SkyShowtime, the European streaming joint venture of Comcast and Paramount Global, has hired Roberto Soto as chief strategy officer and Walt Disney Co. veteran John Heinemann as general counsel.
Both will join the company later this year and report to SkyShowtime CEO Monty Sarhan, the company said on Wednesday.
Soto has been serving at HBO Max as senior vp and head of growth marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), leading the marketing, PR, subscriber acquisition, customer relationship management and growth analytics teams and spearheading the streamer’s rollout across markets. In his newly created role, “Soto will lead the development and execution of SkyShowtime’s strategy, working closely with all teams across the organisation” and be based in Amsterdam, the company said.
Before joining HBO Max, Soto held senior roles in growth marketing, product, business development, strategy and distribution at Paramount Global, formerly ViacomCBS, Fox International Channels and Liberty Global. He also worked at streaming start-ups Mubi and Tribes Media.
“Roberto’s diverse experience across entertainment and sports streaming services, including multiple launches throughout Europe, make him uniquely positioned to help define our company’s strategy and drive its execution across the organisation,” said Sarhan. “He will be instrumental in making SkyShowtime the next great streaming service for Europe.”
Soto said, “I am thrilled to join SkyShowtime and can’t wait to work together with Monty and his team to build a unique and premium entertainment brand offering – a combination of iconic, high-quality content from the portfolios of the world’s leading studios and an intuitive viewing experience that audiences in Europe will love.”
SkyShowtime has said it would launch in 22 markets later this year. Those include Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland. The territories encompass 90 million homes. Earlier this year, the partners received regulatory clearance for the streaming venture.
Meanwhile, five-year Disney veteran Heinemann joins SkyShowtime having most recently served as associate principal counsel for the Nordics, Baltics and Middle East and North Africa (MENA). At Disney, the executive was part of the team that launched Disney+ internationally, negotiating multiyear agreements across Europe and MENA.
At SkyShowtime, he will serve as the chief legal officer, “acting as a strategic advisor to the leadership team and the board of directors, while overseeing the entire legal function, including commercial and transactional matters, compliance, regulatory matters, privacy and data protection, content licensing and distribution,” the company said. Heinemann will work closely with SkyShowtime’s distribution and partnerships teams, “where his experience in launching and distributing Disney+ in many of these same territories will be crucial,” it added.
Prior to his time at Disney, he worked at Fox Networks Group, BBC Studios and Viasat Broadcasting. “In addition to his formidable legal skills, John also brings business acumen and a strategic mindset,” said Sarhan. “He knows our markets and he understands what is required to launch a successful streaming service. I know he will be a trusted advisor to the entire leadership team.”
Said Heinemann: “It’s a thrilling time for streaming services, and with SkyShowtime’s exceptional content offering, it is poised to become a major player across Europe. I can’t wait to start supporting Monty and his team in the SkyShowtime adventure.”