Digital chief logs off

Hirschhorn ankles after short stint as exec

MTV Networks chief digital officer Jason Hirschhorn is ankling the company.

Departure comes less than a year after he was promoted to the newly created post, responsible for overseeing the expansion of Viacom’s TV brands into new-media platforms.

Hirschhorn was hired by MTVN in 2000 via the acquisition of his company Mischief New Media, ascending over the last six years to head all of the company’s business development and initiatives in the digital sector.

An MTVN rep said Hirschhorn has been in talks for the past few weeks with MTVN chair-CEO Judy McGrath about leaving in order to pursue entrepreneurial projects.

However, insiders said his rapid rise may have overwhelmed Hirschhorn — he was responsible for the late entry of MTV’s Urge into the online musicstore space — and there was increasing concern about his ability to manage the digital strategy for all of the company’s properties.

Hirschhorn will be replaced in the interim by Nick Lehman, currently exec VP of digital. Lehman will report to McGrath.

“Jason is a visionary who has been a driving force during the transformation of MTV Networks from a linear cable programming company to a digital, multiplatform powerhouse,” McGrath said.

During his tenure at MTV, Hirschhorn supervised the overall growth and interactive strategies for the digital music and media operations at each network.

Elsewhere at MTVN, MTV has greenlit “Sway’s Hip-Hop Owner’s Manual,” the channel’s first original series created specifically for wireless platforms. Net has ordered 10 of the shortform episodes, in which MTV News host Sway Calloway will break down the newest slang terms from the latest hip-hop tracks. Pilot for “Manual” launched across all carriers that service MTV Mobile video.

In addition, Calloway has signed a multifaceted three-year deal calling for him to host various shows and specials across multiple platforms, including on-air, online and wireless. Multiplatform talent deal is the first for MTV.

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