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Disney exec ankles for Maker Studios

Chris Williams tapped to oversee programming

Maker Studios has lured an executive from Disney’s digital division to become the company’s chief programming officer.

Chris Williams will oversee an aggressive expansion under way at Maker, one of the most-watched content brands on YouTube. The company finished fourth behind just Vevo, Warner Music and Machinima among YouTube channel partners in February, according to Comscore Video Metrix.

Williams comes from Disney, where he was VP and g.m. of Disney Online Originals, a unit of Disney Interactive Media Group that cinched a deal last November to create original programming for YouTube — an unprecedented move from a major studio. Williams was instrumental in that effort, having come to Disney in 2008 after selling the conglom his company, Take180, which still functions as a creative hub inside DIMG.

Williams will focus on driving Maker to the next level of growth, with the expectation of doubling or tripling the number of channels from the current 400. That will mean beefing up content beyond the core verticals of gaming and comedy that make up 80% of the company’s programming and generating more hit formats.

Maker currently has the biggest hit original program on YouTube to its credit, “Equals Three,” which features Ray William Johnson.

The company produces approximately 300 videos per month, and it hopes to raise that number to 1,000 by the summer, according to Williams.

“There aren’t going to be any drastic programming changes — this is about expanding on existing success,” he said.

Williams is Maker’s biggest hire since bringing on former MySpace Music president Courtney Holt as COO last year.

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