Executives Appointed for Joint Venture 3D Channel

LOS ANGELES: Two executives have been tapped to help spearhead the 3D joint venture between Sony, Discovery Communications and IMAX. Julia Rao has been named chief financial officer and Mark Ringwald is the new director of scheduling and acquisitions. The announcement was made by joint venture president and CEO, Tom Cosgrove. The triad announced in January the development of a 24/7 3D channel for Discovery to launch next year.

“Julia and Mark bring extensive industry experience and incredible enthusiasm to our fast-growing 3D team,” Cosgrove said in a prepared statement. “By leveraging the unmatched strength and expertise of Sony, Discovery and IMAX, we will establish this network as the leader in 3D with the most extensive library of original and exclusive high-quality 3D content available anywhere.”

As CFO, Rao is responsible for strategic planning, financial analysis and budgeting for the joint venture, including forecasting and analysis of all revenue and expenses relating to advertising sales, affiliate sales, programming, marketing, communications, research and staffing.

Rao previously served as CFO for several Discovery U.S. networks, including Animal Planet, Planet Green, Discovery Health and FitTV. She also served as senior director for the network portfolio comprised of Discovery Channel, Science Channel, Military Channel and Investigation Discovery, where she managed program investments for nearly 1,000 hours of original content. Before joining Discovery, Rao served in consulting capacities at The World Bank and National Science Foundation. She received her MBA from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.

As director of scheduling and acquisitions, Ringwald will oversee scheduling and programming strategy for the joint venture, including long-form and short-form program acquisition and long-term programming and scheduling strategy. Most recently, he was vice president of programming for AmericanLife TV Network, a basic cable family-themed network available in over 13 million U.S. homes. He also produced and directed educational programming and documentaries for Educational Television Services. Ringwald is a graduate of Texas Tech University