Big Publishers Scale Up Video Production

Recent months have seen a flurry of executive appointments by big publishers tapping top talent to lead their video production and distribution efforts.

The list of publishers appointing high-level video execs includes The New York Times, Time Inc. and BuzzFeed, all of which are preparing major digital video initiatives for the coming year.

In the latest such appointment, the NYT announced that Alex MacCallum is returning to the company to lead its video operations as assistant editor and SVP for video, after she finishes her maternity leave in January.

MacCallum had previously served as head of audience development and will continue to oversee that area along with her new video responsibilities. However, day-to-day responsibilities for audience development will pass to Justin Bank, who will report to MacCallum.



MacCallum’s appointment comes at a crucial moment for the newspaper, as video plays an ever-larger role in driving audience engagement and growing advertising revenues. The publisher is also experimenting with new formats, especially immersive video. Earlier this month, it launched a new VR app, NYT VR, created in collaboration with Google and VR studio IM360.

Separately, two weeks ago, Time Inc. announced that JJ Miller has been named executive producer for video at People and Entertainment Weekly, with responsibility for video programming on all digital platforms as well as TV and other video brand extensions.

Miller previously helped launch Katie Couric Productions and also played a key role in the launch of The Huffington Post’s eight-hour video block. Before that, she served as executive producer at SiriusXM, where she led the launch of the "Entertainment Weekly" channel, and served as special projects director at O/Harpo.

Also this month, BuzzFeed Motion Pictures announced the appointment of Michelle Kempner as publisher, where she will be responsible for all noncreative aspects of video production and distribution, spanning research to post-production, as well as social, analytics, and international efforts.

BFMP produces content for distribution via platforms like produces content for YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, and Vine, among others. Kempner previously served as director of operations at BFMP, after joining the company as video product lead.

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