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WarnerMedia names Kilar as CEO

Jason Kilar

Veteran media executive Jason Kilar has been named chief executive of US entertainment giant WarnerMedia.

Kilar, 48, previously was the founding chief executive of streaming outlet Hulu, and a senior vice president at Amazon. He will now oversee a large breadth of assets that includes Turner Sports, HBO, CNN, TBS, and the Warner Bros. movie and TV studio. He will report to John Stankey, president and chief operating officer of WarnerMedia parent AT&T, be based in Los Angeles, and begin May 1.

“Jason is a dynamic executive with the right skill set to lead WarnerMedia into the future,” Stankey said. “His experience in media and entertainment, direct-to-consumer video streaming and advertising is the perfect fit for WarnerMedia, and I am excited to have him lead the next chapter of WarnerMedia’s storied success.”

Among Kilar’s initial projects will be overseeing the debut of the HBO Max streaming service in May. HBO Max will be among the next major entrants in a growing US streaming war that already includes Netflix, Disney+, the Hulu that Kilar previously ran, and will also soon see the release of NBC’s Peacock that will have rights to a new NFL playoff game. HBO Max will cost $14.99 per month, higher than any of those of prominent competitors.

Jeff Zucker, WarnerMedia news and sports chief, will report to Kilar, and the pair will lead the company’s going-forward decisions about sports media rights. The company, through Turner, has a long-term rights deal in place with the National Basketball Association running through the 2024-25 season, and another with the National Collegiate Athletic Association in partnership with CBS running to 2032. 

But nearly every other major US sports property will begin their next media rights cycle over the next few years. As a result, the tandem of Kilar and Zucker will have a prominent role on WarnerMedia’s presence in those discussions.

AT&T also this week struck a carriage deal with Spectrum for SportsNet LA, the regional sports network for Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, ending a multiyear stalemate.