Taking a major step toward developing original broadband content for the Internet’s high-speed users, powerhouse America Online on Friday tapped former Universal Television and MCA Television Group prexy Robert Harris executive producer of broadband.
In the new position, Harris will oversee the creation and acquisition of programming, product development and identifying content providers, while managing video, audio and graphics programming for users of high-speed Internet access.
He will report to Barry Schuler, prexy of AOL Interactive Services.
Virginia-based AOL, the world’s largest Internet service provider with over 16 million subscribers, plans to roll out its broadband programming this summer to coincide with the first wave of America Online broadband access.
Broadband services enable users to access the Internet at faster speeds and view TV-quality video streams, using cable modems or DSL satellite links.
AOL and Bell Atlantic announced in January a strategic alliance that will make DSL technology available to 7.5 million homes by year’s end, and, in March, AOL and SBC announced a deal to offer high-speed DSL upgrades to AOL members in the regions of Pacific Bell, Southwestern Bell and Nevada Bell.
As prexy of Universal TV and the entire MCA TV Group, Harris was instrumental in the creation or development of series such as “Magnum P.I.,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “The A-Team” and “Miami Vice.”
He also served as prexy of motion pictures-television for Imagine Films Entertainment.
In a related move, American Online has also upped Bill Youstra to managing director of broadband. He was managing director of daily programming and promotions.