The CW’s new head of marketing is… Rick Haskins. The network’s outgoing marketing chief has agreed to stay on in a new, expended role. Haskins, whose full title was EVP Digital, New Technologies, Marketing and Brand Strategy, has been upped to EVP, Marketing and Digital Programs, a new position in which he will continue to report to the CW president Mark Pedowitz.
In his new role, Haskins will continue to spearhead all aspects of the network’s marketing and digital initiatives, as he has done since the network’s inception. Additionally, he will oversee the development and production of original digital entertainment content for The CW’s online, mobile and social media platforms. The CW has created some original content for online and social media in the past, but that will now become a big concerted effort that will include both digital extensions of the network’s series and new standalone programming. Haskins is opening the doors for pitches and is casting a wide net for longform or shortform, scripted or unscripted, weekly or even daily programs. The CW just received a cash infusion through its deals with Netflix and Hulu, with portion of the money earmarked for boosting the network’s development funds. Some of the projects will likely be produced in conjunction with Studio 2.0, the digital division of the CW corporate sibling and major supplier Warner Bros. TV. “We are looking for new talent, people who have had a passion project that would be better suited as a digital, not TV program,” Haskins said. Still, some of the shows that start online could transition to TV.
Haskins joined the CW shortly after the January 2006 announcement of the network’s creation, and he became the first CW employee not associated with its predecessors the WB or UPN. He was brought in by the CW’s entertainment president Dawn Ostroff, who had worked closely with him at Lifetime, where Haskins was EVP/general manager and Ostroff EVP and head of development. When Ostroff early this year decided to leave the CW after the end of the season, Haskins began mulling his own exit and notified the CW brass that he was not planning to re-up his contract, which was up in May. At the time, Haskins agreed to stay on until August and oversee the network’s fall launch while the CW looks for a successor. But when Pedowitz joined the network in early May, he and Haskins got along very well and Pedowitz began to look for ways to keep him on board. “Rick Haskins is hands down one of the best marketing executives in our industry,” Pedowitz said. “Under his creative direction and leadership, his team has shaped a clear, distinct brand for The CW in an incredibly competitive media landscape, and we are thrilled that he will continue to be a part of The CW family for years to come. Rick is also our foremost authority in the digital space, helping us extend The CW’s presence across different digital platforms, so it only makes sense that he oversee our foray into creating and producing original CW content for online, mobile and social media.”
Meanwhile, Haskins was testing the waters in the marketplace and explored a number of job opportunities as he felt ready for a new challenge. In the end, the one Pedowitz presented him with at the CW was “the most exciting I had seen in the marketplace,” Haskins said. At the CW, Haskins, a 28-year marketing veteran, has spearheaded all marketing efforts, including the network’s launch campaign and initial brand image, the headline-making OMFG campaign for Gossip Girl, the recent Catch VD campaign for The Vampire Diaries and the current TV to Talk/Text/Blog/IM About campaign. He also spearheaded the CW’s early adoption of Facebook and Twitter in the network’s marketing.