Elisabeth Murdoch’s mobile video content studio Vertical Networks announced a new CEO, Jesús Chavez, who will succeed Tom Wright in an executive transition that one source described as planned.
Chavez will be responsible for creating new intellectual property, expanding the brand’s presence across platforms, and finding new ways to make money.
“We have enjoyed explosive growth at Vertical Networks and are excited that Jesús will bring his extensive experience to help us further scale our business,” Vertical Networks founder Murdoch said in a statement.
Prior to Vertical Networks, Chavez served as chief operating officer at mitú, a digital media company that caters to Latino millennials. Before mitú, he held several senior positions at Univision, where he managed the company’s digital operations for the Local Media Group.
One source credited Wright with helping launch Vertical Networks and build its momentum. He will remain a strategic advisor, and continue to run Freelands Ventures, Murdoch’s early-stage investment firm at the intersection of media, technology and entertainment.
The Venice-based Vertical Networks is best known for producing video shows for Snapchat and Facebook, and using the digital platforms to incubate concepts it can adapt to new formats.
For example, one of its most popular Snapchat shows, Phone Swap, features couples who meet on a blind date and peruse each other’s phones before deciding whether to go on a second date. It’s averaging 10 million viewers an episode, and made the leap to TV this summer. The Brother channel on Snapchat, which dispenses advice on relationships, health and “clever dumb stuff,” is the inspiration for an advice book.
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