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SkyShowtime snaps up BBC Studios head as programming director

Jon Farar

Pan-European streamer SkyShowtime has appointed BBC Studios’ Jon Farrar as program director.

Farrar will be responsible for programming strategy, overseeing the pipeline of content from the Paramount- and Comcast-backed service’s partner studios, and establishing a programming team for SkyShowtime’s markets to develop original and local content. Farrar will also oversee acquisition, planning and editing, and content operations.

He’s taking on a role that will rival some of the biggest roles in Europe and will report directly to Monty Sarhan, CEO of the streamer, which is due to launch later this year.

Farrar comes to the position, which TBI said was exclusive last month, from BBC Studios, where he led BBC Select’s direct-to-consumer programming strategy in his dual roles as Global VOD Director and Editor-in-Chief. the BBC’s first-ever branded SVOD service in North America. He was also part of the team that developed BritBox, the streaming joint venture between BBC Studios and ITV.

First unveiled in mid-2021, SkyShowtime will bring TV, movies and original series from NBCUniversal (NBCU), Sky and Paramount to subscribers in 20 countries across Europe.

It targets markets beyond the reach of NBCU’s Sky, Paramount+ and Peacock – including Spain, the Nordics and a number of CEE countries – and will be led by former Comcast Cable executive Sarhan, who was appointed CEO in January.

Farrar described his new role as “the most exciting job in European streaming”.

Monty Sarhan

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Farrar’s appointment comes just days after SkyShowtime appointed Raquel Berzosa as Regional General Manager for Iberia. Joining NBCUniversal International Networks & DTCshe is responsible for expanding the service in Spain and Portugal.

Sarhan unveiled his leadership team in March, including the appointment of regional heads in CEE and Northern Europe.

Prior to Farrar, SkyShowtime had drawn its senior team from within: Henriette Petersen, former Paramount+ MD, was appointed regional GM for Northern Europe, and Gabor Harsanyi, also from Paramount, filled the same role in Central and Eastern Europe.

In other appointments to date, NBCU and Peacock executive Josh Snow have assumed the role of chief product officer (SkyShowtime is based on NBCU’s Peacock), while the Sky duo Francesca Pierce and Jen McAleer are CFO and chief brand officer, respectively. Fellow NBCU Richard Howard joined as chief marketing officer after being SVP of marketing for the US studio’s international reality steamer Hayu. Sky Group HR director Richard Thurston, meanwhile, has also been appointed as SkyShowtime’s chief human resources officer.

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