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Tribune Taps M-Go CEO John Batter to Run Gracenote Unit

Tribune Media Co. announced the appointment of John Batter — previously CEO of the M-Go digital-entertainment joint venture of DreamWorks Animation and Technicolor — as chief executive officer of Gracenote, the division comprising its entertainment metadata businesses.

Tribune completed the $170 million cash acquisition of Gracenote from Sony Corp. of America in February 2014, after which Tribune merged Gracenote with Tribune Media Services (TMS), a provider of electronic program guide and TV data for North America, Latin America and Europe. Last month, Tribune bought What’s-ON, an EPG data provider covering India, the Middle East and parts of Asia.

Batter, also named executive VP of Tribune Media, will begin his new role as CEO of Gracenote on Sept. 2. He reports to Peter Liguori, president and CEO of Tribune Media.

With the hiring of Batter, Tribune Digital Ventures president Shashi Seth is leaving the company. Seth, a former Yahoo and YouTube exec, had overseen Tribune Media Services and Gracenote and was responsible for developing new digital business ventures for Tribune.

“Tribune Media has decided to focus its digital investment strategy on growing its metadata business globally, which today includes Gracenote and What’s-ON,” Liguori said in a statement. “As we look to develop and grow our metadata business, we decided to bring in a CEO with strong operational experience to lead this effort globally. John’s strong digital experience in on-demand streaming services and videogames combined with his studio experience make him a terrific fit to lead Gracenote into the future.”

Gracenote was previously led by Stephen White, who left the Emeryville, Calif.-based company in May 2014 after 13 years with the company.

Batter was most recently CEO of M-Go, the digital movie and TV streaming service owned by DreamWorks Animation and Technicolor, since its formation in August 2011. Prior to M-Go, Batter was president of production at DreamWorks Animation for more than five years. He also previously held management roles at games publisher Electronic Arts (EA), serving as g.m. in the company’s mobile and studio groups.

With Batter’s exit, M-Go said that chief technology officer Christophe Louvion has assumed the role of COO, overseeing day-to-day operations of the company.

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