Televisa USA, the U.S. arm of the Mexican media giant, has tapped international sales vet Chris Philip to head its production and distribution operations.
The deal calls for Philip, who previously ran the Sierra/Engine Television banner, to package and sell projects to U.S. buyers and spearhead global sales of Televisa USA projects. Televisa USA has a compelling pitch to U.S. buyers with its vast archive of content and the fact that it has the resources to fully deficit-finance projects, Philips said.
The parent company has stepped up its English-language sales efforts in the U.S. during the past few years under the direction of Televisa USA managing director Paul Presburger. Philip will work closely with Televisa USA chief creative officer Michael Garcia and chief of operations and business affairs Ryan Likes. He reports to Presburger.
“Bringing Chris into the fold is a smart deal all the way around. We gain a first-rate executive producer and international TV executive who will provide us with access to his many pre-existing, high-profile development and distribution projects,” Presburger said. “This will allow us to become a key contributor to our parent company’s leading global distribution business.”
Philip will continue to serve as CEO of Engine Entertainment, which will function as a production entity within Televisa USA. With his exec appointment, Engine gains Televisa USA’s backing for three projects that are being shopped to buyers at present: “Tag Team,” a buddy cop drama eyed for firstrun syndication; “Parker,” a crime thriller based on Donald Westlake’s series of novels; and music competition series “Coliseum,” co-created by Gene Simmons.
Philips got to know Presburger when the former was an exec at NBCUniversal International Television and worked on Televisa output deals. The offer to sign on as an exec and inhouse producer was irresistible given that Televisa USA offers financing and compelling co-production partnership opportunities.
“The competitive advantage that Televisa has in the marketplace in the U.S. is reaching the Hispanic market — the Latin flavor of the (library) shows will attract U.S. Hispanics,” he said.
Televisa USA at present has two shows airing in the U.S., both based on library formats: ABC Family’s “Chasing Life” and Lifetime’s “Devious Maids.”