Sony Pictures TV Chairman Mike Hopkins Exits For Top Amazon Job Overseeing Video Entertainment

Amazon

Former Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins is returning to the streaming world with a high-level job at Amazon. Hopkins will be stepping down from his current post as Chairman of Sony Pictures Television later this month to join Amazon where he will be overseeing Amazon’s video entertainment businesses – including Prime Video and Amazon Studios — reporting directly to Amazon Chairman and CEO Jeff Bezos.

Tony Vinciquerra, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, just made the announcement at the company’s quarterly senior leadership meeting.

Jeff Frost, Keith LeGoy Craig T. Mathew; Sony

Hopkins is not expected to be replaced — at least for the time being, — with Jeff Frost, President of U.S. Production, and Keith LeGoy, President of Worldwide Distribution, taking on additional responsibilities. They will now report directly to Vinciquerra, as will Sony TV’s International Production business, Silvergate, GSN, the India networks business, and Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! Vinciquerra laid out the senior leadership realignment in an internal memo. (you can read it below the story.)

At Amazon, Hopkins will be taking over duties previously held by Jeff Blackburn, SVP and member of CEO Jeff Bezos’s exclusive S-Team. Considered the prime architect of its video-streaming effort, Blackburn oversaw Amazon’s video-streaming service for seven years until going on a year-long sabbatical last summer. There had been a lot of speculation whether Blackburn would return from his sabbatical or not. As one of Bezos’ closest associates, he will likely be welcomed back in some capacity should he decide to return.

Meanwhile, Hopkins is bringing streaming business experience to help lead Amazon’s video operations amid a major upheaval as a string of new players, including Apple, Disney and WarnerMedia, are entering the field.

Hopkins is expected to support Prime Video’s international growth and focus on improving the customer experience. His hire  is not expected to have impact on how Amazon Studios is run by head Jennifer Salke who had been consulted in the appointment, I hear.

Hopkins joined SPT in October 2017 and focused most of his efforts over the past 2+ years on restructuring the studio’s TV operations.

“From day one he was charged with rethinking the way we run our television businesses,” Vinciquerra said in his note to staff. “As part of our ‘Reimagine’ efforts, SPT has undergone essential structural change and realignment – such as combining our networks operations with distribution/home entertainment into a new territory management model and refocusing our network portfolio. Additionally, SPT has made several significant deals on the M&A front and forged new relationships with top creators and talent.”

Under Hopkins’ watch, Sony acquired the remaining 42% of GSN it didn’t already own from AT&T and sold a majority stake in its streaming service Crackle to Chicken Soup for the Soul, among other deals.

“As a result of these efforts, our television business will thrive and grow in key priority areas, such as U.S. and international production, distribution, our already outstanding game show businesses, kids programming, our newly combined anime groups and our strong regional networks businesses – especially in India and Latin America,” Vinciquerra said.

Hopkins was named CEO of Hulu in 2013 amid turmoil at the streaming service, then co-owned by 21st Century Fox, Disney, NBCUniversal and Time Warner, which at the time had been run by an interim CEO with its owners exploring a sale. During his four-year tenure, Hopkins built up the company, which doubled revenue and tripled its market valuation and made Emmy history as the first streaming service to land a Best Series award for The Handmaid’s Tale.

Prior to that, Hopkins was President of Distribution for Fox Networks where he oversaw the distribution strategy, sales and marketing for the company’s 45 linear and non-linear U.S. channels, as well as on-demand and digital extensions. His team also developed authenticated and digital video products BTN2GO and Fox Now.

Here is Vinciquerra’s memo:

Good Morning,

I’m writing to make you aware that Mike Hopkins will be leaving Sony Pictures later this month to take on an exciting new challenge overseeing Amazon’s video entertainment businesses – including Prime Video and Amazon Studios, reporting directly to Amazon Chairman and CEO Jeff Bezos. Obviously, this move represents a significant change for our senior leadership team and the studio, but we support Mike’s decision and look forward to the many opportunities to stay connected working together in the future.

I want to thank Mike for his outstanding leadership since arriving at the studio in late 2017. From day one he was charged with rethinking the way we run our television businesses. Under his watch, SPT has been transformed into a stronger and more nimble organization, able to pivot and change course quickly in today’s rapidly evolving entertainment landscape. As part of our “Reimagine” efforts, SPT has undergone essential structural change and realignment – such as combining our networks operations with distribution/home entertainment into a new territory management model and refocusing our network portfolio. Additionally, SPT has made several significant deals on the M&A front and forged new relationships with top creators and talent. These were not small tasks and would not have been possible without the outstanding work of SPT’s excellent divisional leadership and their teams, who will continue to drive our business forward.

As a result of these efforts, our television business will thrive and grow in key priority areas, such as U.S. and international production, distribution, our already outstanding game show businesses, kids programming, our newly combined anime groups and our strong regional networks businesses – especially in India and Latin America.

Having accomplished the bulk of what we set out to do over the last couple years, and with much of the heavy lifting behind us, we will be taking the opportunity of Mike’s departure to realign our leadership structure at SPT.

Keith LeGoy, our President of Worldwide Distribution, will now oversee Funimation and our Networks Operations, Programming and Strategy group.

Jeff Frost, our President of U.S. Production will now oversee First Run Television, Embassy Row and our new game show development team run by Mike Richards.

Keith and Jeff will now report directly to me. As will our International Production business, Silvergate, GSN, our India networks business, and Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!

Please join me in thanking Mike for his numerous contributions and wishing him continued success. If you have any questions, please reach out to me or your respective executive leaders or P&O partners.

Tony

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2020/02/sony-pictures-television-chairman-mike-hopkins-exits-top-amazon-job-overseeing-video-entertainment-1202856447/