×

Serialized-Fiction Startup Serial Box Taps NBCU Cable Exec Jeff Li as COO

Serial Box has hired Jeff Li, a 12-year veteran of NBCUniversal who most recently oversaw business development for USA Network, Syfy and Chiller, as chief operating officer.

Li, based in the serialized-fiction startup’s New York headquarters, reports to co-founder and CEO Molly Barton. Li is tasked with growing Serial Box’s catalog and developing new digital partnerships with film, TV, and digital studios.

“Jeff clearly sees the opportunity to deliver book content in bite-size, smartphone-friendly doses and I couldn’t be happier to announce that he’s accepted the role as our new COO,” said Barton, who founded Serial Box in September 2015 with Julian Yap.

Serial Box describes its model as akin to TV — new “episodes” (aka chapters) of its serialized stories are released every week, in “seasons” that typically run for 10-16 weeks. The first chapter is free; subsequent episodes cost $1.99 each or users can buy a season pass at an average price of $13.99. The episodes also are available in audio format.

As head of ventures at NBCUniversal Entertainment Networks, Li was responsible for launching and growing new businesses for USA, Syfy and Chiller. While at NBCU, he launched Syfy Films and Chiller Films and led a number of digital entertainment initiatives, including running Syfy’s video-game publishing efforts and inking video distribution deals with over-the-top platforms. Li was also responsible for the growth of the networks’ merchandising and book-publishing efforts for franchises like “Sharknado.”

He also served as VP of corporate strategy and development at NBCU and was involved in a variety of M&A, financing, and business-development deals including those related to Hulu; Comcast’s acquisition of NBCU; ShopNBC; and Peacock Equity Fund. Prior to joining NBCU, Li headed business development at cable network startup Casino and Gaming Television, and he worked at Sony Pictures and Ascent Media.

Li commented, “With a unique platform that offers high-quality, dual-format content in a pay-as-you-go model, Serial Box is well-positioned to bring reading and audio entertainment to the masses. Additionally, publishers and studios have a new partner that will extend their content to fresh audiences in innovative ways.”

New York-based Serial Box raised an initial round of $1.6 million last year with investments from Boat Rocker Media and angel investors including Richard Sarnoff, former chairman of Bertlesmann, and Mattias Lundgren, CEO of Sweden’s Word Audio Publishing.

More Digital

  • FaceApp is displayed on an iPhone,

    SAG-AFTRA Warns Members About FaceApp Terms of Use

    SAG-AFTRA is warning its 160,000 members about the “overreaching and invasive” terms of use for the FaceApp mobile application. FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. The app can be used to make users appear older, younger, or change gender. The terms include [...]

  • J. Cole

    Apple Music Launches 'Rap Life' Playlist

    Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture [...]

  • Billie Eilish

    ARRI, Mobile TV Group Back New Venture Revitalizing Streamed Concerts

    A new venture looking to bring a fresh approach to live-streaming concerts has gotten the backing of hardware heavyweights ARRI and Mobile TV Group. Wide+Close is launching with the mandate of shooting music performances with film cameras and cinematographers in order to give the content a more cinematic feel. “We want to take concert filming [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Plans to Expand to Brazil, Other Countries (EXCLUSIVE)

    Roku plans to expand to multiple new territories in the coming months, Variety has learned. One of the first new markets for the company will likely be Brazil. An international expansion could help Roku grow its customer base, which in turn should lead to growing advertising revenues. Roku executives have been hinting at plans to [...]

  • Google Stadia Pro to Include 1

    Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Service to Include Free Monthly Game

    Google has been busy sharing additional details about its upcoming game streaming service Stadia, clearing up some confusion in the process. Stadia’s pro subscription tier, which will cost $10 per month, won’t be a Netflix-type subscription service. However, subscribers will get free games at the rate of about a title per month. That’s according to [...]

  • Crypt-TV-Facebook

    Facebook Signs Deal With Crypt TV for Slate of Five Horror Series

    Crypt TV, the digital studio founded by Eli Roth and Jack Davis and backed by Jason Blum, expanded its deal with Facebook, inking a content partnership to create a slate of five horror and monster-themed series exclusively for Facebook Watch. For Facebook Watch, it’s one of the first deals for a full slate of content [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content