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HBO Max Firms up Its Executive Structure Ahead of 2020 Launch, With Some Coming from Hulu, DirecTV, and DIRECTV NOW

Luke Stangel

HBO is assembling a top team of executives to work on the channel’s forthcoming streaming service HBO Max, HBO parent company WarnerMedia said this week.

HBO Max will be led by Otter Media CEO Tony Goncalves, who will report to WarnerMedia Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt. Goncalves himself joined WarnerMedia as part of its acquisition of Otter Media in 2018 for $1 billion.

At HBO Max, Goncalves will lean on one of his top lieutenants, Andy Forssell, who currently serves as the executive vice president and general manager of WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer division.

“We have gathered an all-star team of executives whose innovative contributions have directly advanced the digital media industry. I am so proud to be a part of this journey as we bring HBO Max to market and continue to transform this space,” Goncalves said Monday in a statement. “Andy’s experience and leadership are essential for this effort and his partnership at Otter Media helped the company thrive at a time of significant change in the marketplace.”

HBO Max will launch in the spring of 2020 with a strong roster of exclusive content, led by “Friends,” the quintessential ‘90s sitcom that has found a fresh audience with teenagers.

HBO Max will get exclusive streaming rights to teenage hits “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and “Pretty Little Liars,” plus new spinoffs of the Batman and Riverdale franchises. The company hasn’t announced pricing, but there has been speculation that it will be $15-17.

Other industry veterans joining the team include former DirecTV executive Sarah Lyons, Jess Miller previously of DIRECTV NOW, former Hulu executive Katie Soo, former Warner Bros researcher Keith Camoosa and former Crunchyroll head of business intelligence Reid DeRamus.

“With Tony Goncalves, Andy Forssell and their experienced leadership teams, we are now well-positioned to deliver a best-in-class customer experience and go-to-market strategy that positions HBO Max for real success,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “Combined with our stellar content teams, I’m thrilled with the level of expertise we have across this entire business.”

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