Billy Wright has been named vp, worldwide wireless, Warner Bros. Online. Reporting directly to Jim Noonan, svp/gm, Warner Bros. Online, Wright will lead the company's Americas, Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) and Asia-Pacific (APAC) strategic mobile teams as they develop, produce, publish and market content, including wallpapers, video and games based on the studio's world-renowned brands. The group also works to develop promotional mobile content that raises awareness for upcoming studio projects. Currently based in London, Wright will relocate to Glendale, California, in the fall.
"Mobile publishing represents an area of tremendous opportunity for the Studio, both in terms of revenue and promotional visibility," said Kevin Tsujihara, evp, corporate business development and strategy, Warner Bros. Ent. "The mobile content and distribution channels our mobile team has put into place provide us with a powerful platform to showcase our upcoming films and television projects, as well as fully maximize the popularity of our evergreen brands such as Looney Tunes, DC Comics, Scooby-Doo and Harry Potter."
"Billy is a dynamic, results-oriented business leader with deep international experience," added Noonan. "His vision and hands-on experience make him the ideal executive to most advantageously exploit our potential in the mobile space. Bringing him on board solidifies our commitment to fully realizing the unique opportunities this market presents."
Wright's appointment comes on the heels of several significant mobile content deals brokered by Warner Bros. Online. In June, the company announced a distribution agreement with TOM Online, the leading wireless Internet company in China, as well as the launch of a "Looney Tunes and Friends" channel for Sprint PCS Vision customers in the U.S. These deals alone represent access to a potential user/customer base of more than 300 million people.
Since its formation in fall 2003, WBOL's wireless group has signed deals with all of the major mobile carriers throughout Europe, including Orange, T-Mobile and Vodafone, allowing it to distribute content to more than 350 million mobile subscribers in 27 countries throughout the EMEA region.
In the Asia-Pacific region, where in many cases mobile content is more popular than the Internet, WBOL has distribution deals covering Japan, South Korea, India, Malaysia, Taiwan, The Philippines, Australia and China. Additionally, in order to meet the high demand for mobile content, WBOL has launched a Warner Bros. Studios mobile portal in Japan that features subscription services for such popular properties as HARRY POTTER, BABY TWEETY, TOM & JERRY, SEX AND THE CITY and BATMAN.
The company has also built up a significant market presence throughout Latin America. Through partnerships with such companies as Motorola and Vivo, Warner Bros. Online is distributing content in such territories as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Columbia and Chile, among others.
Wright joins Warner Bros. Online from Orange, one of the world's leading telecommunications companies with a branded presence in 19 countries and a controlled customer base of 54 million people. His last role at Orange was group director of content, sponsorship and brand experience, where he was responsible for developing, driving adoption and securing financial return on the group's content and sponsorship roadmap. He successfully negotiated and implemented major partnerships with the world's leading film studios, music labels and sports rights holders. Most recently, he oversaw Orange Group's hugely successful exclusive partnership with Lucasfilm Ltd., which celebrated the STAR WARS saga, culminating in the theatrical release of EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH.
"Having worked with the leading entertainment companies, I know the Warner Bros. Online mobile team is among the industry's best," said Wright. "Warner Bros. is home to some of the world's most exciting and popular entertainment properties. With the wireless infrastructure they have put into place, I know we can create and distribute truly compelling content offerings."
Prior to joining Orange, Wright worked as a senior exec in a number of business strategy and change management roles across the telecoms and financial services sectors. He is a graduate of The Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst and served as a commissioned officer in the U.K. Armed Forces, where he received the Napier Award for outstanding service. Wright holds a First Class Honors Degree in Electronic and Electrical Engineering.
Warner Bros. Online (WBOL) (www.warnerbros.com) provides full-service interactive solutions for Warner Bros. Ent. subsidiaries and external clients alike. The company's digital production, marketing and wireless capabilities span more than 40 international markets throughout Europe, Asia and Latin America. WBOL also oversees all aspects of warnerbros.com, which serves as the entry point into, and aggregator of all things Warner Bros. Ent.