2018 SVG Sports OTT Forum


David Bailey, Formula 1, Senior Digital Research Manager

David Bailey currently heads up digital research and analytics at F1, working across areas including the F1 website and app re-launch, as well as the launch of the brand-new OTT service F1 TV. The research team at F1 has only been in existence for little over a year, but the fan insights they’ve captured have been pivotal in further developing a much-loved international sport both online and offline.

Eric Black, NBC Sports Digital and Playmaker Media, CTO

Eric Black was named CTO of NBC Sports Group Digital in 2015. Black manages all IP-delivered platforms for NBC Sports Digital, including its numerous websites, applications, and connected devices. He also oversees NBC Sports’ Playmaker Media, a separate business which provides end-to-end video support service for companies in need of best-in-class live streaming and VOD solutions.

Under Black’s leadership, NBC Sports Digital and Playmaker Media have streamed some of the most prestigious properties in sports, including six Olympic Games, three Super Bowls, Sunday Night Football – primetime television’s No. 1 show — the National Hockey League, Premier League, National Basketball Association, NASCAR, the Triple Crown, Notre Dame Football, MLB, and the Open Championship, among many others. The systems built by Black have focused on both high concurrent traffic and scale, and now operate on more than 20,000 events per year, resulting in billions of consumed minutes.

In addition to the tens of thousands of events that air each year across NBC, NBCSN, Golf Channel, Telemundo, NBCUniverso, and six NBC Sports Regional networks, Playmaker Media provided streaming video solutions for the Presidential debates and 2016 election coverage for NBC News. The service currently provides end-to-end services for the Olympic Channel, the International Olympic Committee’s global digital platform. In 2017, Black pioneered a partnership between Playmaker and iStreamPlanet, owned by Turner. Together, the two companies delivered digital services for many of sports’ biggest events: Telemundo Deportes’ coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia; CBS and Turner Sports’ March Madness coverage; Super Bowl LII; and the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, Korea.

A 20-year veteran of the digital video/live streaming industry, Black and his team were instrumental in NBC Sports Digital’s success during the Rio Olympic Games, which set streaming records with 3.3 billion total minutes, 2.71 billion live minutes, and 100 million unique users. It remains the largest digital event in history.

Black joined NBCUniversal as a webmaster for NBC New York’s website, wnbc.com, in June 2000. In 2010, as director of digital operations for NBC Sports, he managed the first-ever live stream of Super Bowl XLVI. He was promoted to VP of technology for NBC Sports and NBC Olympics in 2012.

Black has been recognized with seven Emmy awards, the Olympic Golden Rings for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad on NBC, and the Edward R. Murrow Award for 9/11 coverage in 2004. In addition, he was honored with the 2013-2014 technology and engineering Emmy Award for Pioneering Delivery of Pay TV Linear Video to Consumer Owned and Managed Devices Over an IP Connection.

Ben Bloom, Akamai, Director of Professional Services, Media and Entertainment

Ben Bloom is the director of professional services for Akamai’s media and entertainment clients. Currently in his ninth year at Akamai, Bloom has worked behind the scenes to enable the online broadcasts of major events for Akamai clients (Super Bowl LI/L/XLIX, Vancouver/Sochi/Rio Olympic Games, 2016 Presidential Election/Inauguration, March Madness), the launches of a myriad of new OTT services, and uncountable sports events, game releases, and new site/app launches.

Bloom is recognized as an industry expert in online broadcasting and scaling internet applications, speaking at conferences such as Digital Hollywood, Storage Visions, Creative Storage Conference, vNAB, and Akamai Edge. He received his B.S. in engineering as an inaugural graduate of Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.

Brandon Costa, SVG, Director of Digital

Brandon Costa covers the sports video production industry, with a focus on live streaming, over-the-top (OTT), social media, and other digital distribution technologies and platforms. He also directs SVG’s internal digital strategies launching the company’s video outfit, ‘SVG On Demand,’ designing and overseeing its mobile application, ‘SVG Mobile,’ and serving as executive producer and host of The SVG Podcast. Costa serves as program director of the SVG College Summit, the SVG Digital Summit, and the SVG Sports OTT Forum. Prior to his time at SVG, Costa spent five years producing digital content for MLB Advanced Media.

