Chad Gutstein, formerly COO at the Ovation television network, has been tapped as CEO at Machinima, the latest move as the online video service revamps itself as a player in original content. Gutstein will spearhead Machinima’s network and brand strategy and oversee programming, sales, marketing, strategic partnerships, product development, and diversification of distribution and revenue. At Ovation, Gutstein grew the arts network’s reach to nearly 55 million households from 5M, booting its original programming plans significantly last fall after Ovation was dropped by Time Warner Cable at the end of 2012 in an effort to control costs. “Machinima is ready for the next level, and Chad has all of the unique qualities we were seeking in a new CEO to bring us there,” said Machinima co-founder and chairman Allen DeBevoise in a release today announcing the hire. “His fresh and respected outlook, deep knowledge of the TV and digital business, and proven track record will all benefit Machinima as we enter our next phase of growth. Chad’s most recent experience building Ovation’s brand and audience, and translating the value of its audience and programming to TV distributors and tier one advertisers, will help Machinima exponentially accelerate its mission.”
Machinima axed 30% of its work force earlier this month and soon after named ex-Fox Networks boss Tony Vinciquerra to its Board of Directors, the body to which Gutstein will report. Machinima also recently raised $67M in financing from the likes of Warner Bros (which led funding with $18M), Google Capital and Redpoint Ventures as the service looks to find ways to make money outside of its partnership with YouTube, which takes about 45% of the ad revenue it sells.
Before Ovation, Gutstein founded Entertainment Media Advisors, a media-focused consultancy. The former investment banker also was SVP of BuyTV. “Machinima is a pioneer in the online video space and virtually invented the MCN business model,” Gutstein said today. “It isn’t every day one is offered the chance to grow a global, category leading consumer TV brand with a massive and highly engaged audience. We plan to profitably grow our business with engaging original programming, nurturing the best affiliate channel partner program, and creating innovative solutions to help marketers reach our young, male and highly mobile audience.”