Hollywood’s New Leaders 2016: Digital

Variety Staff
Variety

Chris Erwin
Age: 34; Chief operating officer, Big Frame
Over the past five years Erwin has helped grow BF into a management powerhouse and Hollywood’s first to focus on digital and social content creators. He helped orchestrate the film “Bad Night” (with clients Jenn McAllister and Lauren Elizabeth Luthringshausen), Ingrid Nilsen’s CoverGirl partnership, Google Platinum partnerships for Kian Lawley, J.C. Caylen, and Ricky Dillon, content partnerships with Vessel and Victorious, and podcast launches of Tyler Oakley, Nilsen, and Arden Rose. He notes: “Big Frame views digital not as a category, but rather a currency to transact with in all entertainment categories.”

Pradeepa Jeeva
Age: 38; Head of development, Machinima
Jeeva was tapped head of development at digital video giant Machinima after setting a blistering record — she had five shows greenlit within the first six months of her time at the company. She then went on to reinvigorate Machinima’s Spotlight program, which is aimed at finding promising writers and directors. Jeeva knows just how she’d like to use her influence over the entertainment landscape. “I want to make sure I’m in a position to tell stories about communities that are marginalized,” says Jeeva. “It’s so important right now to see Asian-Americans, women, and people of all backgrounds on
the screen going through what we all go through.”

Phil Lynch
Age: 38; Vice president, head of media and content partnerships, Yahoo
Relationships that lead to strategic partnerships and successful digital content distribution are what drive Lynch. Last year that included the first global NFL live stream. “We had to deliver. When you’re dealing with a brand like the NFL, there’s no room for error,” Lynch says, with a nod to the importance of those internal relationships. “Up until that date, no one had delivered a live event of that scale. I have to tip my hat to the product and engineering guys who had to make sure it was executed flawlessly. Because of their hard work and execution, we did deliver.”

Wared Seger
Age: 28; CEO, Parrot Analytics
Seger, whose background is in neuroscience, has developed Demand Ratings, a unique predictive data tool that allows acquisition, production, and marketing executives to gauge market interest in specific TV programs and genres in real time across all platforms. The level of demand can be determined globally or locally (i.e., country by country). “Introducing a new global content demand measurement system entails changing people’s behaviors around the world,” he says. “Old habits die hard.”

Dan Weinstein
Age: 34; President, Studio71
Weinstein oversees Studio71, a digital entertainment company with 1,200 channels delivering 5-plus billion views a month, and fosters top online content creators (Logan Paul, Rhett & Link, and Lilly Singh). He signed Dwayne Johnson and launched his YouTube channel, and was key in signing new Vine and Snapchat talents Rudy Mancuso and Shonduras. He exec produced series including “Rush: Inspired by Battlefield” on Verizon’s Go90. “We’re seeing a true merge between traditional and digital platforms,” he says. “It’s an exciting time to work with new content creators who push boundaries and easily adapt to working with new platforms.”

Sarah Wick
Age: 29; G.M., Revelmode
Since the January launch of Revelmode, Wick has worked closely with PewDiePie, aka Felix Kjellberg — the No. 1 most-subscribed YouTuber in the world to build Revelmode’s collective of digital creators into a media brand and studio with initiatives spanning original series, game development, commercial partnerships, and philanthropic programs. Under Wick’s direction, the brand has launched two No. 1 games — most recently PewDiePie’s Tuber Simulator — struck a multi-title game development deal, executed a multi-installment charity drive, and signed new creators. Wick notes: “With his creativity, originality, drive and irrepressible humor, Felix is truly an unstoppable force.”

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