Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Exclusive: Google Gets a Content Guy–Netflix Veteran Robert Kyncl

Google (GOOG) wants to get into your living room, but it would help if it could show up with some TV shows and movies in hand. Here’s the guy who’s supposed to make that happen: Robert Kyncl, formerly a top Netflix emissary to Hollywood.

Kyncl left Netflix (NFLX) last week and will become Google’s VP of Content Partnerships, tasked with landing TV and movie deals, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Netflix spokesman Steve Swasey confirmed that Kyncl has left the company. A Google spokesman gave this nonstatement: “We don’t discuss individual hires, however we’re continuing to invest heavily in people and are recruiting top talent across the company.”

(Which is true! See: Google’s endless string of acquisitions, plus something you can’t see–rich counteroffers to Google employees who say they’re considering heading to a competitors.)

You can see why Kyncl would appeal to Google: He’s been at Netflix for seven years, and in that time Netflix has gone from one of Hollywood’s least-liked companies to one the studios are happy, or at least willing, to deal with. See, for instance, the the giant Epix deal Kyncl helped engineer last month.

And Google needs someone who can talk to Hollywood and big media companies; many of the folks who have done that work for it in the past have moved on, including Jordan Hoffner (IAC), Dave Eun (AOL) and Tim Armstrong (AOL, too).


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald