Starz promotes Cooke, Nielson
January 12, 2022
Superna Kalle, President of International Networks for Starz, has announced the promotions of Darren Nielson to Executive Vice President of Distribution and Business Development and Jeff Cooke to Senior Vice President of Programming for International Networks.“These are two well-deserved promotions that recognize Darren and Jeff’s invaluable and integral contributions to the success of Starzplay since our launch more than three years ago,” said Kalle. “Darren has achieved major success in expanding our partner & territory reach to more than 60 countries around the globe and Jeff has built an incredible track record developing and managing the success of our strong and curated slate of scripted global programming.”
Based in the company’s Santa Monica office, Nielson has been leading the international distribution and business development for the Starz-branded digital and linear services and channels, working closely with Kalle to develop expansion strategies, identify and evaluate partner opportunities, and source and negotiate distribution agreements with in-territory partners since he joined the company in 2018.Over the past three years, Nielson has launched the Starzplay SVoD service across Canada, Latin America and Europe, structuring deals and managing partnerships with global OTT platforms, including Amazon and Apple along with leading local/regional Pay TV providers and telcos, such as Telefonica, Orange, Virgin, Claro, and Vodafone and the top consumer electronic devices such as Fire TV, Roku and more. Prior to joining STARZ, Nielson served as director of content acquisition at Netflix, helping grow the service from a domestic DVD business into a global leader in streaming video. Nielson was instrumental in launching and building Netflix across Europe and Asia and managed global licensing relationships with major studios and local partners across both film and TV series. Prior to Netflix, Nielson held business development positions at Sony Pictures Television and Ascent Media.
Since joining STARZ in 2018, Cooke has overseen programming for the international expansion of the STARZ direct-to-consumer subscription service Starzplay to new global markets. He has defined and implemented the content strategies across all international territories and identified key programming initiatives through data insights and analytics and recently led the charge of the company’s foray into local language original series.
Cooke has overseen the development and production of Starzplay’s slate of Spanish language original series launching on the platform in 2022 from top notch production companies including Fabula, Bambu, Mediapro and Spiral.Also based in the Santa Monica office, Cooke has curated content that defines the Starz brand in each region while capitalising on global trends and strategies. Cooke previously served as Vice President of Global Digital at Lionsgate. Prior to Lionsgate, he held positions at Miramax and MGM.