Meerkat veteran Laura Prangley, who directed creative strategy at the live-streaming startup, is joining Gunpowder & Sky as director of development – one of six new executives hired by the independent studio that was founded in part by Otter Media.
Also coming aboard are David Harris, a former MTV executive, as VP of development, Sama’an Ashrawi, who previously produced video at Revolt.tv, as creative executive, Ryan Nugent, a YouTube veteran, as VP of content strategy, Lotte van der Veer as business development manager, and Pietro Moro as VP of finance and operations.
The creative hires are interesting for their range of experience at other key media and entertainment companies. Before working with creators on live streaming content at Meerkat, Prangley worked at Conde Nast managing YouTube strategy. Nugent led global creator trends and research at YouTube, building data and creating strategies for the OTT video leader’s partners; he also wrote the first YouTube Creator Playbook in 2012. Ashrawi produced videos at Revolt.tv for major artists like Pharrell, DJ Khaled, and Kendrick Lamar, and served as the network’s culture curator. And Harris led the MTV (other) division, which created original content specifically for digital television like Myrna the Monster.
Gunpowder & Sky produces a range of content, from 90-second to 90-minute length video, that is platform- and genre-agnostic, so to speak. The studio keeps its financing, production and distribution in-house so it can independently create premium content.
Prangley’s former haunt, Meerkat, a.k.a. Life on Air, is itself going through more changes. The company pivoted in March from a pure live-streaming app, took a $14 million funding round, and according to Recode is testing a Facetime-like streaming app called Houseparty. Life on Air announced on Monday that it is restructuring, laying off 20 employees and shifting its primary operations to San Francisco, with just a small team of engineers left in Tel Aviv.
The recently formed studio made a number of key appointments this year: in January, former MTV president Van Toffler joined forces with Floris Bauer, former Endemol exec, and Otter Media to launch Gunpowder & Sky.