AMC Networks Taps RLJ Head Miguel Penella As Direct-To-Consumer President

AMC Networks has named RLJ Entertainment head Miguel Penella to the new role of President, Global Direct-to-Consumer. He will continue to run RLJE, the parent of Acorn TV and UMC in which AMC acquired a majority stake last year.

In his new position, Penella will oversee a portfolio that includes Shudder and Sundance Now as well as Acorn and UMC (Urban Movie Channel). The company’s AMC Premiere service is technically not classified as direct-to-consumer since it requires a pay-TV subscription.

Like many content-centric owners of cable networks, AMC Networks is pushing to diversify its revenue streams and lessen its dependence on traditional pay-TV carriage as the TV bundle is reconfigured.

Miguel Penella

“Miguel is perfectly qualified to take on this new assignment, consistent with his role as president of RLJ Entertainment. His leadership will continue to prove the benefit of the strategic combination of RLJ Entertainment and AMC Networks,” RLJ founder and chairman Robert L. Johnson said.

“Our direct-to-consumer platforms are a key priority as we continue to strategically position our business for the future,” said Ed Carroll, Chief Operating Officer for AMC Networks. “Miguel is an experienced leader with an exceptional track record in the direct-to-consumer space and we look forward to his leadership in this area as these services become an increasingly meaningful part of our business.”

Penella has led RLJE since January 2013. From 2007 to October 2012, he was CEO of Acorn Media Group, which was acquired by RLJE, steering its evolution from a DVD distributor with rights to Agatha Christie and other British titles into a niche streaming service with an avid following.

Prior to Acorn, Penella worked at Time-Life, the National Direct Marketing Corporation and the National
Wildlife Federation.

“AMC Networks is in a class of its own, driven by its reputation for having excellent content and its expertise in building strong, powerful brands,” Penella said. “I look forward to working with the outstanding teams at Shudder and Sundance Now as we work together to develop and grow these compelling offerings into even greater destinations for our passionate and growing fanbases.”

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