Former Hearst Corp. exec boards Jaunt VR as CEO

George Kliavkoff (pictured) comes to the Palo Alto-based VR firm from Hearst, where he served as co-president of entertainment and syndication. He previously held the title of chief digital officer at NBCUniversal and helped to launch the digital streaming service Hulu.
September 12, 2016

Palo Alto-based VR outfit Jaunt has named George Kliavkoff as CEO, effective immediately.

Kliavkoff (pictured) joins Jaunt from American multinational conglomerate group Hearst Corporation where he served as co-president of entertainment and syndication, the division responsible for such networks as ESPN, Lifetime, A&E and History; television production and distribution; newspaper syndication; and merchandise licensing.

Additionally, Kliavkoff served as president of Hearst Ventures, which makes strategic investments in companies in the media and technology industries.

Previously, he held the title of chief digital officer at NBCUniversal, where he helped create and launch digital streaming service Hulu and later served on the U.S.-based SVOD’s board. He is credited with expanding NBCU’s digital media strategy developing new business models and overseeing the distribution of video and services across digital platforms.

He earlier served as executive VP for Major League Baseball Advanced Media, where he oversaw MLB’s online and mobile subscription and licensing business as well as business development.

Jaunt founder Arthur van Hoff, who has served as interim CEO as the company searched for a permanent boss, will resume his duties as CTO.

Founded in 2013, Jaunt develops hardware, software, tools and applications for VR and also produces original content through its studio arm, Jaunt Studios.

The VR firm most recently launched an office in China through a partnership with Shanghai Media Group and China Media Capital (CMC). The shingle also has offices in London and Amsterdam.

In November, the Sundance Institute launched a six-month VR residency program with Jaunt Studios. The company most recently partnered with singer Paul McCartney on the six-part doc series PURE McCartney.

Jaunt has previously received funding from such media companies and venture capital firms as The Walt Disney Company, Evolution Media Partners, CMC, Highland Capital Partners, Google Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Axel Springer, ProSiebenSat.1 SE, The Madison Square Garden Company, Peter Gotcher and Sky.

“George’s strategic vision and expertise scaling innovative global media companies are exactly the right combination to take Jaunt to the next level,” said van Hoff in a statement. “His proven track record for introducing forward-thinking video technology platforms to mainstream audiences makes him an exceptional fit for us.”

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.