You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

WarnerMedia Sets New Distribution Chiefs for HBO, HBO Max and Turner Channels

WarnerMedia has tapped company veterans Sofia Chang and Rich Warren to oversee distribution for HBO, the nascent HBO Max streaming service and the Turner channels.

The appointments of Chang and Warren as president of WarnerMedia Distribution come as part of the continuing shakeup of HBO and Turner operations following AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner last year.

In March, former Turner International chief Gerhard Zeiler was promoted to WarnerMedia chief revenue officer and president of WarnerMedia International Networks. Chang and Warren report to Zeiler. The two will be tasked with garnering digital and linear distribution partners for the nascent HBO Max streaming service, targeted for debut next spring.

“We will have two hugely experienced leaders who know our business inside out,” Zeiler said. “Over the last few months I have worked closely with both; Sofia’s experience and success in driving HBO’s digital subscriptions has been of great value as I have looked to understand the U.S. HBO business in greater depth and detail, and Rich has brought his strategic skills to the table as we have sought this way forward. Working together both will provide the strategy and direction needed to enable future growth.”

Chang has been with HBO since 2000, most recently serving as exec VP of global digital distribution for HBO. Warren was previously head of distribution for Turner. He’s been with the company for 19 years.

Here’s Zeiler’s full memo announcing Chang and Warren’s appointments:


Earlier this year I informed you about the interim structure we would be working with and I promised to keep you updated about the upcoming organizational changes. Meanwhile, you have seen announcements for our ad sales unit and for our international business. Today I can tell you how we will work in US distribution.
I am pleased to announce that Sofia Chang and Rich Warren will lead our distribution business, each as President, WarnerMedia Distribution. Both will oversee all Turner channels, HBO, Cinemax, and HBO Max.

While Sofia and Rich will work very closely together in all areas, Sofia will especially focus on partnership management and marketing while Rich will have a stronger focus on distribution deals, business & legal affairs, strategic and financial planning, operations and business development.

Sofia and I have worked closely together over the last few months and I’ve found her to be a fantastic support as I have looked to understand the US HBO business in greater depth and detail. I look forward to continuing to work with her.

Sofia has a wealth of experience across the HBO distribution business. She has held several positions in the company since joining HBO in 2000. She has led the transactional digital and physical distribution of HBO and Cinemax programs worldwide and since 2015, she has been responsible for distributing HBO and Cinemax subscription services on all digital platforms. Through her leadership, she has delivered unparalleled results on HBO’s digital subscription business.

Rich and I have worked closely together over the last few months as well and, like Sofia, he has lived up to his reputation of providing fantastic support and leadership. He is transparent, strategic and possesses razor sharp negotiation skills – great strengths to bring to this role. I am delighted that he has accepted the position.

Rich has been at the company for 19 years and has led Turner’s distribution team, where he was responsible for the company’s multiplatform distribution of linear networks, digital brands and on-demand content, affiliate marketing, business development, strategic planning and business and legal affairs. He has been key to the growth and success of Turner’s content distribution with both our traditional and digital partners.

Reporting into Sofia will be Jennifer Mirgorod, EVP Partnership Management and Kristen O’Malley, EVP Partner Marketing. Reporting into Rich will be Joe Bahr, SVP Business Development & Partner Operations, Brandt Haynes, EVP Distribution Business Planning /Strategy & Operations, Scott Miller, EVP Legal & Business Affairs and Donna Northington, EVP Distribution Financial Planning & Strategy. Donna also reports into Trey Turner, EVP and Chief Financial Officer, WarnerMedia Sales & International; Scott also reports into Melissa Roper Barnett, EVP and General Counsel, WarnerMedia Sales & International.

Bringing together the distribution business is a further example of how we will be collaborating and working as one company. Historically, the two companies on the distribution side, HBO and Turner, have handled their business in isolation from each other. As we look to meet the challenges of the industry head on, this new structure brings together what belongs together. These hugely experienced leaders, both of whom have been with the company for almost two decades, and respective teams will be continuing their careers with WarnerMedia, working together in their close collaboration.

Please join me in congratulating Sofia, Rich and their teams!

Best regards,

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers

    Samsung Makes Bid to Keep Viewers From Skipping Fox Ad Breaks

    Fox is hoping to knit together the seconds-long divide between a TV program and the commercials that support it. During ad breaks for a few football broadcasts, tomorrow’s run of the Emmys and Wednesday’s season premiere of “The Masked Singer,” the network will kick off ad sessions with special show promos that display artistic renderings [...]

  • Patria

    HBO Europe Unveils ‘Patria’ Footage to Captive San Sebastian Audience

    SAN SEBASTIAN — Amid large expectation, HBO Europe has revealed first footage giving a first sense of tone and pace of its Spanish original series “Patria.” A packed-to-overflowing press conference on Saturday morning at the San Sebastian Festival can be read as one sign of the potential popularity of the eight-part series. The panel sneak-peek [...]

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

  • ABC Studios Logo

    ABC Studios Head of Alternative Fernando Hernandez Exits

    ABC Studios’ head of alternative Fernando Hernandez has departed from his post at the Disney-owned television studio, a source familiar with the situation told Variety. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news. Hernandez’s exit follows an executive shuffling at the top in recent months that has included the departure of Amy Hartwick, ABC Studio’s head [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

  • TV Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville'

    TV News Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville' Role in 'Arrowverse' Crossover

    In today’s TV news roundup, Erica Durance reprises her “Smallville” role in the CW’s annual “Arrowverse” crossover, and Showtime shares with Variety an exclusive sneak peek at the return of “The Circus.” FIRST LOOKS “2020 is the most important election of our lifetime,” Alex Wagner says in a new trailer for the fourth season of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content