Levin, an industry veteran known for his executive stints at the WB network and, more recently, Awesomeness, Xbox and the NFL, will oversee strategy, creative and operations. He will report to Tom Pickett, CEO of Rooster Teeth parent Otter Media, whose brand portfolio also includes Crunchyroll and VRV. WarnerMedia parent AT&T launched Otter in partnership with Peter Chernin in 2014 before taking full control in 2018.
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Rooster Teeth, which recently trimmed its workforce by 13%, is part of an overall assessment of digital video and streaming by AT&T and WarnerMedia, which plan to roll out HBO Max next spring. The new platform will boost the company’s direct-to-consumer capabilities as Apple, Disney and NBCUniversal all launch competitors to Netflix. Rooster Teeth has maintained a $6-a-month subscription service called First, but its brand and others under the Otter tent have been mentioned as potential feeders into HBO Max. WarnerMedia is due to lift the veil on HBO Max at a major investor event on October 29.
In addition to the top management shuffle, the company also announced a series of related staffing moves.
Head of Development Ryan Hall will continue to lead development for Rooster Teeth Studios, which partners across production, development and distribution platforms to create original premium content. Rooster Teeth Studios also houses the animation studio behind hits like RWBY and gen:LOCK. Rooster Teeth has content deals with HBO Max, Netflix, Cartoon Network, Discovery and Outlier Society, as well as partnerships with Hasbro, ELEAGUE, Scholastic, DC, and Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
Co-founders Geoff Ramsey and Burnie Burns will take on new roles “to support the overall creative direction of Rooster Teeth,” according to a press release. Ramsey will become Executive Creative Director, leading strategic creative direction for all direct-to-consumer efforts and collaborating with Rooster Teeth Studios. Burns will move from Chief Creative Officer to an executive producer role.
SVP of Partnerships & Strategy Luis Medina will now lead operations and strategic partnerships for the direct-to-consumer business and its stable of brands such as Achievement Hunter, Funhaus, The Roost. He will also oversee any other content for Rooster Teeth’s membership site and YouTube network.
Doreen Copeland, formerly the head of live action, is becoming VP, Head of Production Operations. Copeland will oversee operations for the Studios business. Barbara Dunkelman, formerly director of social and community marketing, will now be creative director for Rooster Teeth’s direct comedic content, including RT Shorts and RT Life.
“Over the past sixteen years, Matt, Burnie, Geoff and Gus have built a world class entertainment company amidst a turbulent marketplace engaging a fervent community of fans through a diverse portfolio of successful, entrepreneurial businesses,” Levin said. “I’m fortunate to have gotten to know them over the years and thrilled for the opportunity to join them going forward to lead this unique media brand with the full support of my friends at WarnerMedia. I’m grateful to be returning to both Austin, which has been my family’s second home, as well as the WarnerMedia family, to realize Rooster Teeth’s ambitions of producing more content in more places to reach and expand its community wherever they are and will be.”
Hullum said leading Rooster Teeth “has been one of the greatest privileges of my life.” Despite a rapidly evolving industry and corporate environment, he added, “we managed to grow the company to more than ten times the size it was when I began as CEO just over seven years ago. It’s been an incredible ride, and now I’m beyond excited to be returning to the creative work that inspired me to want to co-found Rooster Teeth in the first place.”
Otter CEO Tony Goncalves said the reconfiguration of the Rooster Teeth org chart is a “reflection of our commitment and confidence in Rooster Teeth and its value inside the WarnerMedia portfolio.” He continued, “With Jordan at the helm, the founders are enabled to focus on the creative pipeline and expand on the market-leading franchises Rooster Teeth is known for. Jordan’s extensive experience in building an operating content business in both the traditional and digital media space, uniquely positions him to lead Rooster Teeth while they enter a new growth phase in their business.”