Sung Ho Choi, fuboTV, Co-Founder

Sung Ho Choi is a co-founder of fuboTV, the leading sports-first streaming TV service. He led the team that launched the service in 2015, spearheading the design and development of its initial technology stack on web, iOS, Android, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku. Prior to founding fuboTV, Choi was an early employee of SVOD service DramaFever. He played a critical part in growing the company before he left to start fuboTV. DramaFever was sold to Softbank and is now part of Warner Bros. Digital Networks.

Jason Dachman, SVG, Chief Editor

Jason Dachman oversees all aspects of SVG’s North American editorial operations, including the thrice-weekly SVG Insider newsletter and SVG’s annual print publications. A member of the SVG team since 2009, Dachman also serves as program director for SVG’s RSN Summit, Sports Content Management & Storage (SCMS) Forum, Sports Graphics Forum, and TranSPORT event. Prior to joining SVG, he spent three years covering local sports for The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, MA, and two years on the production staff of SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s The Ron & Fez Show. Dachman began his career in the Sports Information Department at Northeastern University in Boston, where he also earned a B.A. in media communications and cinema studies.

Skip Desjardin, YouTube TV, Head of Sports and Local Content

Skip Desjardin is a television veteran who now works for Google, where he was instrumental in the development of Google Fiber and now serves as head of sports and local content for the company’s new OTT business, YouTube TV.

Over the course of a 35-year career in the media, Desjardin has changed the way we watch television. In the 1980s, he helped launch the country’s first regional sports network, then established the pay-per-view business in the 1990s as the head of PPV for the World Wrestling Federation in the heyday of WrestleMania. As an executive at ESPN in the 2000s, Desjardin launched the company’s first digital network, its interactive TV services, and the first-ever video-on-demand agreement for a basic cable network. Later, he was executive producer of the Walt Disney Company’s first sponsored webisodes, for which he won three Telly Awards and was a 2008 Webby Award honoree.

Desjardin is also the author of the forthcoming book, September 1918: War, Plague and the World Series.

Aditya Ganjam, Conviva, Chief Product Officer

Aditya Ganjam, chief product officer at Conviva, is currently responsible for leading and growing the product management team, driving the product strategy for Conviva’s experience management platform.

As a founding member of the Conviva team, Ganjam has spent his entire professional career at Conviva holding progressively more key engineering roles. Most recently, he was Conviva’s chief architect and led product definition, technology strategy, and new product incubation. Prior to that, he was a lead engineer and team lead for several areas within Conviva’s engineering team.

Before joining Conviva, Ganjam was a Ph.D. student in computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, where, as a member of the End System Multicast project, he contributed to the building of the world’s first peer-to-peer live streaming system. Ganjam earned Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University.

Brian Herbst, NASCAR, VP, Global Media Strategy and Distribution

Brian Herbst is VP of global media strategy and distribution for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR). He leads NASCAR’s international media and audio businesses, in addition to developing new media distribution opportunities for NASCAR. Herbst joined NASCAR in 2005 and played an important role in the development of the industry’s digital media strategy when NASCAR brought its digital rights in-house in 2012.

Herbst oversees the sport’s international media business, with NASCAR content now broadcast in over 185 countries and territories. He also led the development of the sport’s first over-the-top product, NASCAR TrackPass, which is now available in over 125 countries and territories. Herbst was a core member of the team that recently negotiated partnerships with Twitter and renewals with SiriusXM, TSN, and Fox Latin America.

Before moving into his current role in February 2015, Herbst worked for NASCAR’s digital arm, NASCAR Digital Media, where he was responsible for securing new digital partnerships, syndicating content outside NASCAR’s digital platform, and managing NASCAR’s digital rights agreements. Prior to leading the digital partnerships team, Herbst managed NASCAR’s digital products business alongside Turner Sports, handling the NASCAR RaceView product and NASCAR’s fantasy portfolio.

