I serve as Managing Director of FDM Azerbaijan LLC and Azerbaijan International Film Company, (since September 2014), a new digital media and production center, based in Baku, specializing in original digital/broadcast content, with plans to build-out a state-of-the-art digital broadcast platform.
Prior to moving to Baku, I served as the Director of Development for Global Agency, a leading distributor specializing in the development of successful scripted and non-scripted hit formats and series licensed in the United States and in over 55 countries.
Before joining Global Agency, and for two years, from 2010-2012, I was based in Kabul, Afghanistan, holding the position of Group CEO of a start-up diversified media company, groupOne media and 1TV, which includes a major private, commercial broadcast channel, now ranked in a virtual tie with another broadcaster in the country. Before being recruited, the television station was ranked #5. The group also consists of television studio productions, an advertising and branding company and strategic communications unit. In the course of the 20 months, I’ve directed the rebranding and re-engineering of the operations, developed the skill sets of the managers and staff, enhancing new revenue-producing original and acquired content, entertainment, news and current affairs, which are highly-acclaimed.
Previously, I served as General Manager of another start-up, a Persian-language news and information channel based in Washington, D.C., transmitted by satellite and the Internet worldwide.
As President and Principal of FMI Media, I’ve provided management and creative development for the following:
– NYC Media – I developed and guided their original program creative and content distribution of original series for syndication.
– In the Middle East for a major multimedia production company, developing a start-up multi-platform entertainment-based news gathering service on TV, Web, Mobile, Print and Text.
– In Bucharest, Romania for Kanal D, a national commercial channel, owned by Turkey’s leading media company, Dogan Media Holding, I had developed and designed the company’s re-organization and broadcast plan. This has included re-designing the workflow and systems for all departments including programming, branding/marketing, news and advertising sales in order to create operating efficiencies.
– In Istanbul, I had directed a re-engineering project for the TGRT News Channel, a Turkish digital cable and satellite news channel. According to AGB Nielsen data, the channel is tied in second place among news channels.
Additionally, I’ve also provided strategic consultation for a program distributor exploring the international markets.
As President of TV Puls, a News Corporation investment, from February, 2007 through March, 2008, I successfully directed and managed the build-out of a new national, commercial channel in Warsaw, Poland. We created a new state-of- the-art HD-ready broadcast facility in 6-months. I supervised the staffing of key management and staff in all departments with over 200 personnel. We hired over 100 personnel to start a news department from scratch. We’ve used the latest advancements in technology for three daily newscasts.
Revenues increased by 40% in 3-month’s time, following the October 28, 2007 launch. We enjoyed increases of 75% in the key demos with the new channel format.
From 2003 – 2006, I guided the development, planning and management from the launch to day-to-day operations of Alhurra Television (“The Free One” in Arabic). Alhurra is a 24/7 pan-regional, all digital satellite-delivered news and information-based network.
Alhurra began broadcasting on February 14, 2004, to Arabic speaking countries in 22 countries and territories. Alhurra reaches over 28 million viewers.
Two months later, I led the creation of Alhurra Iraq, a 24/7 satellite and terrestrial-delivered news and information channel for the people of Iraq.
Alhurra Europe launched in August 2006, reaching Arabic speaking viewers throughout Europe.
My responsibilities at the network I helped found, included development and management of all content (news, information, acquired documentaries and lifestyle), production, network operations, branding, marketing, finance and human resources.
From February 2001 – August 2003, I held the position of Group COO for MediaCorp. I directed the management of the television group (6 channels). This included the network’s ad sales and marketing, programming, news, branding and business strategies. After over 2 years of competition, the strategy resulted in the retention of more than 78% share of the TV advertising market, and a 78% share of the audience. After 3 years, the competition, chose to leave the television sector, and concentrate only on print.
In its second year with MediaCorp, the company announced an after tax net-profit of S$134.4 million (US$78.5 million), all during the challenges of the SARS virus, regional terrorism and economic recession. MediaCorp is SE Asia’s largest and most successful broadcaster.
I founded FMI Media in September 1997. This was my first stop in Turkey – from 1997 – 2000. I successfully guided the re-launching, re-branding and repositioning of TGRT TV Turkey, a national commercial broadcast network. I developed the strategy for the “new” TGRT, which quickly became one of the leading major national television channels in the nation, with compelling dramas, contemporary entertainment and variety shows, and hard-hitting newscasts including a 2-hour breakfast newscast, lunchtime half-hour, 5pm half hour, one hour main news at 7pm and late news at 11:30pm.
For the Ihlas News Agency (IHA), the country’s largest broadcast video news service and Ihlas’s Internet portal, we repositioned the businesses to make them more effective and attractive to advisers and consumers. Ihlas subsequently sold the TGRT broadcast channel to News Corp for $98.5 million to concentrate on IHA and the development of the TGRT News Channel on cable and satellite.
In Europe: I also provided consulting services for SBS Broadcasting, one of Europe’s largest private broadcasters. We provided the structural repositioning and feasibility studies of the group’s content for their national channels in the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark and Hungary.
In Russia: I was asked to guide the repositioning of Russia’s StoryFirst Communications’ CTC Network, one of the leading private broadcasters.
I provided the due diligence and business planning for a Romanian media company to expand into television on behalf of the TV Strategy Group.
Prior to forming FMI Media, I was Managing Director of The Movie Channel Middle East, a pan-regional, satellite- delivered pay TV service based in London, then owned by Viacom, from September 1996 – September 1997 for the pre-and post-launch phases.
I held the position of SVP/Managing Director-UK for Time Warner International Broadcasting/HBO International, in London and New York from 1993 – 1996. I was responsible for the development of new broadcast and cable TV business initiatives in Western Europe’s major markets, including Channel 5 England, and operations for new businesses; and the launch of Germany’s first private local television station, 1A TV in Berlin-Brandenburg, where I was also based.
In 1992 and 1993, I was named Director of Operations to manage the development, successful launch and the daily management of TV6 Moscow. The channel quickly achieved a 10% audience share. This was Russia’s first privately-held television channel, co-owned by Turner Broadcasting.
Before moving into international markets in 1992, I was the VP/Programming at Superstation WWOR-TV in New York City. During the 1980s and early 1990s, we pioneered many innovative program forms, including the development of original content in daytime and prime-time. Re-launched as Universal 9, the station was owned by MCA, then the parent company of Universal Studios.
I served as VP, Programming for Seltel, Inc., a leading New York-based television national station advertising representative, and senior program management positions for TV stations owned by Taft Broadcasting Company, in Washington, D.C., Miami, Florida and Buffalo, New York.