Warner Bros. is tapping a company veteran to lead Machinima ahead of current CEO Chad Gutstein’s imminent departure.
Warner Bros. Interactive’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Russell Arons will be named general manager of Machinima, the fandom and gaming culture programming service that Warner Bros. acquired for around $100 million last year. Arons will work with Gutstein through a transition plan before Gutstein leaves to “pursue entrepreneurial projects,” according to a news release.
Arons will lead all of Machinima’s creative, marketing services, data analytics, business development and operations, as well as the Machinima multichannel network.
“Arons is a terrific creative executive with exceptional audience experience and brand building capabilities. With deep knowledge in gaming, she speaks the same language as our Machinima creators, community and team, and has the proven ability to build and unlock strong consumer relationships,” said Craig Hunegs, president of Warner Bros. Digital Networks Group, in a statement. “In her new role, Arons will deepen Machinima’s relationship with an audience that’s important to many Warner Bros. divisions to further optimize our marketing and direct-to-consumer activities and serve as a hub for social video across the company.”
“I’d also like to thank Gutstein for his many contributions over the last three years,” said Hunegs in statement. “He’s done a great job leading Machinima’s team as they’ve strengthened their creator network, improved audience engagement and launched a content studio. I know he’s eager to take on a new venture, and everyone at Warner Bros. wishes him great success.”
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Warner Bros. has been an investor in Machinima since 2014. Since that time, Machinima said it’s been able to jump from being a YouTube multichannel network to a multiplatform programmer. Under Gutstein since 2014, Machinima has opened a full-service production studio and landed content partnerships with distributors including Playstation Vue, Amazon Prime, Verizon’s go90, China’s Sohu and The CW Network. The company said that, globally, Machinima has 3.8 billion monthly video views for a total of 19 billion minutes of video watched per month.