Herbst spent his early years at NASCAR in the company’s Licensing and Consumer Products Division where, in various roles, he managed the e-commerce business, cultivated new licensing relationships for the industry, and rolled out multiple retail programs to support the sale of licensed products.

Herbst serves on the board of The Jack Fanning Memorial Foundation: Angels for Autism, a New York-based charity that raises money for autism. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where he graduated with honors.

Jason Hofmann, Limelight Networks, VP, Architecture

Jason Hofmann joined Limelight Networks in 2009. He previously held key roles in professional services and product management for The Limelight Orchestrate solution, which is comprised of content delivery, video streaming, web acceleration, security, and DNS. As head of architecture at Limelight Networks, Hofmann leads initiatives to constantly improve upon Limelight’s content delivery architecture. Previously, Hofmann was a director at BMC Software by way of acquisition of Identify Software. He started his career at Accenture, in key software architecture and development roles for Accenture’s largest clients.

Hofmann has innovated extensively in the field of web acceleration and currently holds five U.S. patents. In 2015, he was a founding member of the Streaming Video Alliance and has been a member of the Alliance’s Board of Directors since 2016. The Alliance plays an active role to publish and promote open standards, policies, and best practices for the industry. Hofmann holds a B.A. in computer science from Cornell University.

Darryl Jefferson, NBC Sports and Olympics, VP, Post Operations and Digital Workflow

Darryl Jefferson was named VP of digital workflows at NBC Sports Group in January, 2013. In this role, he oversees the post production and asset management teams, which focus on the development and execution of automated file-based ingest, production transcode, long-term archive, and remote delivery. In addition, Jefferson is responsible for transitioning the NBC Sports film/tape archive to a wholly file-based system. He reports to Dave Mazza, SVP and CTO, at NBC Sports Group.

Previously, Jefferson served as director of post production operations. Most notably, he oversaw the Highlights Factory/Asset Management System from conception through implementation at all Olympic Games between the 2008 Beijing Games through the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. In addition to Olympics, his daily portfolio of production includes Sunday Night Football and Thursday Night Football, Triple Crown events (8 years of Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes), NASCAR, NHL, Premiere League, and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Jefferson was also involved in the construction and systems integration process for NBC Sports Group’s state-of-the-art production facility in Stamford, CT. He formerly oversaw technical operations at the NBC Olympics Landmark Plaza facility.

Prior to joining NBC Sports Group, Jefferson was director of post production at Lifetime Networks. He oversaw post production scheduling, duplication, media management, and digital media coordination. Jefferson was a key member of the Operations/IT task force responsible for the transition to a tapeless environment, and was a primary architect of the tapeless digital workflow.

Jefferson is a fourteen-time Emmy Award Winner for New Approaches in Broadcasting, Short Form 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014; New Approaches in Event Coverage 2014; Technical Emmy Award (Set Top Box Delivery); Tech Team, Studio 2010, 2012, 2014; Tech Team, Remote 2014, 2016; Transmedia 2016; and a 2012 & 2014 George Wensel Technical Achievement Award Recipient.

Ken Kerschbaumer, SVG, Co-Executive Director, Editorial Services

Ken Kerschbaumer is co-executive director of editorial services for the Sports Video Group and SVG Europe. He was a co-founder of SVG along with Paul Gallo and Marty Porter in 2005 and has been writing about how sports networks and leagues use video and audio technology to deliver a quality TV experience since 1991. Kerschbaumer began his career in 1991 at Television Broadcast magazine before joining Cahners where he was founding editor of Digital Broadcasting magazine. In 2000, he joined Broadcasting & Cable magazine as senior editor of technology where he covered all aspects of broadcasting, cable, and Internet content creation and distribution.

