Major appointments at Seven Studios
Seven West Media (ASX: SWM) CEO Tim Worner today announced three senior appointments at the company’s market-leading production division Seven Studios.
Therese Hegarty, currently Director, Content Distribution & Rights, has been appointed Chief Executive.
Andrew Backwell, who has been consulting at Seven since late 2018, has been appointed Director of Production.
Richard Henson, current Head of Content Sales, has been promoted to Director of Content Sales.
As Australia’s largest producer of long form premium content, Seven Studios developed more than 1000 hours of television in 2018 across all genres, with 14 new original titles commissioned in the year and more than 20 hit series returning or in production across the group’s production division.
Seven recently announced the launch of Seven Studios UK, strengthening its presence in the UK and complementing its investment in London-based scripted specialists, Slim Film + Television. This international expansion builds on Seven’s production hubs in Los Angeles, Auckland, Sydney & Melbourne.
Seven Studios is capitalising on the strong global demand for content by streaming services through both finished program sales from its catalogue and co-production agreements. A series of Seven shows have debuted globally on Netflix in recent months, to widespread acclaim. Other divisional developments include the announcement from Slim Film + Television on its new big budget commission, the adaptation of Around The World in 80 Days, partnering on the project with leading European networks, France Télévisions, ZDF Germany, and Italy’s RAI.
Hermione Norris (Luther, Cold Feet) is one of the major stars of an outstanding ensemble cast for Seven Studios Australia’s new drama series Between Two Worlds (also starring Philip Quast from Hacksaw Ridge). In Los Angeles, a further series of 7Beyond’s cable hit for HGTV “My Lottery Dream Home” has recently been greenlit.
Mr Worner said:
“The Seven Studios story is a truly remarkable one. Our productions are now seen in over 190 countries worldwide across myriad local broadcasters, and are proving wildly popular on global streaming platforms.
“But we are only scratching the surface of Seven Studios’ potential. To build on our strong growth trajectory, we are investing in both our team and our production slate.
“I’m delighted to announce Therese as Seven Studios’ chief executive. That we are on track to deliver a seventh consecutive year of EBIT growth is down to Therese’s outstanding leadership.
“She has led the evolution of the company into a truly global player, expanding our international production footprint to London, Los Angeles and Auckland, and ensuring our local hubs in Sydney and Melbourne go from strength to strength.
“Therese is putting together a world-class team, and the promotions of Andrew and Richard, together with the recent announcements of Damon Pattison as leader of Seven Studios UK, and Simon Shalgosky as our Head of Global Development, put us in the best position to profit from the unrelenting global demand for premium long-form entertainment.”
Ms Hegarty said:
“I’m thrilled to take on the chief executive role, and thank Tim, the SWM team and Board for their ongoing support.
“I’m pleased to announce the appointments of Andrew and Richard. Andrew will be responsible for unscripted content and Richard will continue to lead the charge in monetising our content far and wide all over the world.”
Ms Hegarty began her career at George Patterson Advertising before moving into television production early in her career. Prior to joining Seven in 2012 she was Vice President Production for ASX listed Beyond International, where she managed operational and business affairs across the company’s US and Australian production business. She joined the Seven Network in 2012 and most recently held the title of Director, Content Distribution and Rights.
Mr Backwell has over 30 years’ experience in media across the major Australian television networks, centred on development, programming and production. Prior to joining Seven in October 2018, he consulted at Sony/Playmaker and MediaWorks, and spent 13 years at the Nine Network most notably as Managing Director, Programming and Production, responsible for the entire content budget including production, acquisitions, news, and sport.
Mr Henson joined Seven Studios in August 2015, to manage the sales and distribution arrangements of Seven’s significant and rapidly growing catalogue of content rights. Prior to joining Seven he was APAC regional director, program sales and consumer products for Discovery Networks International, and held various sales, strategy and communications roles with Nickelodeon, MCN, OMD and Universal McCann.