Kara Swisher

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Former MySpace and NFL Digital Exec Jeff Berman Tapped as President of Hollywood’s BermanBraun

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Longtime digital exec Jeff Berman is joining Hollywood production company BermanBraun as its first president.

Berman — who is no relation to BermanBraun co-founder Gail Berman — comes to the firm from the National Football League where he has been in charge of its Web, mobile, social and non-console gaming efforts. While there, he worked on several new initiatives, such as its multi-party video chat for Fantasy Football.

Several years before that, he was a top exec at social networking site Myspace, finally ending up as president of sales and marketing, where he was in charge of branded advertising, sales operations, entertainment, content and marketing. Efforts there by Berman included the now defunct Web-only series “Quarterlife,” which also had a very short life on a major network.

The Yale Law School grad was also on the board of Buddy Media, which was sold to Salesforce.com last year.

He’s an interesting person, then, for BermanBraun, which focuses on content across multiple screens, including big branded Web sites such as Wonderwall for Microsoft’s MSN and also more traditional entertainment shows. Its juicy-looking television series “Deception,” for example, is set to appear on NBC this week. It now has about 130 employees, mostly working at its Santa Monica, Calif., HQ.

“We needed an exceptional leader to manage the company,” said BermanBraun co-founder Lloyd Braun, who was once a top media exec at Yahoo. “And Jeff is someone who has skillsets in a whole bunch of areas and an emotional intelligence that is as important to what we do.”

Braun said Berman would initially focus on his area of expertise — digital — but that he would become more involved in the television and movie arenas over time.

BermanBraun — which considered raising funding last year — is at an interesting juncture in its development, trying to form a new kind of independent Hollywood media company that straddles analog and digital.

Berman said he was attracted to the opportunity there.

“I had a great job, since there is nothing bigger than the NFL,” he said in an interview yesterday. “But Lloyd and Gail have an incredible vision across platforms for entertainment.”

He added that content was just at the beginning of development online, but was finally poised to explode with the popularity of tablets, smartphones, interactive TV and other such devices, as well as social and e-commerce tools.

“The mind reels, there is so much that has happened and can happen,” said Berman. “I don’t know if there is a better time to be at such a place to create these new franchises — [BermanBraun] is a laboratory, where stuff is actually working.”

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”