Zai Bennett, currently ITV’s director of digital channels and acquisitions, will be making the move to BBC Three, the younger-skewing BBC diginet, as controller.
At present, Bennett (pictured) commissions, acquires and schedules across all of ITV’s digital channels, including ITV2, ITV3, ITV4 and the CITV Channel. From 2006 to 2009, he was controller of ITV2 (Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Celebrity Juice). He’s worked at ITV since 1998 in a range of roles, including head of program strategy, ITV Digital Channels and ITV2 programming and acquisitions manager.
‘Zai is one of the most energetic and creative leaders working in television today,’ said Jana Bennett, director of BBC Vision in a statement. ‘He brings with him a real connection with the audience, a deep understanding of the digital landscape and first-hand experience of running channels.’
‘I have had a simply amazing time at ITV with some of the most talented people in television today, but I am delighted to be joining the BBC and especially BBC Three,’ said Zai Bennett of the new role. ‘The channel is on fire at the moment and I hope to be able to continue to support everyone’s great work on quality programs. The BBC is the most creative broadcaster in the world and BBC Three is an essential gateway for younger audiences to its phenomenal work.’
Bennett replaces Danny Cohen, who is moving over to BBC One as controller and replacing Jay Hunt, who takes the role of chief creative officer at Channel Four in early January. BBC Three was recently named Non Terrestrial Channel of the Year at the Media Guardian Edinburgh TV Festival for the second time since 2007. The diginet’s share in the 16-to-34 demo has grown by 58% over the past three years.