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MLB, Disney Tap Amazon’s Michael Paull as CEO of BAMTech Streaming Venture

Variety logo Variety 2/21/2017 Todd Spangler
© Provided by Variety

Michael Paull has been named chief executive officer of BAMTech, the video-streaming company owned by MLB Advanced Media, the Walt Disney Co. and the NHL.

Paull most recently was VP of digital video at Amazon, overseeing the Amazon Channels initiative worldwide and global content, product, technology, operations and marketing.

Paull will start in March as CEO of BAMTech and report directly to the BAMTech board. He’ll be relocating to New York City from the Seattle area. Disney has made a $1 billion investment in the company, giving it a 33% stake in BAMTech.

BAMTech had been overseen by Bob Bowman, CEO of MLBAM, before he stepped away from day-to-day management last year following Disney’s investment.

Currently, BAMTech operates direct-to-consumer streaming services that collectively have 7.5 million total global paid subscribers. Those include the league’s MLB.TV, as well as HBO Now, WWE Network, and services from the NHL and the PGA Tour. BAMTech also teamed with Discovery Communications to form BAMTech Europe to expand into Europe, and entered into a multiyear deal with Riot Games to launch new “League of Legends” eSports content.

Disney sees BAMTech as giving it entree into the world of over-the-top streaming services, as the pay-TV sector softens. When it announced the investment, the Mouse House said it planned to launch an ESPN-branded multi-sport subscription streaming service by the end of 2016, but that hasn’t come to fruition.

“Michael is a talented and accomplished executive who shares our collective vision for BAMTech as it aggressively explores new means to acquire and distribute video content,” Major League Baseball commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. said in a statement. “We are confident Michael will deliver on the incredible potential and promise this venture has for building powerful viewing experiences for its clients and their customers.”

Paull joined Amazon in 2012 and during his tenure with the ecommerce giant he oversaw the launch of Prime Video and Amazon’s transactional VOD business in the U.S., as well as the development of Prime Music. He previously held senior leadership positions with Sony Pictures Entertainment, Sony Music Entertainment, Fox Entertainment Group and Time Warner.

Paull, in a statement provided by MLBAM, said, “The team at BAMTech has created a best in class over-the-top video streaming platform allowing them to develop innovative solutions for their customers. I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with this highly accomplished team and want to thank Major League Baseball and the Walt Disney Company for this exciting opportunity.”

Paull holds a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Riverside.

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