MTV Names Digital VP/GM

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MTV rearranged its senior digital team, naming Dan Hart senior VP/GM, MTV Digital and promoting Paul J. DeBenedittis and Colin Helms to VP roles under him. Hart will report to MTV president Christina Norman and MTVN Music Group Entertainment president Brian Graden and work with the network's multiplatform production EVP Dave Sirulnick.

Hart moves to focus on the channel from a VP role heading up online gaming for MTV Networks' portfolio of cable channels. The top digital job at the channel has been vacant since Ben White left the company in November to follow his longtime friend and former MTVN digital chief Jason Hirschhorn to form a new entertainment division at time-shifting consumer electronics company Sling Media.

White, however, had focused mainly on MTV.com and the network's broadband site Overdrive - MTV's two main digital foci at the time. Hart will oversee a broader array of MTV digital products, including the new single subject-themed online verticals the company has talked of launching.

DeBenedittis (not to be confused with his same-named cousin, the Paul DeBenedittis who was cut as executive VP of programming at MTV during the February layoffs  and Helms have been minding MTV's digital projects since White's departure. DeBenedittis now becomes VP of Operations and Helms VP of Programming for MTV Digital.

MTV Networks has come under fire from analysts for not articulating a digital strategy that will keep it competitive with the dominant web hubs going after its young audience. To that end, executives including MTVN Global Digital Media President Mika Salmi have spoken to investors at recent conferences - in Salmi's case, the Goldman Sachs Internet Conference in Las Vegas on May 23.

The company's digital strategy he described revolves around launching targeted microsites beyond its current 230 and linking those sites, as well as integrating TV elements into digital platforms and vice versa.

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