Funimation Leans Into Content & Technology With Executive Hires
[Culver City, CA – January 16, 2020] Funimation, SPT's leading global anime business, today announced two key additions to senior management. Asa Suehira, formerly Vice President of International Business Development for Aniplex, has been named Chief Content Officer. In addition, Kaliel Roberts, most recently Senior Vice President of Product & Technology at Discovery Communications, has joined as Funimation's Chief Product Officer. The executives, who report to Funimation GM Colin Decker, will be based at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, CA.
“Asa and Kaliel bring unparalleled expertise, leadership and depth to our growing business. In his 20+ year career in the anime industry, Asa has had a long track record of connecting creators, producers and studios in Japan with a global audience of fans across all platforms,” said Decker. “As our streaming service continues to grow at an increased rate, having a best-in-class product experience across all platforms is one of the most critical ways we serve anime fans around the world. Kaliel has overseen significant scale video products, and we couldn't be more excited to have her talent and leadership at Funimation to take us to the next level.”
In his new role, Asa Suehira will oversee all aspects of content investment, acquisition and partnership across streaming, home entertainment, licensing, theatrical, gaming and merchandising. While he is based in Los Angeles, Asa will spend a great deal of time in Tokyo working with the industry and expanding Funimation's business with the many great partners who have worked with the business over the last 25 years.
Previously at Sony Music Entertainment Japan (SMEJ), Suehira has held a variety of roles at SMEJ's anime business, Aniplex. Most recently, he was VP of International Business Development, where he oversaw international sales of Aniplex's series in Europe and the Middle East, supervised distributor's marketing, publicity and advertising efforts in each region and negotiated live-action rights with Hollywood studios. From 2015 to 2019, Suehira was Executive Director of Wakanim, Managing Director of Peppermint and a board member of both businesses. He was also instrumental in starting the Aniplex of America office in Santa Monica, CA in 2005.
Kaliel Roberts joins Funimation as the company's first Chief Product Officer, overseeing the strategy and execution of all product and technology for the business. In this role, she is responsible for user experience and will work to ensure that the fan-first values of the brand are reflected throughout its many touchpoints.
As a pioneer in technology-driven businesses that combine content and community, Roberts has held product roles at a variety of media companies including Discovery Communications, Yahoo! and Current TV. Most recently, she was Senior Vice President of Product & Technology at Discovery Communications. In that capacity, Roberts oversaw digital strategy, product management, operations, engineering, data science and design for the largest pay-TV programmer in the world. In 2015, Cynopsis named her one of its Top Women in Digital. Prior to that, she advised on US media and OTT investments for Virgin. Roberts started her career in tech as a software engineer at CNET Networks in 1996.
This has been a time of brisk growth for Funimation. In September, it was announced that Funimation has combined with Aniplex's anime streaming businesses, Wakanim and Madman Anime Group, under Decker's leadership. Then, in November, the business brought on four new senior executives in the areas of marketing and licensing.
Funimation, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Television, is a global leader in the world of anime. A fully integrated, next-generation entertainment studio, the company's fan-first philosophy is anchored in its omnichannel approach to its immersive offerings. From streaming and home entertainment to theatrical distribution and broadcast, Funimation's commitment to character-driven storytelling, combined with tech innovation and key distribution partnerships, provides audiences with multiple and meaningful touchpoints to connect with this immersive world. Funimation's next generation streaming service provides subscribers with instant access to their favorite sub and dub shows in ad-free HD on the widest array of platforms – including smartphones, tablets, TVs and gaming consoles. Funimation Films, the theatrical division of Funimation, acquires and distributes both anime and live action movies from prominent international filmmakers that appeal to the interests and passion of all types of fans. For more information about Funimation, visit funimation.com.
About Sony Pictures Television
Sony Pictures Television (SPT) is one of the television industry's leading content providers, producing, distributing and carrying programming worldwide in every genre and for every platform. In addition to managing one of the industry's largest libraries of award-winning feature films, television shows and formats, SPT is home to a thriving global content business, operating 24 wholly-owned or joint-venture production companies in 12 countries, as well as linear and digital channels around the world. Sony Pictures Television is a Sony Pictures Entertainment Company.
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