Eye ups distrib vet to chief corporate content licensing officer

CBS has expanded the charter of program sales maven Scott Koondel, giving him broader corporate responsibilities focused on developing strategies for licensing and distribution of all CBS Corp. content.

Koondel, previously prexy of distribution for CBS Television Distribution, will now serve as senior veep and chief corporate content licensing officer for CBS Corp., reporting to CBS exec veep and CFO Joseph Ianniello.

The appointment came a day after CBS Corp. topper Leslie Moonves told Wall Streeters during an earnings conference call that the Eye was considering expanding the availability of some of its shows on digital platforms (Daily Variety, Nov. 8). At present, CBS typically restricts digital windowing to library programs no longer active on CBS or Showtime, but Moonves said Wednesday they are considering the possibility of licensing past seasons of current series — shows that would fetch top dollar from content-hungry distribs like Netflix and Amazon.

Koondel’s shift to a full-time corporate role has been in the works for some time and was unrelated to the recent shakeup at CBS Television Distribution. He will work closely on content deals with Armando Nunez, CBS’ longtime international chief, who was elevated to worldwide oversight of distribution and firstrun syndie as prexy of the newly created CBS Global Distribution Group.

Koondel has been the Eye’s point man for negotiations with Netflix, Amazon and the rest of the emerging digital realm, deals that have turbo-charged the company’s bottom line. He’s also got a deep background in off-network syndie sales, giving him an invaluable perspective in plotting windowing and release strategies.

“Scott’s efforts over the past several years have opened a variety of new markets and have had a major positive financial impact for CBS,” said Ianniello. “He is a truly unique executive, with his finger on the pulse of this emerging growth area for our company.”

Koondel’s role in surveying the landscape of opportunities for content, ranging from primetime series to material derived from news, sports and CBS Interactive, aims to ensure that the Eye maintains a 30,000-foot view on a fast-changing marketplace.

“We’ve done well in monetizing our content and gotten great value for our shows,” Koondel said. “Now we have the luxury of data and a lot of information to look at to see where the (licensing) revenue and audience is additive and doesn’t cannibalize our core businesses. We’re not opening up the floodgates. We’re continuing to be very methodical and strategic in how we look at these opportunities.”

Koondel first joined Paramount Pictures’ syndie wing in 1994. After the CBS-Viacom split in 2006, Koondel was named head of off-network and new-media sales for CBS TV Distribution.

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