Chad Gutstein is the new CEO of Machinima. The former Chief Operating Officer of the Ovation television network replaces outgoing CEO and Machinima co-Founder Allen DeBevoise to take the helm at the self-proclaimed “next-generation video entertainment network for the gamer lifestyle and beyond” that currently boasts more than two billion views per month across its 170 million unique viewers around the globe.
“I’m humbled by the opportunity and excited by the promise at Machinima,” said Gutstein in the release. “Machinima is a pioneer in the online video space and virtually invented the MCN business model. It isn’t every day one is offered the chance to grow a global, category leading consumer TV brand with a massive and highly engaged audience. We plan to profitably grow our business with engaging original programming, nurturing the best affiliate channel partner program, and creating innovative solutions to help marketers reach our young, male and highly mobile audience.”
The announcement has been a longtime coming. News first broke in November 2013 that DeBevoise would exit the day-to-day operations of Machinima to stay on as Chairman of the Board and the company would look for a new Chief Executive Officer once it secured another round of financing. That financing round came on March 10, 2014 in the form of $18 million led by Warner Bros after Machinima went through a bit of a restructuring that included laying off 42 employees (or about 30% of its workforce).
“As Machinima’s newest investor, we are impressed with Chad’s experience leading a premium content business which built a brand with value to both audiences and advertisers,” said Thomas Gewecke, Chief Digital Officer of Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. in the release. “He brings great energy and dedication and we’re excited to partner with him and the team at Machinima.”
Gutstein comes to Machinima with a pedigree in entertainment industry finance. Gutstein started his professional career in investment banking and private equity before joining BuyTV, a startup home shopping TV network with the goal to “combine the convenience of distance shopping with the storytelling power of lifestyle television.” Gutstein then worked with the media-focused consultancy shop Entertainment Media Advisors, before joining Ovation, managing the network’s P&L, and helping it grow from from 5 million to nearly 55 million households.
That work history is worth noting as Gutstein will oversee all aspects of Machinima’s business (including “programming, sales, marketing, strategic partnerships, product development, and diversification of distribution and revenue”) with a keen financial eye. And perhaps that was the differentiator that landed him the position ahead of other contenders (like Emiliano Calemzuk), whose backgrounds are comprised of a touch more production than finance.