Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Doc Channel adds board chairman

Documentary Channel Founder-CEO Tom Neff (right) made clear in an interview this afternoon he doesn't care "whether it's a watch or a projection screen" he wants his Doc content to be available everywhere. He has a better shot at that after today's announcement that media entrepreneur and Nashville resident Jim Ackerman (left) has been named chairman of the 10-year-old venture's board of directors. Neff told us this afternoon that within 90 days the addition of Ackerman is likely to help attract further investment and help win more carriage among cable companies, telcos and other distributors, augmenting Documentary's sole existing alliance with Dish Network. Total subscribers ranges from 14 to 21 million across the schedule. Ackerman's Spinnaker Media is a Documentary investor, as well. Ackerman has over the years played lead roles with the UK's Sky Digital (BSkyB), and oversaw Sky Ventures' BSkyB’s alliances with Nickelodeon UK, Paramount Comedy Channel, QVC UK, The History Channel UK and The National Geographic Channel. He was also VP-International with A&E Television Networks and helped launch services in Latin America. Spinnaker also has stakes in Propeller Consulting, InternetSafety.Com and Famplosion! Ackerman has also served as CEO of OpenTV Corp, a provider of interactive TV technologies and services, and once served as the interim CEO of ClickStar Inc., a company founded by Intel and actor Morgan Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment. Jim Ridley's 2005 piece in Nashville Scene provided a great profile of the channel. Neff, age 54, said the channel has 18 fulltime staff, including offices in Nashville, LA and New York City. P.S.- The Documentary Channel will soon begin promoting its latest feature-length documentary, a history of the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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