Singapore – NBCUniversal International has announced that Chris Taylor will lead its integrated television operations in Australia and New Zealand in the newly-created role of Vice President, International Television. Taylor will start on November 25, 2013 and report to Christine Fellowes, Managing Director, Universal Networks International, APAC and Justin Che, SVP Sales Liaison, APAC. He will be based in Sydney.
In 2011, NBCUniversal International combined its channels, distribution and production businesses into one integrated division with Belinda Menendez appointed to lead both channels and distribution as President, Universal Networks International and International Television Distribution. The collaborative structure has benefited from showcasing NBCUniversal International’s portfolio of assets – from distribution of content to channels to production capabilities – in a more holistic way. As part of the structure, the strategic markets of Southern Europe (France, Iberia and Italy), Russia and Latin America have since combined their channels and distribution operations under single leadership.
Similarly in Australia and New Zealand, Taylor will work across Universal Networks International (UNI) and International TV Distribution (TVD) to achieve financial and operational objectives across both the channels and content portfolios. Taylor will align UNI and TVD strategies to maximise revenues and build a strong market presence. He will lead commercial negotiations, foster close relationships with platforms and key customers, develop new platform relationships and drive the success of new channel launches and rebrands.
Taylor previously spent 18 years in various executive roles within media and entertainment across APAC. He was with Nine Entertainment Co. (formerly Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd) for 11 years, later as Managing Director Nine Network – QTQ-9 and previously as CEO Prime Television New Zealand. During his time with the company, he oversaw brand, communications, programming and sales division refreshes to drive efficiency and integration.
More recently, as Director of Telstra Media, Taylor led the digital media interests of Telstra which saw the introduction of IPTV to Australia. Furthering his interests in the emerging IPTV area, he was most recently CEO of Quickflix, launching the first subscription VOD streaming service in both Australia and New Zealand.
Christine Fellowes commented: “Chris joins us at an exciting juncture for UNI in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, we recently completed brand refreshes for E! and Style and renewed our distribution with FOXTEL securing basic carriage for our transformed Universal Channel – our flagship channel brand – and the launch of the global channel brand, Syfy. Our ambition is to develop our channels into multi-platform, entertainment and lifestyle brands that lead in their categories – and Chris’ ability to manage high-performing teams to deliver innovative campaigns will be critical to this achievement.”
Justin Che added: “Chris’ proven track record in driving integrated media revenue will be important as we continue to grow this market. His understanding of the complete media landscape, together with his proven commercial acumen, will be instrumental in successfully driving growth in the distribution of our content across all television and digital media platforms.”
From January 1, 2014 Universal Networks International will operate five channels in Australia, including the brand new Syfy along with Universal Channel, E!, 13th Street and Style, which each reach over 1.57 million viewers a month via FOXTEL’s platform. E! also airs in New Zealand. E! and Style recently benefited from refreshed channel brands and subsequent marketing campaigns; similarly Universal Channel will be refreshed on January 1, 2014.