George Strompolos, founder and CEO of Fullscreen, is stepping down as chief exec to move into an advisory role, a move coming after AT&T’s deal to secure full ownership of Fullscreen parent Otter Media.
Strompolos founded Fullscreen in January 2011 as one of the original YouTube multichannel networks that aggregated the channels of thousands of creators.
In a memo to Fullscreen employees Friday, Strompolos wrote that he will be moving into an adviser role to Fullscreen and Otter Media. Fullscreen staff will continue to report into Otter Media COO Andy Forssell.
“After spending some time away from work and reflecting on my own personal journey, I have decided that now is the right time for me to step down as CEO,” Strompolos wrote.
Fullscreen sold a majority stake to AT&T and Chernin Group in 2014, in what would become their Otter Media digital-video joint venture. AT&T acquired Chernin Group’s controlling stake in Otter Media in June.
Since becoming part of AT&T/TCG’s Otter Media, Fullscreen has undergone a series of significant shifts. It made a significant investment in a subscription VOD service, launched in April 2016, targeted at millennials and stocked with original shows. But Fullscreen pulled the plug on it at the end of 2017 after the SVOD service failed to gain traction.
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Today, Fullscreen is primarily an influencer marketing and branded-content agency, according to Otter Media CEO Tony Goncalves, speaking at Variety‘s Entertainment and Tech Summit in L.A. on Thursday. Where Fullscreen once had as many as 75,000 creator partners three years ago, it now counts 4,500, according to AT&T.
Prior to launching Fullscreen, Strompolos worked at Google’s YouTube for more than six years, where he co-created the YouTube partnership program.
Read Strompolos’ memo to Fullscreen staff:
After spending some time away from work and reflecting on my own personal journey, I have decided that now is the right time for me to step down as CEO. Tomorrow I will be transitioning into an Advisor role to Fullscreen and Otter Media. Fullscreen will continue to report into Otter’s COO, Andy Forssell.
Building Fullscreen has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. We knew early on that online video, the smartphone and social media would change the world. Together we built a first-of-its-kind company that empowers a diverse spectrum of creative voices and redefines how brands approach their marketing in the modern era. I will never forget the friendships, the late night sessions, the challenges, the wins, the work, the laughs we’ve had and the culture we built. Thank you.
My hope is that I have instilled a real spirit of creativity, relentlessness and innovation here that will continue forward in each of you for years to come. We have a deep bench of leaders who reflect these values and will ensure that the future of Fullscreen remains bright. I look forward to supporting this team as an Advisor going forward.
Please join me at All-Hands today where I will speak more about this transition and we will hear from Tony Goncalves and Andy Forssell.