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Ricky Ow to Replace Steve Marcopoto at Turner Asia

Local content king is handed new domain

HONG KONGRicky Ow, the long-time head of Sony Television in Asia, is to take over as president of Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific with effect from mid-Jan. 2014.

He replaces Steve Marcopoto, who steps down as president and MD. He will relocate from Singapore to Hong Kong.

Ow will have executive oversight for all entertainment and kids networks, the digital and media services offered, the distribution of CNN’s services in that region, and all licensing and merchandising activity in Asia Pacific area. Turner’s brands in the region include CNN, Cartoon Network, Pogo and Turner Classic Movies.

“We look forward to the leadership and wealth of international media experience he will bring to one of the most strategically important areas of Turner International,” said Gerhard Zeiler, president of Turner Broadcasting System International, who made the announcement.

Ow quit as executive VP of Sony Pictures Television Networks Asia in August. Marcopoto announced his plans to retire from Turner a few weeks later, after a second wave of staff reductions in a year reduced Turner’s headcount in Asia by 30%.

Ow is considered a pioneer of local content in the region. He is known for successfully spearheading a local content strategy that has been adopted by other channels groups; building channels including AXN and Korea’s ONE, and green-lighting big shows such as “The Apprentice Asia” and “The Amazing Race Asia.”

Turner in contrast has struggled with localization, especially so in India where two of its general entertainment channels failed.

“[Ow’s] vast experience in the region, his successes in launching and establishing channel brands both locally and regionally, his experience in local content production, as well as his deep understanding of sales and marketing, make him the ideal choice to lead our business in the Asia Pacific region into the next stage of growth. Looking with fresh eyes at our business as a true leader, he will be a strong addition to Turner International. We all look forward to working with him to extend our core brands and build international scale,” said Zeiler in a statement.

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