Imagine Taps Former Time Inc Chief Rich Battista For CEO Post

Marina Zarya

Rich Battista has been named the CEO of Imagine Entertainment, and will be joining the company immediately, based at its Beverly Hills headquarters.

Battista will work with Imagine Entertainment Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard and the company’s nearly 90 employees to build upon its growth and expansion strategy in the production sphere with an eye on mergers and acquisitions.

“We are excited to have Rich join Imagine. He brings with him a unique perspective and years of expertise and experience growing and expanding businesses, and we are confident in his ability to build upon Imagine’s success,” said Grazer and Howard this morning.

“I am thrilled to be joining Brian, Ron and the entire team at Imagine during this dynamic time in the areas of media, entertainment and content,” said Battista. “The company’s expansion in recent years globally and across new lines of business has been impressive to watch from afar and I look forward to rolling up my sleeves and collaborating with the team as the company is uniquely positioned to execute on its ambitious growth plans.”

Battista was most recently President and Chief Executive Officer of Time Inc., before overseeing the $2.8 billion sale of the company and its magazine brands People, Time, Entertainment Weekly, Sports Illustrated, and more to Meredith Corp. Time Inc. spun out of Time Warner into a separate publicly traded company in 2014. Battista transformed Time from a print business to a top ten digital property stateside with 140M-plus monthly unique users, 1B-plus monthly video views, and 280M-plus social followers. Battista also branched Time Inc. into television production, OTT, e-commerce, product licensing and direct-to-consumer paid products and services.

Prior to joining Time Inc., Battista spent two years as the CEO of Mandalay Sports Media which created, acquired and invested in businesses and content across the sports media landscape. He had an 18-year tenure at Fox in numerous senior management roles, where he was integral in conceiving of, building and operating their cable network portfolio. As President of Fox’s National Cable Networks, he oversaw the multi-billion dollar portfolio of entertainment and sports networks, including FX, National Geographic Channel, Speed Channel and Fox Deportes. From 2004 to 2008, Battista was CEO of the publicly traded Gemstar-TV Guide International, where he revitalized TV Guide magazine and TV Guide Network and oversaw the growth of TV Guide Online and other digital businesses. He directed the sale of the company for $2.3 billion in 2008. Additionally, Battista was Co-Founder and CEO of iFUSE, served as CEO of LodgeNet Interactive and formed Pontiac Digital Media through which he created and invested in digital media properties. Battista began his career as a financial analyst at Morgan Stanley and is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Business School.

Over the last two years, Imagine has expanded into new content verticals worldwide with new business units in the areas of Documentary, Kids and Family, Brands, Live Theater, International, Television Studios, and Artist Management. Last year Grazer and Howard launched Impact, a global content accelerator currently in its third session. Imagine also formed a joint venture with animation company Animal Logic to create hybrid family films, and invested in Marginal Mediaworks to expand into controlled budget films and other mediums from diverse voices. Imagine also invested in Jax Media last year, which is behind such series as Netflix’s Russian Doll, TBS’ Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, Comedy Central’s Broad City and TV Land’s Younger. In 2017, Imagine entered into a $100M TV co-financing venture with Hong Kong based TVB, as well as a co-financing arrangement with CBS Television Studios.

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