Mike Biard Fox NEtworks

Company vet fills void left by Mike Hopkins' departure for Hulu

Fox vet Michael Biard has been promoted to prexy of distribution for Fox Networks, filling a void left by the departure of Mike Hopkins for the top job at Hulu.

Biard will oversee distribution and marketing strategy for 21st Century Fox’s 45 networks and cablers and their digital offshoots. In other words, he’s the exec in charge of negotiating megabucks carriage deals with MVPDs and helping the conglom make money off of emerging VOD, streaming, mobile and other emerging platforms.  He reports to Fox Networks Group chairman-CEO Peter Rice.

Biard is “a gifted negotiator who is also able to analyze and solve complex issues in order to create significant value for Fox and our MVPD and broadcast affiliate partners,” Rice said. “Over the past several years he has provided thoughtful direction as the leader of our national accounts and digital distribution teams, and has made vast contributions to the success of our networks business.”

Biard has been with Fox for the past 13 years, most recently serving as exec VP of distribution since 2010, a job that gave him oversight of Fox’s digital distribution efforts. Fox has been one of the more prominent of champions of making programming available on-demand through authenticated streaming platforms; otherwise the broadcast net imposes a weeklong delay in free streaming access to a handful of recent episodes via Fox.com and Hulu.

Hopkins’ experience in handling those same kind of deals helped land him the CEO job at Hulu, the joint venture of 21st Century Fox, Disney and NBCUniversal. His appointment was made official last week.

Biard first joined fox as director of affiliate business affairs. During his tenure with the distribution group, he’s helped shepherd the launch and growth of Fox Sports 1, FXX, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild and a host of regional sports networks.

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