Former STX President Sophie Watts Joins Board of Ad Tech Firm Ryff (Exclusive)

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Former STX Entertainment president Sophie Watts has joined the board of Ryff, a startup in the increasingly crowded virtual product placement space.

Watts is expected to help promote Ryff’s tech, which allows for products to be inserted digitally into footage that has already been shot. The company is banking on her Hollywood bone fides to help expose its product to new clients. ” The insight she will be able to provide our team will be invaluable,” Ryff CEO Roy Taylor says.

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“The technology that Ryff has created has the potential for staggering growth and innovation,” Watts adds. “In over 20 years of media and talent relationships, this is one of the most scalable opportunities I’ve ever seen. It’s an incredible pleasure and honor for me to support the team in what they’ve built and continue to grow.”

At STX, Watts oversaw films like Bad Moms, The Gift and The Foreigner. She left STX in 2018 to focus on other ventures.

Virtual product placement (VPP) has become one of the hottest areas of ad tech, with Ryff among a handful of firms looking to break through in the space. Other companies in the space include Mirriad, and the Branded Entertainment Network, which is owned by former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates.

Amazon and NBCUniversal’s Peacock are among the video players that are offering VPP, which allows brands to integrate their products or branding into films or TV shows that have already been shot. There have also been some efforts to add VPP to existing libraries of content (by, say adding a name-brand soda bottle to a table in a scene).

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