James Veraldi, a founding exec of multichannel network Fullscreen, has joined Snapchat as head of strategy and partnerships for the social service’s recently launched Discover media initiative, Variety has learned.
Veraldi, who joined Snapchat about a month ago, works on strategy and partnerships for Discover, a company rep confirmed. He reports to head of media Nick Bell. Veraldi, reached via email, referred inquiries to Snapchat’s PR team.
Snapchat’s snapping up of Veraldi is the latest move by the popular ephemeral-messaging service to expand into media distribution and original content. The Snapchat app’s Discover feature, which debuted in January, lets media companies serve up “stories” comprising any combination of video, images and text to an audience of 100 million-plus users. Those are available for up to 24 hours, whereas ordinary Snapchat messages disappear within 10 seconds after a user views them.
Snapchat Discover’s current media partners include CNN, ESPN, Comedy Central, Food Network, Vice Media and BuzzFeed. The four-year-old Venice, Calif.-based company has raised a whopping $1.2 billion in funding to date with a valuation reportedly north of $15 billion.
Snapchat’s other recent hires in the media space have included Marcus Wiley, previously co-head of comedy development at Fox Broadcasting, to run original content programming for the service’s Snap Channel, and former CNN national political correspondent Peter Hamby as head of news.
At Fullscreen, Veraldi had been senior VP of strategy and business development since the MCN’s inception in 2011. After departing late last year, he worked as an independent consultant to media companies and digital talent. Fullscreen was acquired by Otter Media, a joint venture of AT&T and the Chernin Group, in the fall of 2014. This past February, Fullscreen hired Damon Berger, co-founder of YouTube network What’s Trending and former digital marketing exec at 20th Century Fox, as VP of business development to replace Veraldi.
Before joining Fullscreen, Veraldi was head of business and creative development for branded-entertainment agency ZiZo Group. Veraldi also has produced traditional TV and film projects for studios including Disney, Paramount Pictures and Endgame Entertainment, with past stints at MTV Networks, Ripe Digital Entertainment and Target.
In 2013, Veraldi was among the first investors in interactive-video startup Fuisz Media, which last month announced $10 million in series A funding led by Evolution Media Partners.