.
“There is a tremendous opportunity to accelerate and scale Roku’s business as a streaming platform built for advertising, and Charlie is the perfect person to help us capitalize on the moment,” Wood said. “He is a proven leader who brings a wealth of experience, a history of evolving businesses, strong creative instincts, connections to talent, and a track record of growth and revenue. He will play a critical role in helping us achieve even greater success as a next-gen media company.”
Wood also pointed to Roku’s focus on growth outside of the United States as the reason for the new alignment of operations.
“As Roku expands internationally, these positions will help further focus on key areas of our business as the global shift to streaming continues,” Wood said. “Charlie, Mustafa and Gidon bring deep industry knowledge and leadership experience to Roku. I look forward to working with them and their teams as we continue to innovate and strengthen our position…and our overall global footprint.
The move comes as Roku comes under pressure from Wall Street to deal with a sharp drop in its share price. The digital distribution platform has grown dramatically over the past decade, reaching an active user base of approximately 63.1 million as of the date of its second quarter earnings report.
As a distributor with significant national reach, Roku has captured Hollywood’s attention. But after climbing for most of 2021, the company’s share price has fallen – down nearly 74% for the year to date, closing Thursday at $60.89 per share – amid industry concerns about the slowing growth of streaming platforms, particularly in the United States.
Roku’s status as a distributor that has only recently ventured into the realm of original content, notably through its acquisition of Quibi’s programming assets last year, has made the company difficult to scrutinize in a fishy sense. or poultry by investors. The addition of a seasoned network and content development programmer to Collier sends a clear message that Wood recognizes the company has reached an inflection point.
Roku has at times experienced friction with major content providers and distributors over deal terms, including for HBO Max and YouTube TV. Bringing in an executive with Collier’s experience will likely help facilitate these discussions.
However, Roku’s announcement made it clear that oversight of content provider relationships remains the domain of Tedd Cittadine, VP of Content Partnerships, “who continues to lead Roku’s relationships with third-party apps and streaming service”.
Roku said Collier would be responsible for 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 Advertising and Content) will report to Collier. So will Rob Holmes, vice president of programming.
“Roku is a pioneer in streaming television and has achieved significant scale and relationships with our partners that will continue to be unique and valuable during this industry pivotal time,” said Collier. “As a Roku Partner, I have seen firsthand the power and potential the platform offers 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 surprised most people in the industry, including many of his colleagues at Fox. There is no word yet on a successor. A Fox spokesperson would only say that the company has a “fantastic team” and that an announcement on a new entertainment chief is expected soon.
Collier and Fox Corp. described their split as extremely amicable. In a statement to Variety, Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corp., expressed his gratitude to Collier for helping to rebuild the Fox studio’s field entertainment operations after the 2019 sale of 21st Century Fox to Disney. Murdoch cited Collier’s leadership and “unbridled enthusiasm” as crucial to getting the new company off the ground.
“He and his team executed a creative strategy in an entrepreneurial and profitable manner that leveraged our broadcast leadership to build and sustain businesses to 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 part of the evolution of the famous Fox brand and company.”
Collier joined Fox Corp. in late 2018 as the company was being formed following Rupert Murdoch’s sale of his 21st Century Fox assets to Disney, a deal completed in March 2019.
Collier is well known in the television industry as a strong people manager and content marketer. During his tenure at Fox, Collier led the company’s entertainment strategy and the rebuilding of its production infrastructure following the split from 21st Century Fox. Collier led Fox’s acquisitions of animation boutique Bento Box Entertainment, celebrity and entertainment news franchise TMZ, and busy production company MarVista Entertainment.
After the Bento Box deal, Collier championed the creation of the Blockchain Creative Labs unit to take Fox into the emerging world of NFTs and Web3 content applications. He also established the Studio Ramsay production joint venture between Fox and superstar TV chef Gordon Ramsay.
In programming, the Fox broadcast network’s biggest hit on Collier’s watch has been the talent contest 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, where he became president in 2008. He contributed to the exponential growth of this company with the success of distinctive original series such as “Mad Men”, “Breaking Bad” and AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” and SundanceTV’s “Rectify.”
Collier got his start in cable during the growth era of the 1990s. He worked in advertising sales at Court TV (now Turner’s TruTV) before joining AMC Networks in 2006. Prior to Court TV, he held positions related to sales for A+E Networks, Oxygen Media and local TV ad 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 sales for NBCUniversal. Before that, he ran the Sky Now streaming platform and helped launch Virgin Media’s VOD service.
Ozgen, a seasoned technical executive and Turkish Navy veteran, joined Roku in February 2019. He led key initiatives for the company, including Roku TV, Roku Players, and Roku Ready Soundbars. Prior to Roku, Ozgen was CEO of SmartKem, a semiconductor producer. He has also held leadership positions at technology and engineering companies such as QD Vision, Sigma Designs, CSR, Zoran, Oak Technology, TeraLogic and Wind River Systems.