The Young Turks Hires Ex-Fullscreen Exec Chris Puckett to Head Sales (Exclusive)

The Young Turks Network has recruited Chris Puckett, formerly of BuzzFeed and Fullscreen, as the first advertising sales executive in the news-focused digital media company’s 10-year-plus history.

Puckett started at TYT on Jan. 4 as VP of advertising and brand partnerships, based in New York. He reports to The Young Turks chief marketing officer Praveen Singh.

Most recently, Puckett was Fullsceen’s East Coast director of brand partnerships and sales, working with clients including Mondelez, Pepsi, American Express, Warner Bros. and Dell. Previously, he was head of sales at BuzzFeed, where he was also the first salesperson hired by the company. Puckett also has worked in sales at Facebook and Google.

“We’ve been focused for years on building audience and content, but we haven’t really focused on ad sales — we’ve let YouTube do the heavy lifting,” TYT Network COO Steve Oh said. “We think Chris is the right guy… He knows how to sell content that is broad and sometimes edgy.”

TYT largely has relied on video ads sold by YouTube and also sells monthly subscriptions. With Puckett’s hiring, the company plans to sell more direct advertising as well as integrated brand partnerships. Oh said TYT hopes to have a sales team of 6-10 by the end of 2016, led by Puckett.

TYT’s branded-content deals will feature the company’s talent, including founder Cenk Uygur, in segments endorsing sponsors’ products and services. For a news organization, Oh acknowledged, there’s a legitimate concern that reporters might be seen as compromising their integrity by appearing in ads. But he says TYT has been careful to not violate the trust it has with viewers. “We are extremely honest with the audience,” he said. “We never pretend (sponsored content) is news coverage.”

Another recent TYT hire is Jordan Chariton, former media reporter for TheWrap, who joined in December as lead reporter for the 2016 political campaign season.

TYT Network, based in Culver City, Calif., has about 60 employees. The company was founded in 2002 and began posting video on YouTube in 2005. On YouTube, The Young Turks Network generates more than 3 billion total views across its channels, including over 100 million views monthly for the flagship The Young Turks show.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Gabrielle Carteris

    SAG-AFTRA Urges Gavin Newsom to Sign Law Punishing 'Deep Fake' Videos

    SAG-AFTRA National Executive Director David White is urging Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign legislation that institutes penalties for nonconsensual digital sexually explicit videos, also known as “deep fakes.” The legislation, Assembly Bill 602, targets companies and individuals who create and distribute the videos in California without the consent of the individual being depicted. “We urge Gov. [...]

  • Facebook Portal logo

    Facebook Is Launching a Portal TV Device: Here’s What We Know

    Facebook is getting ready to launch a TV streaming device in time for the holiday season, Variety has been able to confirm with multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans. The new streaming hardware will be part of the company’s Portal family of devices, featuring a camera, and combining video chatting with TV viewing and [...]

  • MoviePass card

    MoviePass Shuts Down, With Parent Company Citing Failure to Raise Funds

    MoviePass, the long-struggling theater subscription service, finally appears to be down for the count. On Friday, MoviePass notified remaining subscribers that it would be shutting down the service effective Sept. 14, 2019, because “its efforts to recapitalize MoviePass have not been successful to date,” parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics announced. “The company is continuing [...]

  • Disney Plus - Full Lineup

    How to Browse the Disney Plus Catalog the Company Is Testing in the Netherlands

    Disney began testing its Disney Plus streaming service in the Netherlands this week. Consumers in the U.S. will have to wait until November 12 to get access to the service, but European streaming aggregator JustWatch already makes it possible to browse the catalog available during this beta test. JustWatch is one of a number of [...]

  • JoJo Siwa'The Angry Birds Movie 2'

    Nickelodeon Star JoJo Siwa Gets Her Own Dance-Tour Mobile Game (EXCLUSIVE)

    Fans of JoJo Siwa will be able to join the teen influencer’s dance squad on stage — virtually — in a new mobile game. In “JoJo Siwa — Live to Dance,” players will become part of the Nickelodon and YouTube star’s worldwide tour on her professional dance team and experience what it’s like to be [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content