AT&T is adding more to the plate of one of its favorite executives, putting Kevin Reilly in creative control of its upcoming direct-to-consumer platform.
A veteran TV programming executive, Reilly already serves as president of TBS and TNT, and chief creative officer for Turner Networks, reporting to Turner president David Levy.
He’ll now add the title of chief creative officer for direct-to-consumer, double-reporting to John Stankey, CEO of AT&T’s WarnerMedia division.
WarnerMedia plans to launch a streaming service incorporating content from HBO, Turner and other WarnerMedia brands in the fourth quarter of next year.
Reilly’s appointment follows the naming of veteran AT&T executive Brad Bentley as executive VP and general manager of the new streaming platform. Bentley is a former VP of marketing for DirecTV who helped launch DirecTV Now two years ago.
Also, Turner CTO Jeremy Legg was put in charge of the new platform’s engineering.
In a memo to staff, intercepted by The Hollywood Reporter, Stankey remarked on how Reilly has "a reputation as a forward thinker when it comes to programming formats and cross-platform opportunities.”
"There are three legs of a stool to any successful direct-to-consumer effort," Stankey added. "A winning customer experience made possible by the technology platform that enables form and function; a compelling marketing strategy that highlights the product's attributes, brand promise and value proposition; and, for course, a content-curation vision that is tightly coordinated with the other two.”
Reilly has previously had top creative roles at NBC, FOX and FX, before joining Turner four years ago.
As WarnerMedia staffs up its digital platform, analysts are puzzled by the business strategy. MoffettNathanson’s Michael Nathanson, for example, can’t figure out why WarnerMedia doesn’t just get behind its already established subscription streaming platforms.
“For the life of us, we can’t figure out why the company wouldn’t use the HBO brand and app as their single global platform and populate their HBO Now and HBO GO apps with library content like ‘Friends,’ ‘The West Wing’ or more Warner Bros. TV library content” Nathanson wrote in a memo to investors earlier this week.
“Most observers believe that consumers will select about three to four SVOD services and HBO is already within that consideration set,” he added. “Even if AT&T is getting $100 million a year for ‘Friends,’ HBO would have only needed to add 833K incremental subscribers to their service under an HBO-exclusive only approach.”