About darrencross

My career includes leadership roles in corporate strategy and business development at Walt Disney, as an executive at Maker Studios (previously at Blip Networks). I ran business development for Comcast/NBCUniversal’s movie-focused sites, Fandango and Movies.com. Startup experience includes content acquisition and business development for a digital entertainment venture founded by Morgan Freeman and Intel. Currently, I drive strategy and business creation at Unreel Entertainment, a venture-funded, OTT platform-as-a-service provider. Executives who have hired me say I am dedicated, creative, analytical, honest and even-keeled. Coworkers and strategic partners say I’m skilled, insightful, reliable, flexible and generous. Career highlights: • Grew Maker/Disney non-ad revenue more than 5x with content distribution, content claiming, licensing/commerce optimization, and publishing. • Built Fandango mobile/OTT business at the birth of the smart phone, against significant internal reluctance - across major mobile operating systems. • Business lead for the ClickStar Documentary Channel (hosted by Danny DeVito), built content library from scratch, signed deals with the lions of documentary (Pennebaker, Maysles, Morris).
  • Industry BlockchainBranded EntertainmentDigitalEducationFilmInvestmentMediaPodcastingPublishing
  • Sector AcquisitionsBusiness. AffairsBusiness DevelopmentCorporate ConsultingCorporate DevelopmentDistributionStrategic PartnershipsStrategy
  • Preferred Job Title AdvisorBoard MemberCDO (Chief Digital Officer)CEO (Chief Executive Officer)CRO (Chief Revenue Officer)CSO (Chief Strategic Officer)Executive Vice PresidentPresidentSenior Vice PresidentVice President
  • Companies Unreel, Disney, Maker Studios, Blip Network, Comcast, Fandango, Clickstar, Wedbush

Summary

My career includes leadership roles in corporate strategy and business development at Walt Disney, as an executive at Maker Studios (previously at Blip Networks). I ran business development for Comcast/NBCUniversal’s movie-focused sites, Fandango and Movies.com. Startup experience includes content acquisition and business development for a digital entertainment venture founded by Morgan Freeman and Intel.

Currently, I drive strategy and business creation at Unreel Entertainment, a venture-funded, OTT platform-as-a-service provider.

Executives who have hired me say I am dedicated, creative, analytical, honest and even-keeled. Coworkers and strategic partners say I’m skilled, insightful, reliable, flexible and generous.

Career highlights:

• Grew Maker/Disney non-ad revenue more than 5x with content distribution, content claiming, licensing/commerce optimization, and publishing.

• Built Fandango mobile/OTT business at the birth of the smart phone, against significant internal reluctance – across major mobile operating systems.

• Business lead for the ClickStar Documentary Channel (hosted by Danny DeVito), built content library from scratch, signed deals with the lions of documentary (Pennebaker, Maysles, Morris).

Experience

  • 2018
    Unreel Entertainment LLC

    Chief Business and Operations Officer

    Lead Corporate Strategy and Business Development for a video experience company providing branded OTT apps for networks, publishers and content creators on a platform-as-a-service basis • Brands/partners include Roku, Vizio, Verizon, Limelight, VEWD, Chicken Soup for the Soul, ProSieben Studio71, Marathon Venture’s Nosey, World Poker Tour, and Adventure Sports Network • Strategic partnership with Studio71 including sale of over 60 original channels created by Unreel, with ongoing platform support • Strategic vendor relationships include bi-directional reseller arrangements with Limelight and Verizon, and monetization partnership deals include Bonnier, SuperAwesome, Chicken Soup and InMobi • Worked directly with CEO on fundraising and ultimate sale of the company

  • 2016 - 2018
    Darren Cross and Associates

    Principal / Director of Operations

    Strategy and corporate/business development advisor for C-level executives at entertainment and digital media companies, including OTT platforms, Influencer marketing platforms, video production/distribution companies, and niche multi-channel networks around digital content distribution, monetization, social media and e-commerce ● Select client list: o Jukin Media: design and development of a new business management/forecasting model o GoldieBlox: provided advice around content distribution, monetization and valuation o CreatorIQ: defining market opportunity and presentation for board and investors o Warner Bros Digital: advised on acquisition or development of a potential Fandango competitor o The Audience: social commerce development and optimization, crowd-funded talent opportunities

