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Willner's Penthera Hires Melani Griffith As EVP

Back when she was SVP of programming and video product at Insight Communications, Melani Griffith knew she’d be on the phone constantly with the CEO, Michael Willner, between Christmas and New Year’s, closing deals with networks.

So, even though she left Insight after the cable company was sold to Time Warner Cable a year ago, Griffith still gave Willner a call on New Year’s Eve. “Just to say hello,” she laughed.

Those check-ins will come a lot more frequently now that she’s going back to work for Willner.

As of this week, Griffith’s new job title is executive vice president of business development at Penthera Partners, which is based in New York City and Pittsburgh.

Willner is CEO there. And John Coughlan, a former finance VP at Insight, is chief financial officer.

Alumni ties weren’t the only reason Griffith, who stayed busy raising 2-and-a-half-year-old twin girls, chose this opportunity to return to the work force.

“I’m a career woman and a mother,” she told Multichannel News in a phone interview.

In her career, she spent that last seven years doing programming deals and trying to create the best possible video experience. Penthera’s “Cache and Carry” product, which delivers HD video to Apple and Android mobile devices, “really would have helped Insight be so cutting edge and so relevant and so cool in the TV everywhere space.”

As a mother, living in Canada, geographically far away from other family members, Penthera’s Ribit product would allow her to upload smartphone videos of her kids securely to the cloud. “My mom would then get [an email] saying, hey click on this link, and then she’s pulling it down from the cloud. So it’s just a very elegant way to receive content.”

Penthera is and will be talking to multichannel video providers about offering Ribit as a brandable, “sticky” product to their customers, she said.

“Melani is the right person for the right job at exactly the right time,” Willner said in a statement. “She brings a wide spectrum of experience including video product management, affiliate sales, content acquisition and advertising sales. Given our focus on mobile video software, she is the perfect person to discuss our products with our distribution and programming network partners.”

Griffith said she’ll work from her home base in Montreal, near her husband’s work. But as when she was at Insight, “I’m where you need me when you need me. That’s my mantra.”

(A version of this story appears in this week's Through the Wire column in Multichannel News.)

Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News. He got his bachelor's degree at Pace University in Westchester County, N.Y.