People/Biz

Starz unveils two promotions from company’s international networks team

Starz announced a pair of executive promotions on Tuesday (Jan. 11), elevating Darren Nielson to executive vice president of distribution and business development, and Jeff Cooke to senior vice president of ...
January 11, 2022

Starz announced a pair of executive promotions on Tuesday (Jan. 11), elevating Darren Nielson to executive vice president of distribution and business development, and Jeff Cooke to senior vice president of programming for international networks.

Since joining the company in 2018, Nielson (pictured, right) has led international distribution and business development for the Starz-branded digital and linear services and channels. This has involved helping to develop expansion strategies, identify and evaluate partner opportunities, and source and negotiate distribution agreements with in-territory partners.

He helped launch the Starzplay SVOD service across Canada, Latin America and Europe, structuring deals and managing partnerships with global OTT platforms like Amazon and Apple, along with local/regional pay-TV providers, telcos and consumer electronic devices like Roku and Fire TV.

Prior to Starz, Nielson worked as director of content acquisition at Netflix, where he helped launch and build the platform across Europe and Asia. He also previously worked at Sony Pictures Television and Ascent Media.

Cooke (pictured, left) also joined Starz in 2018, overseeing programming for Starzplay’s international expansion to new markets. Notably, he has supervised the development and production of Starzplay’s slate of Spanish-language original series, launching on its platform this year.

Before coming to Starz, Cooke worked as vice president of global digital at Lionsgate, and also previously held positions at Miramax and MGM.

“These are two well-deserved promotions that recognize Darren and Jeff’s invaluable and integral contributions to the success of Starzplay since our launch more than three years ago,” said Superna Kalle, Starz president of international networks, in a news release.

“Darren has achieved major success in expanding our partner and territory reach to more than 60 countries around the globe, and Jeff has built an incredible track record developing and managing the success of our strong and curated slate of scripted global programming.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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