In the latest sign of how seriously traditional media companies are taking the digital era, veteran CW executive Rick Haskins has been promoted to the role of President, Streaming & Chief Branding Officer.
Haskins has been at the ViacomCBS-WarnerMedia joint venture since it was formed in 2006. As his new title indicates, he will continue overseeing all of the network’s branding, marketing and promotion efforts as well as guiding the overall strategy and distribution of the CW’s streaming platforms. Among the items in his portfolio is CW Seed, the company’s free, ad-supported streaming service.
Haskins will continue overseeing all of the network’s branding, marketing and promotion efforts as well as the overall strategic vision and distribution of The CW’s streaming platforms. After ending a long-term relationship with Netflix (which Haskins initially helped establish), the CW has taken back in-season streaming rights to its shows. It is also co-ordinating with its co-owners as they continue their streaming efforts, with WarnerMedia launching HBO Max in May and ViacomCBS bringing a blend of subscription and ad-supported offerings. Haskins will also lead development of original programming, production and acquisitions tailored for the CW’s streaming, social and emerging platforms.
“Rick is one of the best marketers and digital strategists in the business and has helped establish The CW as one of the preeminent entertainment brands,” CW chairman and CEO Mark Pedowitz said in a press release. “For more than a decade, under Rick’s leadership, the CW has created and continues to evolve a unique, vibrant ecosystem that aligns our linear broadcast and streaming platforms and allows us to harness social media in a way that is unmatched in the industry. The growth of CW Seed that Rick has developed and nurtured from an incubator to what is now a robust streaming service will add to the strength of our brand position.”
In an interview with Deadline, Haskins said the promotion “really does show CW’s commitment to streaming. We’ve been doing it as long or longer than anyone else.”
As to any further organizational changes to reflect his new title and the push into streaming, Haskins said nothing is planned as of now. But the network is actively researching the interaction of its linear network and its on-demand, streaming offerings. “We’re doing a lot of internal analyses about how to serve both the linear network and the streaming platforms,” he said.
Seed, which was created in 2014, has recently added off-net shows like Schitt’s Creek and several BBC Studios series, among them the original House of Cards. This spring, Seed will launch a live, linear streaming channel with programming from within its stable as well as from People and Entertainment Weekly.