1. Sarah Penna, 29
Co-founder/chief creative officer, Big Frame
The reality TV vet co-founded Big Frame, a media company and talent management firm, in 2011 at age 26. Dubbed “CAA for the digital set,” it’s now one of the top networks on YouTube with 300-plus signed talent names and 24 million monthly uniques. Penna is among the players producing TV-quality shows for the Web, including: sci-fi short series “Meridian”; “Squaresville,” a coming-of-age dramedy; and “Sync,” a sci-fi action thriller launched by Big Frame as part of YouTube’s original channels initiative.
2. Joe Lewis, 33
Head of original programming, Amazon Studios
Lewis joined Amazon in 2012 as the first creative hire in the TV group and oversees all development of primetime series, including Amazon’s first eight comedy pilots. Two of those shows, “Alpha House” and “Betas,” moved into series production. Now he’s overseeing a second round of pilots. He previously worked at CAA and Comedy Central.
3. Jake Avnet, 30
Chief operating officer, executive producer, WIGS
Avnet produced viral Web content, musicvideos and Web series for Warner Bros., Fox and the Sundance Film Festival, then helped launch WIGS — a female-skewing YouTube channel that’s part of YouTube’s original channel initiative — in May 2012. In February, WIGS entered a multi-year pact with Fox, forming a programming, marketing and distribution partnership and becoming the first YouTube channel to air ads on a network. In June, WIGS and Fox widened the availability of content to include Hulu.com and Hulu Plus.
4. Mike Farah, 34
President of production, Funny or Die
Farah oversees day-to-day ops and handles the site’s television and feature projects. Since joining in 2008, he’s produced the award-winning videos “Prop 8: The Musical” and “Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis.” Under his leadership FOD’s creative team produces more than 20 original videos a month. Additionally, he’s an exec producers of “Funny or Die’s Billy on the Street,” airing on Fuse, and produced a feature written and directed by his brother, Chris, “Answer This!,” acquired by Wrekin Hill Entertainment in 2011.
5. Margaret Laney, 30
Chief marketing officer, AwesomenessTV
Laney helped co-creators Brian Robbins and Joe Davola launch the leading teen destination on YouTube in 2012 and played a critical role in growing it into YouTube’s largest multichannel net. Now she oversees all marketing, audience development and social media for the channels and helped launch over 25 original programs. Awesomeness was acquired by DreamWorks Animation in May.
6. Jonathan Zepp, 36
Director, entertainment content partnerships, YouTube
Zepp joined Google’s entertainment team in 2011 and leads a content partnerships team focused on growing Google’s transactional digital video service available on Google Play and YouTube. A major focus for Zepp and team has been to drive content partnerships internationally, expanding Google’s services to 13 countries across three continents. This includes securing first-time transactional partnerships with Fox, Paramount, Disney and others, as well as launching an electronic sell-through offering.
(Profiles by Andrew Barker, Iain Blair, Peter Caranicas, Randee Dawn, Marc Graser, Carole Horst, Maane Khatchatourian, AJ Marechal, Alex Stedman, Allegra Tepper)