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Fox Amps Up Immersive Business With FoxNext, Taps Salil Mehta

Variety logo Variety 1/18/2017 Dave McNary
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Veteran Fox executive Salil Mehta has been named president of the studio’s newly created FoxNext division that will work on its immersive businesses across Twentieth Century Fox Film and Fox Networks Group.

He will oversee video gaming, location-based entertainment, virtual and augmented reality productions. The studio is aiming to drive the company’s next-generation storytelling experiences.

Mehta joined Fox in 2013 and most recently served as president of content management for Twentieth Century Fox Film. He will begin his new role immediately, and report jointly to Peter Rice, Chairman and CEO of Fox Networks Group, and Stacey Snider, Chairman and CEO of Twentieth Century Fox Film.

FoxNext will oversee the production of studio franchise virtual reality experiences, such as the already announced “Alien” and “Planet of the Apes.”  FoxNext will also combine the efforts of the video gaming groups responsible for “The Simpsons: Tapped Out” mobile game and the “Alien: Isolation” console/PC game into one new interactive unit.

FoxNext will also oversee location-based entertainment business including the development of the 20th Century Fox World theme park in Malaysia.

“We’re excited by the power of new technologies to drive the art of storytelling forward and we know we’ve only scratched the surface,” Rice said. “Salil brings a strategic business vision and a deep understanding of new technologies allowing us to expand our creative capabilities.”

Snider said in a statement, “Extending our storytelling to new platforms in new ways is a constant focus for us as we look to build more touch points with consumers every day. Building on the momentum we’ve already seen in this area via the Fox Innovation Lab, FoxNext represents a natural next step in defining our long-term vision in this arena, and Salil is quite simply the perfect executive to build this group into what we know will be an industry leader.”

The Fox Innovation Lab launched the company’s first commercial VR endeavor, “The Martian VR Experience.” FoxNext will also work closely on film studio projects with an advisory board consisting of executives Ted Gagliano, David Greenbaum and Mike Dunn.

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