February 18, 2004 New York – World Picks, the preeminent provider of in-language, international on demand programming services and international programming networks, today announced the appointment of Thomas Free to the newly-created position of vice president of programming and scheduling. Mr. Free will be responsible for the acquisition of programming and oversight of scheduling strategies and implementation for World Picks services.
“Tom is widely recognized as an industry programming leader in both the U.S. and abroad, and we are thrilled to have him join our growing team of international experts,” said Cynthia Burnell, senior vice president and general manager of World Picks and IFC Digital Media. “World Picks is dedicated to providing the finest and most beloved foreign language programming in the industry and Tom will be key to helping us meet our programming needs.”
In his new position, Mr. Free will manage the acquisition of World Picks international programming by identifying target international networks, negotiating and executing a representation agreement with each, and maintaining the relationship over the course of the contracts. Mr. Free will report to Harold Gronenthal, vice president of programming and production for World Picks and IFC Digital Media.
“With more than 10 years experience in international programming, Tom has been a driving force behind a number of highly successful international ventures,” said Mr. Gronenthal. “His intimate knowledge of what viewers want, coupled with his seasoned ability to acquire high quality programming ensures that our diverse viewers will continue to experience the unmatched premium in-language programming World Picks exclusively offers.”
Prior to joining World Picks, Mr. Free served as managing director of Playboy TV Latin America and Iberia’s operations and expansions. There he developed and managed the brand, marketing, and sales efforts, and created local productions in various markets, generating brand extensions, publicity, and marketing opportunities for local distributors. In addition, he helped launch new premium television and broadband networks that generated incremental growth in annual revenues.
Before working for Playboy TV International, Mr. Free was vice president of programming for Sky Latin America, the largest direct-to-home programming service in Latin America marketed under the brand name Sky, and owned by Organizaç?es Globo, Grupo Televisa, The News Corporation Limited and Liberty. He was responsible for strategic development and acquisition of Programming for Sky branded DTH service, including identifying and acquired strategic programming rights, developing new programming opportunities, and identifying and executing joint programming ventures with partners in each market.
The World Picks services were unveiled in November of 2003 and are currently available on Cablevision’s iO digital cable service to local communities throughout the New York metro area. World Picks On Demand consists of four on-demand services (Latino, Hindi, Mandarin and Russian) and the World Picks Networks is an array of 13 international networks from around the world. Today’s announcement comes on the heels of another of the services’ senior team appointments; World Picks announced in late January the addition of BBC’s former Head of Marketing, Kate Carr, who serves as vice president of marketing for World Picks.
Rainbow Media continues to seek new programming options, and remains the clear industry leader in providing original on demand programming powered by the latest in cutting-edge entertainment technology. In recent years, Rainbow Media has launched a collection of high profile, content rich, on-demand programming services including Mag Rack, IFC Films On Demand, IFCi (interactive television), Uncensored On Demand, sportskool, Fuse On Demand and World Picks.
About World Picks
World Picks is World Picks On Demand, a collection of subscription video-on-demand services; and World Picks Networks, an array of international television networks. Each of the World Picks products offers a wide variety of language-specific programming including films, dramas, documentaries, telenovelas, performing arts, spiritual and children’s programming, and language instruction for English as a second language. World Picks On Demand programming is acquired specifically for these services and is exclusive to the World Picks service. World Picks is owned and operated by Rainbow Media Holdings LLC.
About Rainbow Media Holdings LLC
A leader in sports, news and entertainment programming, Rainbow Media Holdings LLC is a subsidiary of Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC). Rainbow Media owns and manages national networks: AMC, Fuse, IFC (The Independent Film Channel) and WE: Women’s Entertainment; as well as the on-demand services: Mag Rack, Uncensored On Demand, World Picks On Demand and World Picks Networks. Rainbow Media’s other businesses include its regional programming services – MetroChannels, News 12 Networks and Rainbow Sports Networks – in addition to the Rainbow Advertising Sales Corporation and Rainbow Network Communications. Rainbow Media is also a 50 percent partner in Fox Sports Net.