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[August 26, 2014]
Former Dreamworks exec to lead Tribune Digital Ventures, Gracenote [Chicago Tribune :: ]
(Chicago Tribune (IL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 26--Tribune Media Co. has named John Batter as chief executive officer of Gracenote, where he will lead day-to-day operations of the music metadata business.
Batter will also succeed Shashi Seth at the helm of Tribune Digital Ventures, the broader technology unit housing Gracenote, the company confirmed Tuesday.
Batter will begin his new role on Sept. 2, reporting to Peter Liguori, president and chief executive officer of Tribune Media. Seth has decided to leave the company, executives said.
"As we look to develop and grow our metadata business, we decided to bring in a CEO with strong operational experience to lead this effort globally," Liguori said in a statement issued late Monday night. "John's strong digital experience in on-demand streaming services and video games combined with his studio experience make him a terrific fit to lead Gracenote into the future." The former president of production at DreamWorks Animation, Batter was most recently CEO of M-GO, a digital movie and TV streaming service created as a joint venture between DreamWorks Animation and Technicolor.
Seth, a former Yahoo senior executive, was named inaugural president of Tribune Digital Ventures in May 2013. Based in California's Silicon Valley, the standalone unit was created to develop digital products for Chicago-based Tribune Co., which was renamed Tribune Media after spinning off its newspaper business this month.
In February, Tribune Digital Ventures expanded with the $170 million acquisition of music metadata company Gracenote from Sony Corp. of America. The following month, the division rolled out Newsbeat, a mobile app providing audio streaming of newspaper stories.
In a memo to Tribune Media employees Tuesday, Liguori said metadata will be the focus going forward for Tribune Digital Ventures.
"As a company, we have decided to focus our digital investment strategy on growing our metadata business globally," Liguori said.
Liguori also confirmed that Seth, who had run Gracenote on an interim basis after the departure of former CEO Stephen White in May, was leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.
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