×

Samsung Guts Media Services Unit, Multiple Execs Gone (EXCLUSIVE)

Samsung is cutting its losses on media: The company’s Media Services Center America unit  has seen significant layoffs in recent weeks, and a number of key execs are gone as well, Variety has learned from multiple sources.

Among the MSCA execs axed are bizdev SVP Steve Stanford, content and services SVP Darren Tsui, VP Ed Ho, and content and services VP and GM Ian Langridge.

Tsui and Ho both joined Samsung as part of the acquisition of mSpot, a music services provider. Both initially ran Samsung’s music download business, and were subsequently put in charge of Milk Music, the company’s Pandora-like streaming service.

A Samsung spokesperson declined to comment on those specific departures. “We don’t comment on personnel matters,” she said via email. “We will continue to refine our strategy and invest in content services.”

A few years back, Samsung had big plans for its media services. After launching Milk Music in early 2014, the company followed up with a mobile video aggregation service dubbed Milk Video.

Samsung’s U.S.-based MSCA team had plans to further expand its Milk-branded line of services into sports and other content categories, but the company’s leadership in Korea had other ideas: It shuttered Milk Video in September of 2015. Milk Music has been on a lifeline for some time after significant staff reductions.

Popular on Variety

At one point, Samsung also talked to Jay Z’s Tidal as it explored how to compete with Spotify and Apple Music, but the company publicly denied any plans to acquire Tidal in March.

It’s not entirely clear what the new cuts at MSCA mean for the future of media at Samsung. One possibility is that the company is going to focus more on partnerships, as opposed to running its own services.

It’s also likely that Samsung is going to exert more direct control over media services and relationships from Korea — with one key exception: Samsung’s Gear VR virtual reality headset has been a surprise hit, and its Milk VR service seems to be exempt from any of the current cuts.

More Digital

  • Logan Paul Ninja Spree

    How Logan Paul and Ninja Helped 'Spree' Cast Capture Influencer Culture Gone Wild

    When it came to depicting the gonzo nature of influencer culture, “Spree” stars Joe Keery and Sasheer Zamata and director Eugene Kotlyarenko did a deep dive into the haves and have-nots of the internet. “Spree,” which premiered Friday at Sundance Film Festival, follows a rideshare driver named Kurt Kunkle (Keery) who will stop at nothing [...]

  • Activision-Blizzard-Overwatch-League-Grand-Finals-2018

    YouTube Scores Exclusive Streaming for Activision Blizzard's E-Sports, Including Overwatch and Call of Duty Leagues

    YouTube landed a multiyear deal as the exclusive live-streaming partner for Activision Blizzard’s e-sports events worldwide, including Overwatch League, Call of Duty League, Hearthstone Esports. The agreement (which excludes China) promises to give a big boost to YouTube Gaming, the video giant’s dedicated home for all things related to games. It’s also a loss for [...]

  • Grammy Moments Brandi Carlile John Legend

    What's a Grammy Moment Worth? Brandi Carlile, John Legend, Label Execs Weigh In

    In simpler times, an artist could see album sales spike to over 500,000 in the days after a Grammy Awards broadcast appearance. That was Santana’s experience in 2000. Following a performance on the show and eight Grammy wins, “Supernatural” flew off the shelves — a gold certification from one key look. Today, that seems downright [...]

  • Netflix-logo-N-icon

    Netflix Sets Up Italian Office in Rome (EXCLUSIVE)

    After opening its doors in Paris last week, Netflix is setting up an office in Rome, Variety can reveal. The streaming giant has confirmed that it will move its Italian team, which is now based in Amsterdam, to new offices in the Italian capital, where they are currently seeking a space. The process will take [...]

  • Jill Dickerson - Snap

    Snap Taps OWN's Jill Dickerson to Lead Unscripted Programming

    Jill Dickerson has left OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network after more than a decade to join Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, as a senior member of the Snap Originals team. A seasoned reality TV exec, Dickerson will help lead the development of Snap’s docu-series and unscripted programming and is based at the company’s Santa [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content