Melissa Lawton, Facebook, Live Sports Production Strategy

Melissa Lawton is responsible for live sports production strategy at Facebook. She is charged with helping Facebook’s partners redefine the live sports viewing experience to foster deeper and more meaningful connections between fans and the broadcasters, teams, leagues, and athletes they follow. In this role, Lawton designs production strategies that inspire partners to fully leverage the interactive and social potential of video on Facebook.

Lawton joined Facebook after five years as the head of live content at Red Bull Media House. In this capacity she oversaw a global production team that produced premium, live third-party sports, music, and culture events, as well as many ‘beyond the ordinary’ Red Bull competitions across the globe. 

Her 20-year career has encompassed long-term production roles on prestigious international events such as the Olympics, World Cup, and Commonwealth Games, as well as production stints in Australia on magazine shows, studio productions, live motorsports, and Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival. 

Lawton started her career as a sports journalist for The Age newspaper. She holds an M.A. in international relations from the University of New South Wales and a B.A. in journalism from RMIT. She currently works in Facebook’s New York office.

Zach Leonsis, Monumental Sports and Entertainment, SVP of Strategic Initiatives

Zach Leonsis is SVP of strategic initiatives for Monumental Sports & Entertainment and general manager of Monumental Sports Network, a first-of-its-kind regional sports network for digital, mobile, and over-the-top platforms. In 2016, Leonsis led the transformation of Monumental Sports Network – co-owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment and NBC Sports Group – from an ad-based blogging platform into a direct-to-fan service content provider.

Leonsis manages Monumental’s media rights relationship with NBC Sports Washington, which has local exclusive television broadcasting rights to the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards, and represents MSE on NBC Sports Washington’s board of directors.

After earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011, Leonsis received his M.B.A. from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and is a founding member of the Georgetown Entrepreneurial Advisory Board. He recently received an appointment to serve on Virginia’s Governor’s Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism and is involved in a variety of nonprofit and charitable activities in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Northern Virginia communities.

The Washington Business Journal and the Sports Business Journal both recognized Leonsis for his work in revolutionizing the direct-to-fan regional digital experience by honoring him in their “40 Under 40” list and as an “RSN Power Player,” respectively. In 2017, Leonsis was acknowledged as a top 20 innovator on SportTechie.com. Additionally, Leonsis has been lauded for his ongoing philanthropy, receiving the Street Soccer USA’s Youth Service Award and the McLean Rotary Club’s Youth Service Award.

Leonsis is a board member of the Anacostia Waterfront Trust in Washington, working to revitalize one of the city’s most treasured rivers, and was instrumental in securing the Wizards’ upcoming practice facility in D.C.’s Ward 8.

Christine Pantoya, NBA, SVP, Direct to Consumer and Mobile Strategy

As SVP, direct to consumer and mobile strategy at the National Basketball Association, Christine Pantoya is responsible for all aspects of the NBA’s direct-to-consumer content offerings, as well as the league’s mobile strategy and partnerships business.

In this role, Pantoya manages collaborations among all business areas that contribute to the development and delivery of the NBA’s over-the-top and mobile product offerings globally.

Before joining the NBA in January 2015, Pantoya served as VP of corporate strategy and development at Verizon Communications. At Verizon, Pantoya was responsible for developing strategic growth initiatives and multibillion-dollar revenue stream models across various growth areas, including media and entertainment, advertising, games, telematics, and mCommerce. Prior to her time at Verizon, Pantoya was VP of sales and marketing at Cox Communications, where she helped the cable company prepare for increased competition with a focus on customer retention programs, value-added selling, and centralization of key functions. During her career, Pantoya has helped launch sales channels for several startup wireless providers and was instrumental in integrating various systems and processes during the merger between Nextel and Sprint.

Pantoya earned her M.B.A., with a focus on marketing, from Old Dominion University’s Strome College of Business. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the university and remains active in the ODU community, serving on the Strome School of Business’s executive advisory council and mentoring current students. Pantoya also dedicates time as an adviser to Harvard’s Access to Justice Lab.

