In the new role, Brown will report directly to Jacqueline Parkes, chief marketing officer and executive VP of digital studios for MTV, VH1, CMT and Logo. Brown will work closely with Viacom Digital Studios, headed by Kelly Day, to develop and produce content for the brands.
Brown left Bleacher Report at the end of 2018. Most recently, he had been president of BR for the past three years, overseeing content, product, social media, and programming including the House of Highlights hoops-focused Instagram brand. He first joined Bleacher Report in 2008, prior to its acquisition by Turner in 2012. During his 10 years with BR, Brown helped it grow from a 13-person team with 2 million monthly unique visitors to more than 1 billion monthly social interactions and more than 450 employees worldwide.
“Rory understood the cultural power of sports and broadened its definition beyond scores and stats to transform Bleacher Report into the definitive brand for a whole new generation of fans,” said Chris McCarthy, president of MTV’s group of brands.
Brown exited Bleacher Report prior to word that CEO and co-founder Dave Finocchio is also set to leave this summer. Turner Sports has named Howard Mittman, previously chief revenue officer and CMO, to take over for Finocchio.
In a statement provided by Viacom, Brown commented, “I grew up with MTV, and it’s a huge part of my DNA.” He added, “I’m beyond excited to work with Jacqueline, Chris McCarthy and all of the talented people on the team leading the resurgence of these iconic brands.”
Under Brown’s leadership, Bleacher Report had grown to be the No. 1 brand among sports networks in social engagement, according to ListenFirst Media. He oversaw many of the original series and initiatives at Bleacher Report, including “Game of Zones,” “The Champions” and “No Script With Marshawn Lynch.” He also served on the House of Highlights board of directors, directly managing the team and helping guide strategy for the brand.
“Rory has a powerful vision for how to connect with audiences where they live, on their terms and across platforms, and he made the closely guarded world of sports work for millennials and Gen Z in a way that legacy brands never could,” Parkes said in announcing his hire. “With 250 million followers, MTV is the biggest youth media brand on social media, and we’re very excited to see what Rory creates for our fans across our massive footprint.”