Starz expands its digital team

Starz recently added Darren Nielson as SVP of Distribution and Business Development, and Jeff Cooke as VP of Programming to the International Digital Networks team led by EVP Superna Kalle.

'Darren and Jeff bring a wealth of global acumen and skill to this international team at a time of significant growth for our company and our brand,' said Kalle. 'I look forward to exploring new opportunities around the world for our content across digital and linear platforms with them on board.'

Based in the company’s Santa Monica office, Nielson will lead the distribution and business development for the Starz-branded digital and linear services and channels, working closely with Kalle to develop expansion strategies, identify and evaluate partner opportunities, and source and negotiate distribution agreements with in-territory partners.

Prior to joining Starz, Nielson served as director of content acquisition at Netflix, helping grow the service from a domestic DVD business into a global leader in streaming video. Nielson was instrumental in launching and building Netflix across Europe and Asia and managed global licensing relationships with major studios and local partners across both film and TV series. Prior to Netflix, Nielson held business development positions at Sony Pictures Television and Ascent Media.

As VP of Programming, Cooke will oversee programming for the international expansion of the Starz direct-to-consumer subscription service to new global markets. He will define and implement the content strategies across all international territories and identify key programming initiatives through data insights and analytics. Also based in the Santa Monica office, Cooke will curate content that defines the Starz brand in each region and capitalize on global trends and strategies. Cooke will continue to work with London-based Brett Marottoli, Head of Program Acquisitions, to identify and acquire additional content for the StarzPlay platform.

Cooke recently served as VP of Global Digital at Lionsgate. Prior to Lionsgate, he held positions at Miramax and MGM.