Epix has hired Jonathan Dakss, formerly head of NBCUniversal’s Media Labs, as chief digital officer.
His hiring comes after Epix’s former chief digital officer, Emil Rensing, was arrested in April on charges that he stole more than $8 million from the premium cabler, which is owned by Viacom, MGM and Lionsgate. Epix said Rensing was fired in August 2015.
Dakss will be based in New York, reporting to Rob Sussman, GM and executive VP of business operations and strategy. Dakss oversees the premium network’s digital products and collaborations with distribution partners.
“Jonathan’s experience developing new revenue-generating products and business solutions at digital powerhouse NBCUniversal will be a great asset to the Epix team,” Sussman said in announcing his hire.
Epix has been at the forefront of TV Everywhere distribution, laying claim to being the first cable network to launch on Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Roku and Android devices. But unlike HBO and Showtime, Epix has not chosen to launch a direct-to-consumer service that cuts out pay-TV distributors from the equation.
At NBCU, Dakss led a cross-functional team at Media Labs, the company’s tech-innovation incubator, where he oversaw initiatives including virtual reality and 360-degree video, social TV and second-screen experiences, advanced content discovery and metadata usage, and real-time video caption translation. Previously, he served leadership roles at NBCU in converged media, emerging media technology, and interactive media product development. He first joined NBCU in 2005.
In 1999, Dakss founded interactive TV software company WatchPoint Media, based on technology he created at the MIT Media Lab. WatchPoint was acquired in 2003 by GoldPocket Interactive, where Dakss served as VP of technology and distribution and launched digital-video products on Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Dish Network and Cablevision Systems.