You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

YouTube Taps Netflix’s Kelly Merryman for Top Content Job

Netflix is losing a top executive for content acquisition to YouTube, according to sources.

Kelly Merryman, who has led the charge building the subscription VOD service’s content libraries across its rapidly growing global footprint for the past seven years, has been named VP of content partnerships at the Google-owned company. A rep for YouTube confirmed the hire.

She’ll be reuniting with Robert Kyncl, head of content and business operations at YouTube, who she previously worked with at Netflix, where she rose to VP of content acquisitions for Europe. Based in YouTube’s Beverly Hills offices, she begins in January, reporting to Kyncl.

The defection puts Merryman in a new key role as YouTube’s lead exec managing relations with media companies big and small throughout the world, from conglomerates to the upstarts amassing huge audiences on the platform. It’s a high visibility position, particularly at a time when YouTube is optimizing its platform to remain the go-to hub worldwide and content firms are exploring alternative or additional digital distribution solutions.

Merryman comes in after a year of considerable executive shuffling at YouTube from the top down, starting with new CEO Susan Wojcicki, who arrived in February. She is in part stepping in to fill the vacancy created by Tom Pickett, VP of content at YouTube, who exited in September for a new role at Otter Media, the venture co-owned by AT&T and Chernin Group.

YouTube’s content partnerships team was also impacted mid-year by the shift of Alex Carloss, who took on a new role focusing on original content at YouTube, where he has subsequently built a new team underneath him.

Reporting to Merryman are lead execs for content partnerships across the world for YouTube, including Laura Lee, John Farrell, Gautam Anand, Stephen Nuttall, Jon Zepp and Jamie Byrne. North America, which was previously split between Lee and Malik Ducard, is now led by Lee alone now since Ducard shifted to a different role leading YouTube’s kids and learning division six months ago.

YouTube has also made a flurry of changes on the engineering side of its business throughout the year. The latest: Eyal Manor, a key player at Google-owned DoubleClick, joins as VP of engineering at YouTube.

Netflix recently hired former Vuguru CEO Larry Tanz to join as VP of content acquisitions for Europe, where Merryman was instrumental in stocking the content vaults for the SVOD service’s many overseas extensions. Tanz is part of a team led by Merryman, who reported to chief content officer Ted Sarandos.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Elite Season 2

    San Sebastian: Spain’s SVOD Players Debate Competition, Brand, Talent

    SAN SEBASTIAN  — Executives from HBO, Netflix, Amazon and Movistar+ and “Elite” co-creator Darío Madrona took to the stage to field questions on the Global Impact of Spanish Series. Here, briefly, are five takeaways: 1.Spain First “La Casa de Papel” was watched by 34,355,956 Netflix accounts over its first seven days,  after a July 19 [...]

  • Tinder - Swipe Night

    Tinder's Apocalyptic 'Swipe Night' Interactive Dating Show Sets Release Date

    Tinder next month will bow its first original entertainment content — “Swipe Night,” an interactive adventure series in which viewers are forced to make dating choices on humanity’s last night on Earth. Variety previously reported details of the location-based social network/dating app service’s foray into original content, which recently wrapped production in Mexico City and [...]

  • Editorial Use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    YouTube Rolls Back Verification Changes, Says Verified Creators Can Keep Their Badge

    A day after announcing significant changes to its verification program, YouTube announced Friday afternoon that it won’t be de-verifying existing creators after all. “We heard loud and clear how much the badge means to you,” said YouTube product manager Jonathan McPhie in a blog post. “Channels that already have the verification badge will now keep it [...]

  • BLive: BitTorrent Live Streaming App to

    BitTorrent to Launch Public Beta of New Live Streaming App

    BitTorrent is getting ready to open the floodgates for its new live streaming app, dubbed BitTorrent Live: The company plans to launch a BitTorrent Live Android app on various app stores as part of a public beta test late Friday, according to a spokesperson. BitTorrent Live, which is also known as BLive, is being described [...]

  • Netflix - Apple TV

    Netflix Stock Drops After CEO Acknowledges 'Tough Competition' Coming From Disney, Apple

    Netflix shares fell as much as 7% Friday to a nine-month low, coming after CEO Reed Hastings commented that the November launches of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus will introduce a “whole new world” of competition. Hastings, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference Friday in Cambridge, England, said, “While we’ve been competing with [...]

  • Facebook

    Facebook Suspends Tens of Thousands of Apps During Privacy Investigation

    Facebook has suspended tens of thousands of apps ever since it began investigating potential privacy abuses, the company said Friday. The apps in question had been built by around 400 developers, and a suspension doesn’t necessarily indicate actual privacy violations. Facebook began combing through millions of apps that made use of its platform after the [...]

  • tivo logo

    Tivo Plans to Launch Android TV Dongle, Tivo+ Curation App

    DVR maker Tivo is getting ready to release a new device that may not record television at all: The company plans to launch a $50 Roku-like TV dongle early next year, its new CEO Dave Shull revealed in a conversation with CNN this week. The new device will be powered by Google’s Android TV platform, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content