Universal Names Michael Wise Chief Technology Officer

Michael Wise has been named Universal Pictures’ first chief technology officer.

The appointment of the former Turner Broadcasting exec, in the newly created role, was announced by the studio on Tuesday.

The position is clearly becoming an important one for studios as the majors look to release more of their films on digital platforms — and are seeking ways to protect their properties from piracy and internal data from hackers. Wise’s appointment isn’t the result of recent attacks by hackers at Sony Pictures. Universal had been seeking a CTO for months as part of ongoing moves by Universal chief Jeff Shell to restructure the company’s executive ranks.

Wise, who also has the title of senior VP, will lead the technology strategy for Universal Pictures, both internally and externally, and will work closely with Steve Lapinski, senior VP and chief information officer, film and West Coast television, on all matters pertaining to IT within the film group.

Wise reports to Universal’s president and chief distribution officer Peter Levinsohn.

“Michael’s proven leadership and ability to work across multiple platforms have led to new innovative technologies that consumers use every day,” Levinsohn said. “We will benefit greatly from his fresh perspective and approach as the industry continues to embrace advancements in the digital space.”

Wise has spent the past seven years at Turner Broadcasting System, most recently serving as VP, multiplatform distribution technologies, overseeing the development of TBS’ online video players and associated video delivery systems as well as TV everywhere authentication platforms. He also led the technical architecture and industry outreach work for Turner’s TV Everywhere and CNNgo initiatives.

Before TBS, Wise lead digital media strategy, planning and execution at AOL, and helped develop antipiracy technical strategy for Time Warner.

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