Sam Toles, previously head of Vimeo’s entertainment group, has joined MGM in the newly created role of senior VP of digital and new platforms, as the studio increasingly focuses on developing new forms of content for burgeoning internet-video platforms.
Toles reports to Kevin Conroy, MGM’s president of digital and new platforms (who joined the studio from Univision last summer), and will be based in Los Angeles.
‘I am so glad we could attract Sam to join MGM,” Mark Burnett, president of MGM’s TV and digital group, said in a statement. “He is an innovative thinker and has his finger on the pulse of what’s next.”
Last week, MGM announced a deal with Snap to create original programming for Snapchat’s Discover — the first big studio to team up with the social-messaging and media app maker.
While Toles was at Vimeo, which is owned by Barry Diller’s IAC, the streaming platform launched its first slate of original programming including “High Maintenance” (subsequently picked up by HBO), “Garfunkel and Oats: Trying to be Special” and the Oscar-nominated animated short “Pear Cider and Cigarettes.” Toles took over running Vimeo’s consumer-facing VOD business in the fall of 2015 with the exit of Greg Clayman, who had previously run the VOD business.
At MGM, Toles will oversee efforts to leverage existing MGM intellectual property — and create new IP — for digital platforms, working with the studio’s theatrical, scripted, unscripted and distribution teams.
“Sam’s experience in digital media will accelerate our efforts in developing and creating compelling new content for today’s digital platforms, and will help to shape our company’s strategy as new platforms emerge,” Conroy in a statement.
For Vimeo, Toles’ departure is another high-level exit. CEO Kerry Trainor announced he was leaving the company in June 2016, a few months after CTO Andrew Pile left after nearly 10 years at the company. Vimeo is headed by interim CEO Joey Levin, who is IAC’s chief executive officer, while the company hired e-commerce exec Michael Concannon as CTO in February.
Toles began his entertainment career in theatrical marketing at New Line Cinema and Warner Bros., followed by home-entertainment marketing roles at Paramount Pictures and Rhino. He then worked at Warner Music Group as director of marketing and acquisitions before joining Fremantle Media as VP of business development in 2005.
Prior to joining Vimeo in 2014, Toles spent six years at Gaiam, a purveyor of fitness and yoga products and media, where he was VP of content strategy. At Gaiam, he built the foundation for the company’s digital subscription VOD service, Gaiam TV (now called Gaia).