Discovery Hires VR Expert Rebecca Howard, Former New York Times Video GM

Todd Spangler

Discovery Communications has recruited Rebecca Howard, a virtual-reality consultant and former head of video for the New York Times, as senior VP of emerging platforms and partnerships.

Howard, based in Discovery’s L.A. office, reports to Karen Leever, exec VP and GM of Discovery Digital Media. Howard will oversee the Discovery VR brand portfolio, and is also tasked with spearheading social-media initiatives and new partnerships in collaboration with the company’s U.S. networks teams. Since launching in August 2015, Discovery VR apps have topped 2 million downloads and hit 100 million views across platforms for 130 pieces of VR content.

Most recently, Howard was a strategic VR adviser for several digital-focused companies, including Discovery and Moth + Flame. At the New York Times, she led the launch of Times Video and the newspaper’s first forays into VR, including the virtual-reality film “Walking New York” in partnership with Chris Milk.

“Rebecca is a dynamic and innovative executive with extensive industry experience in traditional and new media,” said Leever in announcing her hire. “I am thrilled to have her join the team, and look forward to seeing her passion for connecting new technologies and engaging content to create best-in-class digital experiences across Discovery’s first-mover VR and digital platforms.”

Before joining the NY Times in 2013, Howard was head of development at AOL/Huffington Post Media Group, where she oversaw the production, development and launch of original scripted and non-scripted series, and was VP of production for 20th Century Fox’s Fox Digital Studios. Howard holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science from the University of Vermont.

“Discovery has a steadfast commitment to continually finding new, innovative ways to engage audiences,” Howard said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to working across the company’s award-winning portfolio to drive this mission forward as new innovative mediums like VR are rapidly changing the media landscape.”

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