TalkTalk has hired a former Amazon exec to boost its TV service.
In the age of streaming and VOD, most major appointments have been at online forms, such as YouTube. They have tended to focus on snapping up talent from the traditional TV industry: earlier this year, for example, YouTube hired Susanne Daniels, former president of programming for MTV, to lead its YouTube Originals team. Alternatively, they have involved cherry-picking talent from Netflix: last year, YouTube hired Kelly Merryman, Netflix’s former head of content acquisition in Europe.
Now, though, pay-TV provider TalkTalk has taken a different tact by targeting Amazon’s top brass. Former Amazon Instant Video director Joe Eldridge will be the firm’s TV engineering director, responsible for “leading innovation and delivering a first class customer experience across multiple platforms”.
The signing perhaps suggests a subtle shift in perception of Amazon’s streaming arm, as the company moves from online retailer to bonafide online broadcaster. But it far from marks the death knoll for traditional TV: it also highlights the ongoing strength of the pay-TV sector.
Indeed, TalkTalk has also bolstered its expanding TV business with the hiring of Aleks Habdank from Modern Times Group as chief operating officer for TV, responsible for the commercial proposition and strategic relationships. The former Virgin Media director of digital entertainment will “focus on providing the best possible offering to current TalkTalk TV customers whilst leading the efforts to grow the business”.
Habdank, who has over 20 years experience in TV and in leading businesses, was previously general manager of Chello on Demand for Chellomedia, while Eldridge was most recently chief product officer for Openbet, one of the world’s leading sports gaming platforms. Both will report to Max Alexander, managing director for TalkTalk TV.
The appointments arrive at the end of a major year for TalkTalk, in which it acquired pay-as-you-go digital service blinkbox and has reached over 1.4 million UK homes with its TalkTalk TV package.