On September 26th, YouTube VP of Content Tom Pickett announced he was leaving Google to pursue a job with another company. Since high-level Google don’t leave the company that often, we were curious to see where Pickett ended up. Four days later, we have our answer: Pickett will head a new subscription-based video on-demand service launched by AT&T and The Chernin Group‘s Otter Media venture.
The as-of-yet unnamed service will be a home for niche channels across a variety of subjects. So far, the only three announced channels are a trio of Chernin-owned properties: anime platform Crunchyroll, Korean streaming site KDrama, and online arts-and-crafts destination Creativebug. Pickett, who helped launch the YouTube Spaces during his time at YouTube, will be tasked with building the new service by looking for channels for Otter Media to launch, invest in, or acquire.
“I am really excited to work with an amazing team and build on the success of Crunchyroll and Creativebug in the rapidly growing OTT video space. I see a big opportunity to create new models that enable passionate communities to come together around great video experiences. I can’t wait to get started,” said Pickett in a release.
In addition to Pickett, Otter Media also announced the hire of former American Airlines executive Virasb Vahidi as its CEO. Vahidi will lead Otter’s operations, which are currently divided between two properties: Pickett’s VOD service and the Fullscreen multi-channel network. Otter acquired a majority stake in the latter company earlier in September, gaining access to a network of more than 50,000 content creators.
AT&T and The Chernin Group reportedly have a $500 million budget for their new venture, content creators are eager to find online distribution platforms with strong revenue streams, and Pickett has experience working with YouTube’s creative community. For those three reasons, we can expect to hear about some exciting Otter Media-backed channels in the near future.