SBC Staffs Up for IPTV

SBC Communications Inc. is turning to several direct-broadcast satellite and cable veterans to help the telco crack the video business.

The company announced six hires for its programming unit on Tuesday, including DirecTV Inc. veterans Chris Lauricella, Richard Wellerstein and Richard Levine.

SBC also said it had hired former Intertainer Inc. executive Amy Friedlander to oversee advanced products and new media.

The regional Bell operating company -- which said it would begin offering video service under the “U-verse” brand by early 2006 -- didn’t release official titles for the new executives.

SBC said Lauricella -- who was director of programming acquisitions and managed relationships with professional sports leagues at DirecTV -- would handle sports programming.

Wellerstein -- a veteran of DirecTV, In Demand Networks and Sony Pictures Television -- will focus on video-on-demand, the telco added.

Levine, another DirecTV veteran, will lead local programming and broadcast-retransmission deals, SBC said.

Former Roll Strategy consultant Martin Samsung will concentrate on content strategy and new media, according to the telco.

And nine-year SBC veteran Denita Willoughby has also been assigned to the programming unit, where she will concentrate on ethnic and emerging networks, SBC said.

All of the executives will report to executive vice president of programming Dan York, who worked at In Demand before joining SBC last year.