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PTA Bolsters Executive Ranks as Digital Travel Network Takes Flight

After landing distribution on Delta Air Lines and Roku for its travel programming, PTA Networks has started to fill out its executive team, adding Betsy Sanner Ayala as head of programming development and production and Billy Fox to oversee advertising sales.

Ayala most recently served as executive producer and head of new development for Moxie Pictures’ television division, where she helped launch the second season of Animal Planet’s “Ice Cold Gold.” Before that, she led the factual development department for Angel Entertainment and was VP of programming for lifestyle network Plum TV.

Fox has spent the past decade at Apple, where he served as a senior sales leader on iAd, the mobile advertising platform Apple launched in 2010. While there, he worked with such clients as American Express, BMW and HBO.

PTA, which stands for Planes, Trains and Automobiles, is initially focusing on producing programming that appeals to the young and modern traveler, with other lifestyle brands also expected to become part of PTA Networks in the future as the company launches other over-the-top services.

Its series include “Day Off,” in which photographer Noah Abrams explores cities with notable talent; “Staycation,” where locals become tourists where they live; and “StateXState,” with veteran music tour manager Rick Marino.

After securing an initial round of seed financing from venture capitalists, including Venture51 and 500 Startups, PTA locked down a strategic investment from broadcaster Raycom Media in January.

Raycom’s backing will include bundling advertising across all screens and enabling PTA to leverage Raycom’s broadcast network to gets its series in front of TV audiences.  Raycom owns or provides services for 53 TV stations in 37 markets and 18 states.

“PTA provides a unique advantage in reaching consumers outside of the traditional living room or mobile devices audience,” said Joe Fiveash, Raycom’s corporate VP, digital media strategy and corporate development.

In addition to Delta and Roku, PTA’s programming can also currently be viewed on ClearTV’s network in airports and on the PTA site.

“As demonstrated by the recent strategic investment from Raycom Media and the added distribution platforms for our network, PTA and the OTT industry as a whole are growing at an incredibly rapid pace,” said PTA Networks founder and CEO Michael Shimbo, to whom Ayala and Fox report. “As we expand, it’s key that we continue to draw in top talent. Betsy and Billy are invaluable additions to the team.”

Shimbo launched PTA last year with marketing and design vet Theo McMurray, who serves as chief creative officer.

Before PTA, Shimbo led creative and strategy efforts within Apple’s iAd platform and served as the VP and general manager of digital content at Live Nation Entertainment before launching Concert.TV.

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