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Refinery29 Hires MTV Vet Joanna Bomberg as Head of Talent (EXCLUSIVE)

Variety logo Variety 6/29/2017 Todd Spangler
© Provided by Variety

Refinery29, a digital media company focused on young female audiences, has hired Joanna Bomberg — who spent two decades at Viacom’s MTV — as senior VP and head of talent.

In the newly created role at Refinery29, Bomberg leads talent initiatives across video and editorial programming and live events, overseeing the company’s talent division, Here & Now.

Bomberg most recently was senior VP of MTV’s music and talent department. While at the MTV, she was part of the leadership team that managed creative direction and production of several of its biggest franchises including the MTV Video Music Awards, MTV Movie Awards, Unplugged, MTV documentaries, and the Artist to Watch campaign.

“We are forming meaningful partnerships with talent that aligns with Refinery29’s overall mission and drives inspiration and entertainment to our viewers,” Justin Stefano, co-founder and co-CEO of Refinery29, said in announcing Bomberg’s hire. “Joanna’s experience and relationships will be a great asset as we continue to expand.”

Based at the company’s New York headquarters, Bomberg reports to chief content officer Amy Emmerich, who joined the company two and a half years ago. Bomberg had been doing strategy consulting work since leaving MTV in November 2015, including with Refinery29. The company brought her on full-time as head of talent effective June 21.

Bomberg’s charter at Refinery29 will be to integrate traditional celebrity talent — from music, television, film and other domains — as well as digital talent directly into short and long-form programming. She also will work with Refinery29’s commercial talent division to augment the role of celebrity talent in the branded-content space across live events, appearances, casting, content creation and product collaboration.

“I was a fan of the brand to begin with – I really enjoy and respect their content,” Bomberg said in an interview. “I was hoping for this opportunity.”

Refinery29, has struck partnerships with talent including Willow Smith, Kesha, Zosia Mamet, Gabourey Sidibe, Jenn Im, Evan Rachel Wood and Sasheer Zamata. “They focus so much on highlighting these powerful women in front and behind the camera,” Bomberg said. “The company offers such a wide range of opportunities to work with talent.”

The company, whose investors include Turner, Scripps Networks Interactive, and Hearst, also recently announced a partnership with WME as part of expanding its focus on development of originals and long-form video. Refinery29’s L.A. office now has 40 employees following SVP of global video strategy Stone Roberts’ relocation and the recent hire of Erica Winograd as VP of West Coast development.

Previous campaigns executed by Refinery29’s Here & Now unit have included partnerships with Keds and Smashbox, as well as more than 900 influencer bookings across branded programs in 2016 (up from 600 in 2015).

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