Kate Bulkley, Media Analyst.

MTV poaches BBC new media expert

By Kate Bulkley

The Guardian

Thursday June 23, 2005

Angel Gambino

Angel Gambino

Angel Gambino, the BBC executive responsible for the corporation's controversial move to develop content for mobile phones and broadband, has been poached by MTV.

Ms Gambino, the BBC's controller of business development and emerging platforms, will join MTV Networks UK from September 1, in a new role with responsibility for expanding the music broadcaster's new media activities - including mobile media, interactive TV, gaming and on-demand services.

She is leaving the BBC after four years spent spearheading many of the corporation's increasingly controversial moves into commercial new media ventures.

These included adapting TV and radio output for mobile and broadband services and establishing relationships with important suppliers and partners including Microsoft.

Ms Gambino was also heavily involved in plans to extend the BBC's interactive media player to mobile phones.

The BBC offering its content free of charge to mobile users - including streamed coverage of April's Grand National - met with opposition from several of the UK's mobile operators.

Phone companies including Vodafone and O2 complained that the BBC and Ms Gambino were ruining the commercial business model for mobile telephony.

Her post will not be filled following her departure, but Ashley Highfield, the BBC director of new media, said this was mostly to do with the fact that new media had "grown up" and become more central to the BBC.

Mr Highfield has restructured the new media division's senior management so that broadband, internet and mobile have a "more co-ordinated approach", reporting to just three senior executives.

The recent moves to streamline the executive ranks at BBC new media came partly in response to the findings of last year's government-commissioned review by Philip Graf of the corporation's online and interactive operations.

"Certainly the Graf review focused us on the fact that we didn't have a simple enough relationship with our suppliers, from Microsoft to AOL to independent producers," said Mr Highfield.

In her new job Ms Gambino will report to Michiel Bakker, the managing director of MTV Networks for the UK, the Irish Republic and Nordic countries.

She will be responsible for creating and implementing MTV's business strategy across its 11-channel portfolio, which includes MTV, VH1, VH2, TMF and Paramount Comedy brands.

She will have a particular focus on expanding MTV Networks UK's position in mobile media and activities in the interactive TV, gaming, video on demand and subscription video on demand, internet TV and other on demand and interactive areas.


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