Exclusive: Comcast & Paramount seek SkyShowtime head of content


Comcast and Paramount’s soon-to-launch streamer SkyShowtime is on the look-out for a head of content with a remit that will rival some of the biggest roles in Europe, TBI has learned.

SkyShowtime was first revealed in mid-2021 and will offer TV, movies and original series from NBCUniversal (NBCU), Sky and Paramount to subscribers in 20 countries across Europe.

It is being targeted at markets outside the reach of Sky, Paramount+ and NBCU’s Peacock – including Spain, the Nordics and a swathe of CEE countries – and is led by former Comcast Cable exec Monty Sarhan, who was appointed CEO in January.

I Hate Suzie

Sarhan unveiled his senior management team in March, including the appointment of regional chiefs in CEE and Northern Europe, but TBI understands the streamer is now looking to add an additional senior exec who will report into the CEO and oversee all content across the region.

Remit & reach

A number of candidates are believed to be discussing the role, which will have to juggle the rights demands of two US studios in NBCU and Paramount, as well as the considerable programming output from NBCU sibling Sky.

The position is likely to be out of London, where Sarhan is based, and will need to stock the service with shows across genres ranging from dramas, docs and kids & family, as well as key franchises from the three companies’ portfolios.

Local programming will also be incorporated into the offering for the streamer, which received regulatory approval in February – but the position will require someone with serious negotiating skills, with rights for shows coming from such a multitude of sources.

On the Paramount side, the service will house series from the likes of Billions network Showtime, SpongeBob’s Nickelodeon and Paramount Pictures, as well as originals from Paramount+, which has recently ordered dramas such as The Ex-Wife and unscripted series LA Hairdressers (wt) through its UK base.

Global sales rights to those two shows are both being handled by independent distributors, however – Night Train Media and Endeavor Content, respectively – underlining the complexity of securing rights to shows commissioned from within the group.

Monty Sarhan

NBCU, meanwhile, will provide IP from Universal Pictures and its own streamer, Peacock, as well as content from Comcast stablemate Sky, which is behind originals such as I Hate Susie to The Tattooist of Auschwitz. Execs have previously confirmed that SkyShowtime will only be available in markets where Peacock and Paramount+ do not operate.

Senior team structure

SkyShowtime has to date drawn its senior team from within: former Paramount+ exec Henriette Petersen is regional GM for Northern Europe and Gabor Harsanyi took the same role in Central and Eastern Europe.

Petersen was director of marketing and helped to launch Paramount+ in the Nordics, which is to close to make way for SkyShowtime. She will lead the distribution and partnership team and work closely on marketing and content in the region.

Harsanyi, meanwhile, is also from the Paramount side, where he had been GM for CEE, Austria and Switzerland. His remit includes working across business development and negotiation of SkyShowtime partnerships in the region.

Other appointments to date have seen NBCU and Peacock exec Josh Snow taking the chief product officer role (SkyShowtime is based on NBCU’s Peacock), while Sky duo Francesca Pierce and Jen McAleer are CFO and chief brand officer respectively. Fellow NBCU alum Richard Howard joined as chief marketing officer, having been SVP of marketing for the US studio’s international reality steamer Hayu.

Snow, Pierce and McAleer report into Sarhan, while Howard reports into McAleer.

A SkyShowtime spokesperson declined to comment on specifics but told TBI: “We’re recruiting for a number of roles across departments ahead of our launch later this year.”

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