Kiran Patel, AWS Elemental, Solutions Marketing Manager

Kiran Patel is responsible for product marketing for AWS Elemental Media Services, helping customers learn how to utilize AWS and AWS Elemental solutions to build scalable, reliable, secure, and cost-effective media workflows. Prior to joining AWS Elemental, Patel worked with the BBC on streaming live sporting events. He has over 18 years of experience working with OTT video.

Hania Poole, Bleacher Report (B/R) Live, GM and NCAA Digital, VP/GM

Hania Poole is vice president/general manager of NCAA Digital and general manager of Bleacher Report (B/R) Live. In this senior leadership position, Poole oversees all aspects of NCAA Digital – including Turner’s award-winning NCAA March Madness Live (MML) – and the recently launched B/R Live, Turner’s premium live sports streaming service. Poole’s responsibilities also include oversight of the day-to-day relationship with league partners at the NCAA.

As VP/GM of NCAA Digital, Poole leads the teams responsible for content, operations, and product development for the business including NCAA.com, the NCAA Sports App, live digital coverage for all NCAA Championships, and the management of MML. Under her leadership, MML received the 2018 Sports Emmy for Outstanding Trans-Media Coverage of the 2017 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tournament. MML most recently set all-time records during the 2018 NCAA Tournament including most live streams for an individual game and the most concurrent streams for an overall game window.

Poole has also assumed leadership of Bleacher Report (B/R) Live as general manager of the direct-to-consumer product, responsible for product development, business strategy and operations, content acquisition, and marketing efforts for Turner’s newest OTT sports platform. Among the thousands of live sporting events available directly through the service will be the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, NBA League Pass games, 65 NCAA Championships, the PGA Championship, National Lacrosse League, The Spring League, World Arm Wrestling League, and more. 

Previously, Poole led the development and launch of Catch Sports, an innovative product that served as a digital personal assistant for sports fans and helped them navigate and find channels/platforms to consume sports content. The functionality of the Catch Sports fans has been integrated into Turner’s B/R Live product.

Poole has held several leadership positions throughout her Turner career including director of business operations for Turner Sports and director of business operations for PGA.com. Before joining the Turner Sports division, Poole was a senior product manager in Turner’s New Product Development group, in which she helped launch PlayON! Sports, a low-cost, live streaming platform for high school and college sports. She also launched TVinContext, a premium advertising offering.

Poole received her bachelor’s degree in public policy and French from Duke University. She earned her master’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dan Rayburn, Streaming Media Expert, Consultant

Dan Rayburn is considered to be one of the foremost authorities, speakers, and writers on streaming media technology and online video business models. An avid blogger, author and analyst, Rayburn is often referred to as the “voice of the industry” and has been quoted in more than a thousand news items by nearly every major media outlet over the past twenty years. His blog is one of the most widely read sites for broadcasters, content owners, Wall Street money managers, and industry executives in the online video sector. His articles have been published by the WSJ, NYT, CNN, Huff Post, Fortune, Business Insider, Gizmodo and he has been interviewed on Bloomberg, FOX, CNN, CBS, CNBC, and NPR, amongst others. Due to his expertise in the content delivery market, he has also received invitations to speak as a witness at hearings by both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on topics pertaining to net neutrality, telecom mergers, and content delivery architectures.

Rayburn is chairman of the Streaming Summit, a new industry conference he formed with the NAB in 2018, that takes place in Vegas and NYC each year. From 2002-2017, Rayburn was EVP for StreamingMedia.com and acted as the chairman for 47 conferences produced during that time. He is a principal analyst at research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, where he publishes market data and analysis on many streaming media technologies and trends across mobile, broadband, and last mile networks. Rayburn is also a sought after expert in patent cases involving video technologies and due to his military background, has been a technical advisor to various DoD agencies. He has been a guest lecturer and teacher at numerous academic institutions in the U.S. and abroad, has presented at more than a hundred conferences, and has authored/co-authored eight streaming media related books that have sold more than 25,000 copies to date. Rayburn is also a founding board member of the Streaming Video Alliance, a new industry forum of prominent companies from across the ecosystem that are collaborating to redefine the way online video is streamed for consumers worldwide.

