Lori Conkling is joining YouTube as global head of partnerships for YouTube TV and Google Fiber. She comes to YouTube from after six years at NBCUniversal, where she was EVP of strategy and business development focused on digital.
In her new role at YouTube, Conkling will lead programming and packaging strategies, including negotiating all content deals in the pay-TV ecosystem inclusive of broadcasters, cable networks, regional sports networks, and affiliates. She also will be a lead representative for YouTube TV to industry organizations and influencers, advertisers, distribution partners, and YouTube creators.
Conkling, who started at YouTube on March 11, is based in New York. She reports to Kelly Merryman, VP of content partnerships. Conkling takes over for Heather Moosnick, who left YouTube last fall to join Hulu as senior VP of content partnerships.
“We’re excited to welcome Lori to YouTube to lead content partnerships for YouTube TV and Google Fiber,” Merryman said in a statement. “Lori is an exceptional team leader and strategic thinker, and we’re looking forward to working with her as we continue to build the future of entertainment.”
At NBCU, Conkling oversaw NBCU’s digital investments, including in Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman’s Quibi and Zola, in addition to executing commercial deals that expanded the media conglomerate’s reach across the multiplatform ecosystem. Before joining NBCU in 2013, she led negotiations with pay-TV distributors for the Walt Disney Co., Lifetime Networks and A+E Networks. While at Disney, Conkling was instrumental in the launch of ESPNU, ESPN’s college sports network.
Conkling’s appointment comes on the heels of YouTube TV nationwide expansion across all U.S. markets earlier this year, after launching in April 2016 in five initial markets.
YouTube TV is priced at $40 per month, offering a lineup of over 60 networks that includes ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC (with all four available in over 90% of markets), plus cable networks like TNT, TBS, CNN, ESPN and FX. The service provides live and on-demand content viewable on smartphones, tablets, connected TVs and computers. The service offers a cloud DVR with no storage-space limits (with recordings stored for nine months), as well as up to six individual accounts per membership.
YouTube TV competes with conventional cable and satellite TV operators, as well as other services in the crowded OTT television space including Hulu With Live TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Dish Network’s Sling TV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue and FuboTV. The internet-TV providers have angled to win subscribers with cheaper pricing, more flexible bundle options and enhanced features.