By Evan DeSimone
Otter Media, the digital video joint venture launched by AT&T and The Chernin Group, has promoted Sarah Harden to president.
Harden’s move to president is an internal promotion. She has served as EVP of strategy and investments at Otter since it launched in 2014. Prior to joining Otter, Harden spent two years as EVP of The Chernin Group. She has also held senior business development roles at both Fox Networks and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
“Sarah has been integral to Otter Media’s rapid development and success since formation,” said Chernin Group president Jesse Jacobs in a statement. “She has successfully led a wide range of activities spanning M&A, operations, strategy and day-to-day execution. She has been a wonderful and effective partner, and I look forward to continuing our work to further develop and grow all of Otter’s OTT businesses.”
In her capacity as EVP of The Chernin Group, Harden played a key role in the formation of Otter Media with AT&T, spearheading the company’s acquisition of anime streaming SVOD service Crunchyroll, which is currently one of the most successful components of Otter’s digital video empire. She has focused largely on executive structure within the company and on M&A for some of its constituent parts. She was also a key player in Otter’s acquisition of multi-channel network Fullscreen, was instrumental in Fullscreen’s subsequent acquisitions of Austin-based digital content studio Rooster Teeth and social media creative agency McBeard.
The elevation of an experienced M&A specialist like Harden may signal a new phase for Otter Media, which has been quietly building a video empire, largely on the back of its strongest performer, Crunchyroll. With Harden at the helm, it’s possible that 2016 will see movement on seemingly stalled projects like the launch of Otter’s umbrella video service, Ellation.