With Levin’s appointment, Rooster Teeth co-founder and former CEO Matt Hullum is moving into a newly created role as chief content officer. He will work with Levin to oversee all creative and content operations, including Rooster Teeth Studios, at the fandom-focused digital media, events, ecommerce and games company.
In addition, Rooster Teeth co-founders Geoff Ramsey and Burnie Burns are taking on new roles. Burns, previously RT’s chief creative officer, is shifting to an executive producer role to lead high-profile projects across the company. Ramsey will get expanded oversight as executive creative director, leading strategic creative direction for Rooster Teeth’s direct-to-consumer businesses and collaborating with Rooster Teeth Studios.
Levin will report to Tom Pickett, CEO of Otter Media’s Ellation group, which encompasses Rooster Teeth, Crunchyroll and VRV after a restructuring late last year (following AT&T’s buyout of Otter from Chernin Group).
“Today’s announcements are a reflection of our commitment and confidence in Rooster Teeth and its value inside the WarnerMedia portfolio,” Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media, said in a statement. “With Jordan at the helm, the founders are enabled to focus on the creative pipeline and expand on the market-leading franchises Rooster Teeth is known for.”
The changes come on the heels of Austin-based Rooster Teeth axing 13% of its staff, or around 50 employees. Hullum, in a Sept. 12 internal memo, said RT managers “adjusted their teams to meet the needs of our future.”
In a statement Tuesday, Hullum said, “Leading Rooster Teeth has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. Despite an ever-changing industry and an ongoing series of acquisitions and integrations, we managed to grow the company to more than 10 times the size it was when I began as CEO just over seven years ago. It’s been an incredible ride, and now I’m beyond excited to be returning to the creative work that inspired me to want to co-found Rooster Teeth in the first place.”
Rooster Teeth Studios head of development Ryan P. Hall will continue in his current role. The company also announced promotions and expanded duties for several other execs:
- Luis Medina, SVP of partnerships and strategy, will now oversee operations and strategic partnerships for Rooster Teeth’s family of direct-to-consumer digital brands including Achievement Hunter, Funhaus, the Roost, and other content for Rooster Teeth’s membership site and YouTube network.
- Doreen Copeland, former head of live action, will now serve as VP, head of production operations for Rooster Teeth Studios.
- Barbara Dunkelman, previously director of social and community marketing, will now serve as creative director for Rooster Teeth’s Direct comedic content, including RT Shorts and RT Life.
Levin most recently was CEO of Awesomeness, the youth-skewing digital studio and network behind projects including Netflix film “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” and Hulu’s critically acclaimed “PEN15.” He exited the company after Viacom acquired Awesomeness, which was previously jointly owned by Comcast’s NBCUniversal, Verizon and Hearst.
Before joining Awesomeness in 2017, Levin was the NFL’s first chief content officer and briefly served as GM of Microsoft’s now-defunct Xbox Entertainment Studios. In 2005, Levin founded Generate, a studio and talent management company he sold to Alloy Digital; he served as president of the new entity, before it merged with Break Media formed Defy Media in 2013.
In 1994, Levin joined the WB Television Network (now the CW) as part of its founding executive team, eventually climbing the ranks to become the youngest network CEO in broadcast TV history before stepping down a year later in 2004. Prior to the WB, he worked at Disney’s TV studio as a creative exec.
Rooster Teeth was founded in founded in 2003 — before the birth of YouTube — by Burns, Hullum, Ramsey, Gus Sorola and Joel Heyman. RT has cultivated a loyal and active fanbase. Original productions include the long-running “Red vs. Blue” sci-fi spoof; “RWBY,” the first Western anime-style series to be distributed in Japan; and animated mecha series “Gen:Lock,” with Michael B. Jordan voicing the lead role. Rooster Teeth Studios also has content deals with HBO Max, Netflix, Cartoon Network, Discovery and Outlier Society, as well as partnerships with Hasbro, WarnerMedia’s ELeague, Scholastic, DC, and Warner Bros. Consumer Products.
On its website, Rooster Teeth counts 3 million registered community members and the company sells a subscription-streaming service called First. It also operates RTX, series of annual gaming and internet conventions, a game-publishing division, and a merchandise arm.
“Over the past 16 years, Matt, Burnie, Geoff and Gus have built a world-class entertainment company amidst a turbulent marketplace engaging a fervent community of fans through a diverse portfolio of successful, entrepreneurial businesses,” Levin said in a statement. “I’m grateful to be returning to both Austin, which has been my family’s second home, as well as the WarnerMedia family, to realize Rooster Teeth’s ambitions of producing more content in more places to reach and expand its community wherever they are and will be.”
Levin, a member of the Directors Guild of America, made his directorial debut in 2004 on an episode of Greg Berlanti’s “Everwood” on the WB. He also won a trio of Emmy Awards as an executive producer on three NFL productions and is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Levin is past chairman of NATPE, former president of the Hollywood Radio & Television Society and serves on the boards of other industry organizations.