You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Samsung Hires Fan TV Founder Gilles BianRosa as Chief Product Officer for TV and Services

Samsung has hired Fan TV founder Gilles BianRosa as its new Senior Vice President and Chief Product Officer for Visual Display Content & Services. In its new role, BianRosa will be overseeing heading product for Samsung’s smart TVs and other connected home devices.

“There was no way I was going to pass up on this opportunity to shape the future of living room entertainment, given Samsung’s unparalleled scale and resources in connected platforms in the home,” BianRosa wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “TVs sit at an increasingly unique place in the ecosystem, given that they are the natural hub for all of our entertainment, whether we watch free or pay TV, or OTT apps.”

BianRosa is joining Samsung from TiVo, which acquired his Fan TV startup in late 2014 for $12 million. (This was before the TiVo-Rovi merger and rebranding, when the company was still known as Rovi.)

Fan TV started out with an app that aggregated content from online video services — a kind of TV Guide for the internet, if you will. But the company made an ambitious push to reinvent the TV viewing experience when it introduced a Yves Behar-designed set-top box in early 2013. Fan TV didn’t position its set-top box as a direct competitor to Roku or Apple TV, but instead pitched it to pay TV operators as a way to offer their customers an alternative to the old and tired cable box.

Cox ran a brief test of Fan TV’s hardware in Southern California in 2013, and Time Warner Cable signed on as an official partner in early 2014. But the operator never really promoted the device to its customers, and consumers had few reasons to make the switch, leading to dismal hardware sales. Rovi discontinued sales of the device a year ago, and has since focused Fan TV’s efforts on building apps for pay TV operators, while still maintaining its legacy mobile apps.

At Samsung, BianRosa will get to build products more directly for consumers again, but he’ll have to face other challenges. The company has in the past often struggled with short-term thinking, building ambitious media services and products, only to bail out soon after.

One example: Samsung acquired connected device startup Boxee in 2013, and used the team to build an ambitious next-generation smart TV that used a dedicated tablet as a remote control. But the product never launched, and Samsung ended up laying off much of Boxee’s staff two years later.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Bristol, CT - March 13, 2017

    Mina Kimes Helps ESPN Kick Off 'Daily' Podcast

    Mina Kimes is preparing to take ESPN into a new frontier. The sports-media giant has launched a “SportsCenter” for Snapchat and tested baseball telecasts for kids. Now it’s hoping to set up shop in another media venue. Starting tomorrow, the Disney-backed company launches “ESPN Daily,” a weekday morning podcast that aims to tap its vast [...]

  • Neilsons Measurment Problems TV Digital

    AT&T's Ad-Tech Unit Xandr Buys Clypd To Help Place TV Commercials More Precisely

    Xandr, the AT&T ad-technology unit, has purchased a new company that helps advertisers use data to place commercials in front of the audiences most likely to want to watch them The AT&T division said Friday it had acquired clypd, a company that helps advertisers move forward in a growing desire by Madison Avenue to run [...]

  • AT&T Logo Building

    AT&T TV Now Price Hike Coming Next Month, Base Package to Cost $65

    AT&T is instituting a substantial price hike for its live TV streaming service AT&T TV Now: Customers who have subscribed to the service’s basic “Plus” package will see their bill go up by $15, to a total of $65 per month, starting next month. The telco has started to inform existing subscribers about the price [...]

  • Disney-Family-Movies

    Disney Family Movies SVOD Service Is Shutting Down Ahead of Disney Plus Debut

    After 11 years, Disney is pulling the plug on Disney Family Movies On Demand — with the service’s shutdown coming just days before the launch of the Mouse House’s Disney Plus. Disney Family Movies, which cost between $5-$10 per month, has been available via pay-TV providers in the U.S., including Comcast Xfinity, Charter Communications, Verizon [...]

  • Amazon Orders ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham

    Amazon Orders ‘All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur’ Soccer Doc Series

    Amazon has greenlit a new “All or Nothing” sports documentary series, this time following London-based soccer team Tottenham Hotspur. “All or Nothing: Tottenham Hotspur” will follow a year in the life of the team, charting the ongoing 2019-20 season. The squad made it to the final of the European Champions League last year, losing to [...]

  • Jeffrey Katzenberg

    Jeffrey Katzenberg's Quibi Picks T-Mobile as Wireless Launch Partner

    Quibi, the short-form mobile TV service founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg, announced a pact with T-Mobile to be the official telecommunications partner for its April 2020 launch. T-Mobile will be the exclusive wireless distributor when Quibi launches next spring. However, the arrangement doesn’t mean only T-Mobile customers will be able to subscribe to Quibi: Anyone will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content