After serving in the United States Air Force and Air National Guard, Rayburn became a certified systems engineer working with Apple Computer and in 1996, he co-founded one of the first webcasting production companies in the industry. After helping to produce some of the largest webcasts on the Internet at the time, the company was successfully acquired for $70M by a large telecommunications provider during the tech bubble of the late nineties. Rayburn was also the worldwide director of the Streaming Media Division for the Globix Corporation, an Internet infrastructure and content delivery network provider headquartered in NYC.

Karan Singh, Sony New Media Solutions, Director of Product Management

Karan Singh is the director of product management for Sony New Media Solutions. He leads the Ven.ue OTT Product Team for Sony NMS with over 15 years of experience in launching digital products. Prior to joining Sony New Media Solutions, Singh worked for multiple start-ups specializing in UGC and OTT digital video experiences, including the launch of Motor Trend Group’s successful SVOD OTT platform. Singh has a B.S. in computer graphics technology with a specialization in interactive multimedia development from Purdue University.

Mark Thames, Juniper Networks, Americas Security Partner Leader

As Juniper Networks’ Americas security partner leader, Mark Thames is responsible for the strategy and programs to enable, support, and reward partners in the U.S., Canada, and CALA for selling Juniper’s security solutions. Thames is a 20+ year veteran in the information security and networking industry with multiple Silicon Valley based companies. His background includes being a large Juniper customer and decision maker, selling Juniper solutions at an Elite Juniper Partner, and working for Juniper for the Partner Organization for the last 2 ½ years.

Prior to Juniper, Thames was senior director of networks and security for Polycom for over 8 years. He has also held roles such as SVP of client development for Toopher, a security software company which was acquired by Salesforce.com in 2015, and other various security and networking leadership roles in Cloud IAAS and financial companies.

Thames is a proud veteran of the United States Air Force, where he focused on networking and security. He has a Bachelor of Arts in business from Concordia University Texas.

Harrie Tholen, Nagra, VP of Sales Anti-Piracy & General Manager, NexGuard

Born in the Netherlands, Harrie Tholen has a master’s degree in engineering from the Eindhoven University of Technology. He started his career at Philips Electronics and the company posted him to Hong Kong as regional manager in 1996. Tholen then filled a number of management and executive roles in Asia, lastly heading global sales for a division of public semiconductor company NXP.

Tholen joined Civolution in 2011 as general manager for Asia Pacific, relocated to New York as senior VP of global sales in 2014, and has been acting as managing director since 2015. After the acquisition of NexGuard by the Kudelski Group, Tholen handles worldwide sales of the group’s watermarking solutions and anti-piracy services, working with large media companies such as NBCU, Fox, Sony, Disney, Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, HBO, AMC,  AT&T/DirecTV,  Sky, and beIN.

Chris Wagner, NeuLion, EVP

Chris Wagner has been a driving force in the technology industry and has worked closely with executives from many major media companies, sports leagues, corporations, and entrepreneurs who have relied on technology to enable the growth of their businesses.

His current position as EVP of NeuLion targets the opportunity for video content owners and right holders to connect with consumers on smartphones, connected devices, and other digital media devices.

Wagner has held numerous leadership positions in the technology and media sectors. The rapid growth of digital content delivered over-the-top (OTT) has given Wagner an opportunity to work closely with the largest brands in the sports and entertainment industry including the NFL, NHL, UFC, NBA, Univision, IMG, WME, and many others. He has also worked with the best in private equity, venture capital, and technology including Forstmann Little & Company, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Insight Venture Partners, and Computer Associates.

At NeuLion, Wagner is responsible for the strategy and execution of the company’s marketplace efforts directed toward the NeuLion Digital Platform. As one of the first startup companies in the OTT industry, NeuLion was acquired by Endeavor in 2018.

Wagner has been a frequent speaker at conferences, trade shows, and industry events.