SkyShowtime, the European streaming joint venture of Sky owner Comcast and Showtime owner Paramount Global, has appointed former Netflix executive Kai Finke as chief content officer, CEO Monty Sarhan unveiled on Monday.
Based in Amsterdam and reporting to Sarhan, Finke will lead the programming team, overseeing “the vast and growing scope of the department, following SkyShowtime’s entry into original programming this year,” the company said. He will be responsible for the streamer’s pipeline of partner studio entertainment, merchandising and scheduling, as well as its original programming slate and acquisitions.
Jon Farrar, a former BBC Studios executive who has served as head of programming at SkyShowtime, has decided to leave his role following a transition over the coming months, the company said.
At Netflix, Finke most recently served as a director of content across multiple European markets. He has worked in production, international distribution, and acquisitions for more than 20 years, including for Munich-based distributor Telepool and for telecom giant Vodafone.
“He has strong relationships with leading creatives, producers, distributors, and networks throughout Europe and a proven track record of bringing local-language entertainment to SkyShowtime markets as well as global audiences,” the company said.
SkyShowtime is available across 22 European markets, including the likes of Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, the Nordics, and Central and Eastern Europe.
SkyShowtime will end 2023 having launched 10 original series, including Bosé, Codename: Annika, Fleeting Lies, Poker Face, The Invisible Ladies, The Winner, and Warszawianka. “A key part of Finke’s focus will be to build on that success by bringing in new projects and acquisitions that resonate with local audiences across SkyShowtime’s markets,” the company said. “His mandate will also include working closely with SkyShowtime’s shareholders as well as leaders across the company to optimize subscriber acquisition, engagement, and retention.”
Sarhan said: “Kai is a proven programming executive who brings together strong creative sensibilities with business acumen. As we continue to expand into original programming, his wide range of experience — along with his knowledge of our markets — make him the ideal choice to lead our programming team in this next chapter of our growth.”
Finke said he was “hugely excited” about joining the streaming joint venture, adding: “SkyShowtime’s continued push into local programming, in addition to the global exclusive series and movies available from Paramount and NBCUniversal, make the service hugely compelling for both audiences and the creative industries across Europe.”