SBJ/Dec. 20-26, 2010/This Week's Issue

NHL hires TWC exec to drive distribution for league channel

One of Time Warner Cable’s top programming executives is joining the NHL at the beginning of the year to help drive distribution for the league’s cable network, NHL executives confirmed last week.

David Proper will become the NHL’s executive vice president of media strategies and distribution, where he will report to the league’s chief operating officer, John Collins. The NHL Network’s current senior vice president of distribution, Jody Shapiro, will report to Proper.

He has spent the past 3 1/2 years as vice president of programming at Time Warner Cable, the country’s second biggest cable operator. During that time, Proper was instrumental in cutting carriage deals with cable and broadcast networks such as ESPN and Fox.

Before joining Time Warner Cable, Proper spent a decade as the NFL’s senior counsel.

He becomes the latest in a long line of former NFL executives who have joined Collins at the NHL. Collins, who worked at the NFL in two stints between 1989 and 2004, hired Charles Coplin from the NFL in September to be executive vice president of content.

Previously, Collins hired Keith Wachtel from the NFL to be senior vice president of integrated sales and marketing. Other former NFL executives on Collins’ staff include Don Renzulli, senior vice president of events, and Perry Cooper, senior vice president of direct and digital marketing.

Proper comes to the NHL as the league looks to expand its media businesses. Coplin is handling NHL Network’s on-air look; Proper will head up its affiliate sales and marketing. He also will be responsible for its international media distribution.

NHL Network is in about 40 million homes. Distributors pay, on average, 35 cents a subscriber a month for it, according to figures from SNL Kagan.

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