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GoPro Nabs Sports Exec Bill McCullough From HBO (Exclusive)

GoPro is continuing its investment into content production with the hire of Bill McCullough, who previously worked as vice president of creative development and operations for HBO Sports.

McCullough is starting Monday as the executive producer for GoPro’s team sports and motor sports channels, which the company distributes across a number of platforms, including YouTube and Facebook — and with 11 Emmy Awards on his shelf, he’s also poised to raise the profile for the company’s original content efforts.

McCullough had been with HBO for a total of seven years. During that time, he picked up Emmys for sports documentaries like “Lombardi” and shows like “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”

In an interview with Variety, McCullough explained that his work at GoPro will likely look quite different from those high-profile, long-form sports features. “To start, short form will be the focus,” he said, but added: “I would not rule out that there is longer form pieces in the future.”

GoPro has ramped up its focus on original content in recent months. Earlier this summer, GoPro hired Charlotte Koh, who previously led Hulu’s original content efforts.

The company’s original video product has thus far been mostly promotional, showing off the capabilities of its cameras. But it clearly wants to cash in on content as well. In July, GoPro unveiled a video licensing platform for premium content, allowing brands and ad agencies to directly license footage for their clips and campaigns.

McCullough conceded that he may have less access to leagues and star athletes at his new job. “Certainly, the HBO brand opens a lot of doors,” he said, adding: “But that’s not all the stories in the world.”

He added that GoPro’s technology makes it possible to tell some of those other stories that are harder to capture with the way traditional TV production works. For example, he could just give athletes cameras and let them capture the action from their point of view. “The camera itself really breaks down so many barriers,” he said.

Asked whether his time of winning awards like that is over now that he focuses on short-form content at GoPro, McCullough replied: “Hell no!” He said that winning awards and otherwise raising the profile for GoPro is part of his mission at the company, adding: “I’m looking forward to those days when GoPro is at the Emmys.”

GoPro previously won a Technology and Engineering Emmy for its cameras, but the company has yet to receive similar accolades for its original content.

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