Parent of entertainment sites fills posts
In what it calls a coincidental staffing move, UndergroundOnline, the parent of a slew of youth-skewing entertainment Web sites, has filled several high-level executive posts with international MTV toppers.Among them, Aric Austin has joined the New York-based company as veep of research, sales, support and ad operations. He was director of strategic planning for MTV Europe. Rebecca Batties has been tapped executive veep of programming. She was formerly veep of international programming, marketing and operations for MTV’s international operations. Other hires include exec veep of sales and marketing Boris Katz, who was senior veep of MTV Europe; UGO director of marketing Kristin Steven, former director of international marketing for MTV; and three other middle-management recruits, who also stemmed from MTV. Additionally, Doug Maio has been hired as chief financial officer. He was most recently veep of finance at Dun & Bradstreet. Many of the relationships with the new hires are said to have come from UGO CEO J Moses’ former stint as head of MTV Russia. UndergoundOnline distribs entertainment content to 18- to 35-year-olds through 250 owned and affiliated Web sites including film and television info sites CHUD.com, JediNet.com and DailyRadar.com. Company recently secured $40 million in financing from high-profile investors including George Soros, Liberty Digital and DLJ. Company board members include Strauss Zelnick, prexy and CEO of BMG Entertainment.