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Skarpi Hedinsson Named CTO of Disney|ABC TV Group

LOS ANGELES—Skarpi Hedinsson has been promoted to the position of chief technology officer for Disney|ABC Television Group, reporting into John Frelinghuysen, executive vice president Digital Media, Strategy & Business Development.

In this role, Hedinsson is responsible for developing and implementing advanced technology strategies and solutions to power the group’s consumer- and business-facing products and services. This includes a focus on the use, optimization and replenishment of current technology solutions, as well as an expanded responsibility for forward-looking digital technologies. He will partner with Renu Thomas, the newly appointed executive vice president of Media Operations, Engineering and IT.

A spokesperson at Disney said that although Hedisson is being named CTO—a title formerly held by Vince Roberts— the promotions mark “a shift in the CTO role to more forward-looking digital technologies...” Hedinsoon will collaborate with Thomas, who is the “highest ranking technology executive at the company.” (See “Renu Thomas Steps Into Vince Roberts' Role at Disney.”)

“Skarpi and his team have been responsible for some of the most innovative digital media products, not just at our company but within the industry at large,” said Frelinghuysen said. “His forward thinking and technical expertise have helped position Disney|ABC Television Group as a leader in the ever-changing digital landscape.”

“I’m looking forward to the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead as we continue to grow our product offerings for viewers, as well as our distribution and advertising partners,” said Hedinsson.

Most recently, Mr. Hedinsson served as senior vice president, Technology & Platform, Digital Media, where he was responsible for managing technology and platform-product development for the Group’s network sites and innovative apps. His team deployed the groundbreaking WATCH ABC, WATCH Disney and WATCH ABC Family services making the Disney|ABC Television Group the first to provide authenticated viewers with access to both live, 24/7 linear broadcast network streams, as well as an extensive offering of advantaged window “on demand” episodes on desktop, mobile and connected TV devices. The services offer non-authenticated viewers access to recent popular episodes.

Prior to launching the WATCH services, Mr. Hedinsson and team designed and built the Emmy Award-winning Full Episode Player for and the critically acclaimed ABC Player App for iOS devices, both industry defining when they launched for being first to make full episodes of ABC Network primetime, daytime, and late-night programing available to viewers on their respective platforms. The ABC Player app, now WATCH ABC, is one of the Top 20 most downloaded iPad apps of all time in the US.

Mr. Hedinsson joined The Walt Disney Company in 1998 working in Seattle, Washington for ESPN. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Washington, Seattle.

Over the course of his career, he has proven to be a tireless innovator. He is the inventor or co-inventor of seven US patents in the field of digital media and streaming video.