  • 2012 - 2016
    Walt Disney Company

    Corporate Strategy & Business Development

    • Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development for Blip Networks, 2012 – 2013 • Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development for Maker Studios Inc., 2013 – 2016 Hired by Kelly Day in 2012 to lead Corporate Strategy and Business Development at Blip Networks. Responsible for extension of the Blip platform to mobile and connected devices (OTT). Strategy lead for direct-to-consumer model, offering large YouTube talent more control over user experience, better engagement, and increased monetization through direct ad sales and sponsored content. Blip was acquired by Maker Studios in August 2013, leading YouTube multichannel network which at its peak generated over 15 billion views per month, with more than 800 million subscribers across 60,000+ channels. I joined Sam Wick’s team as VP Corporate Strategy and Business Development, working directly with Courtney Holt on M&A/Investment. Maker subsequently acquired by Disney in March 2014. • Built new business lines/revenue streams beyond ad sales leveraging partner talent, including video game publishing, book publishing, licensing and e-commerce, and content rights claiming businesses. • Corporate development lead for Maker’s investment and acquisition activities. • Key contributor to MakerTV and Maker content distribution strategy, culminating in deals with Dish TV, Canal+, Samsung, Verizon, PlayStation Vue, Spotify and Daily Motion. • Strategic partners: Rooster Teeth, Fremantle, 3 Arts, Rooster Teeth, Dick Clark, Jukin Media, Just for Laughs, MiTu, Loot Crate and Vin di Bona. • Brands: Pepsi, Geico, Verizon, WWE, Spin Master, Saban, Rogers, Globo, and Disney (Parks, Radio, Music, Publishing).

  • 2007 - 2011
    Fandango (Comcast/NBCU

    Head of Business Development

    Led business development, focused on mobile and OTT initiatives for this Comcast/NBCUniversal company including Movies.com. Launched mobile OS apps with new, distinct infrastructure for ad sales and delivery, product optimization, and user acquisition/retention. • Key relationships with Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Blackberry and Google, as well as strategic syndication and monetization deals with Yahoo, AOL, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and Google. • When I left Fandango, apps were in the top downloaded lists accounting for over 25% of all tickets sold (up from less than 1% from mobile in 2008). • Negotiated and managed key co-promotional partnerships including AT&T (Ticket Twosdays) and American Express (Entertainment Access).

  • 2005
    ClickStar (and Intel / Revelations Entertainment JV)

    Vice President, Content Acquisition and Business Development

    Joint venture between Intel and Morgan Freeman, ClickStar was an early entrant into video streaming, distributing new theatrical releases online while in theaters, pioneering curated, genre-based channels and championing small production and documentary filmmakers. • Negotiated and executed content license and acquisition agreements for digital day-and-date rights to theatrical releases, as well as library content deals with major, mini-major and independent studios, including Warner Bros, Sony, NBCUniversal, and Fox. • Partners included: Danny DeVito, Peter Bogdanovich, Tom Hanks, Brad Silberling, Tom Shadyac, Al Franken, D.A. Pennebaker, Albert Maysles, and Errol Morris. • Distribution firsts, new theatrical films released online simultaneously: “God Spoke” (Al Franken); “Ten Items or Less” (Morgan Freeman); “Lonely Hearts” (John Travolta, James Gandolfini).

  • 2004
    Wedbush Morgan Securities

    Equity Research Analyst

    Hired by Michael Pachter, prominent video game, social media, digital media and electronics analyst. Researched and analyzed prospective coverage candidates, gathered data and created models to emulate and understand companies, drafted and presented research and recommendations on investments to internal and external constituents. • Covered companies included Netflix, Blockbuster, Electronic Arts, Activision, Take-Two Interactive and 24/7 Real Media.

Education