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Sarnoff to head Warner Bros

BBC Studios America president Ann Sarnoff has been appointed the new chair and CEO of US studio Warner Bros, it was announced today.

Ann Sarnoff

Sarnoff will take over worldwide operations at the studio behind Friends, The Big Bang Theory and the Harry Potter movies, including the production, marketing and distribution of film, TV and interactive entertainment.

Based in LA, Sarnoff will begin working at the company later this summer, effectively replacing Kevin Tsujihara, who resigned in March 2019.

She joins Warner Bros as it navigates its way into a new era, with the AT&T-owned studio and its parent company WarnerMedia launching their own SVoD service, essentially competing with their broadcast and OTT clients.

WarnerMedia is also set to merge the international distribution divisions of HBO, Turner and Warner Bros under one roof, and Warner Bros – which prides itself on attracting talent due to its independence – now faces stiff competition in this space from the SVoD giants.

As president of BBC Studios Americas, Sarnoff oversaw production, linear and digital programme sales and coproductions, home entertainment and licensing. She also led efforts to build BBC Studios’ global brands Doctor Who, Top Gear and natural history brand BBC Earth.

As board chair of OTT service BritBox, she has steered the development of the direct-to-consumer platform, which offers British programming to viewers in the US and Canada. Prior to her various roles at the BBC, she worked at Viacom, NBA and Dow Jones.

Sarnoff “brings a consistent and proven track record of innovation, creativity and business results to lead an incredibly successful studio to its next chapter of growth,” said John Stankey, CEO of Warner Bros parent WarnerMedia.

“It is a privilege to join a studio with such a storied history,” said Sarnoff. “Warner Bros has been an industry leader for decades and is known for creating many of the most iconic film, television and gaming properties.”

“Ann’s contribution to BBC Studios has been immense,” added Tim Davie, CEO of BBC Studios. “She has grown our core business as well as driving significant innovation, including the creation of BritBox, the growth of BBC America alongside our partner AMCN, the launch of new channels like BBC Earth in Canada, and major new content and production deals.”


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