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Former Hulu Japan CEO Buddy Marini joins Warner Bros Discovery in Japan

Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) has named former Hulu Japan CEO Buddy Marini as general manager for Japan and promoted Chieko Nishi ahead of the departure of Glen Kyne.

Buddy Marini

Based in Tokyo, Marini will join the company on June 3 and report to WBD Asia Pacific president James Gibbons.

In his new role, Marini will oversee all operations in Japan except the theatrical and Warner Bros Studio Tour Tokyo: The Making of Harry Potter businesses.

This spans home entertainment, digital and TV licensing, consumer products, anime production, franchise and pay TV networks.

He will be tasked with driving growth and revenues business-wide, including expansion across distribution and sales strategies, digital platforms and local anime production.

WBD has also confirmed the promotion of Nishi as VP, head of networks, Japan, replacing Kyne, who WBD said has decided to depart the company and will leave on July 5.

Nishi joined WBD in 2023 to lead content and network operations bringing more than 17 years’ experience to the business, including as the head of studios at Spotify Japan.

During the past year, WBD said Nishi has been instrumental in consolidating the seven-channel linear portfolio under a new JV with J:COM, and spearheading new commercial partnerships locally. Nishi will report to Marini.

Marini, meanwhile, joins WBD with more than 25 years’ experience in leadership across media and technology companies in Japan, China and the US.

Most recently, he founded global mobile platform Mangamo, offering one of the largest mobile manga libraries to fans worldwide.

Prior to this, Marini was GM, Japan for gaming company Supercell, and CEO for Hulu Japan, where he oversaw the streaming platform’s development and growth into one of the country’s leading services.

He has held additional leadership positions at Avex Group Holdings, Universal Studios and Mitsui-Sumitomo Investment Bank.

“Buddy brings an impressive track record to WBD, with two decades of broad industry experience across several markets and verticals,” said Gibbons.

“Japan is a key growth driver, with opportunities to scale further through franchise/IP development, distribution partnerships and content for both local and global platforms. Buddy’s expertise, proven leadership and commercial mindset will be key as we look to deliver these ambitions.”

Marini added: “I am honoured to join WBD at such an exciting time in the industry. Japan holds a special place in the world of entertainment, and I look forward to working with the talented team at WBD to deliver world-class content and unforgettable experiences to audiences in Japan and around the globe.”

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