Starz Promotes Darren Nielson to EVP of International Networks

Starz's Darren Nielson
Darren Nielson (Image credit: Starz)

Starz has promoted global SVOD executive Darren Nielson to the position of executive VP of international networks, replacing departing Starz International Networks president Superna Kalle.

In his new position, Nielson will oversee growth for the division’s newly rebranded international service Lionsgate Plus, formerly Starzplay International. Nielson, who will report to Starz president and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch, will oversee all aspects of programming, distribution, marketing and publicity for the service in the United Kingdom, Latin America and Brazil, Canada and Australia.

In his previous position as executive VP, international business development and partnerships, Nielson had worked with Kalle to develop expansion strategies, identify and evaluate partner opportunities and source and negotiate distribution agreements with in-territory partners. Prior to joining Starz, Nielson served as director of content acquisition at Netflix, helping grow the service from a domestic DVD business into a global leader in streaming video.

Kalle will remain with Starz through March before pursuing new opportunities, said network officials.

“Darren has been instrumental in building our international business working with Superna since joining the company in 2018. He has a deep knowledge of the global streaming landscape and is a respected strategic executive,” Hirsch said in a statement. “We look forward to maximizing growth and profitability of our international markets under his leadership. Superna did a great job in rapidly scaling an international service from the ground up, forming many new distribution partnerships and building a robust slate of international original series. We are grateful for her leadership and dedication to the company and wish her continued success.” ■

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.