The Business of Future TV conference, 2020, is taking place at the H Club in London on the 29th and 30th of January. These are our speakers and panellists (in order of appearance):

Kauser Kanji — VOD Professional

Kauser Kanji has been working in online video since 2005 and is a former senior exec at NBCUniversal, Virgin Media, Trinity Mirror and the British news broadcaster, ITN. He started writing about the industry in 2011 to help demystify the jargon and explain how vendor solutions could be used to develop, market and monetise OTT services. Since then, Kanji has completed consultancy projects, and written scores of reports and whitepapers, for clients including Netflix, the BBC, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Akamai, TiVo and a range of national and international broadcasters, service-providers and suppliers. 


Ben Keen, Analyst & Advisor

Ben Keen is an independent analyst and board-level advisor in the Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) space. He has 30 years of experience helping companies and investors make better-informed decisions based on a data-driven understanding of the future. 

Current interests include serving as Non-Executive Chairman of TV drama consultancy MediaXchange, Strategic Advisor to immersive entertainment research firm Greenlight Insights, Senior Advisor to start-up accelerator Match-Maker Ventures, Senior Associate at digital sports consultancy Seven League, advisor to 3 media-tech start-ups, and expert advisor to the high-level government-industry liaison organisation British Screen Advisory Council.

Until 2017, Keen was Chief Analyst & Vice President for TMT at IHS Markit, leading a team of 100 expert analysts around the world. Prior to IHS, Ben was instrumental in building Screen Digest into a premiere research firm, pioneering empirical analysis and robust forecasting of global media and technology markets. In late 2010, Screen Digest was acquired by IHS. Ben subsequently helped IHS acquire and integrate another six research and analysis firms. 


Kerensa Samanidis, GM and Consultant – International OTT Sector

Kerensa Samanidis’s OTT career began in the early 2000s at PlayStation where she developed a video-on-demand strategy for the newly ‘network-connected’ PlayStation 2.  She went on to devise, develop and launch OTT services for the BFI, WarnerMedia and AMC Networks and has also consulted for a range of emerging and established OTT services across multiple markets. Samanidis has also held a range of strategy, product and business development roles at Hearst, HMV and Turner Broadcasting.


Ian Munford, Director of Product Marketing, Media Solutions, Akamai

Ian Munford’s career has spanned every facet of media technology and services from post-production, media workflow and OTT services. He started his professional experience in the early days of video streaming and has returned to his roots with Akamai where he is responsible for strategy and business development across the company’s portfolio of services. Prior to Akamai, Munford was Commercial Director of dock10 one of the UK’s leading TV studio, post-production and digital media service facilities. He also held a number of senior management roles across BT’s media ventures, developing and launching several new initiatives such as Rich Media an end-to-end digital media management and OTT platform and Mosaic the first cloud based Media Asset Management and workflow service.


Jolita Kajtazi, Corporate Partner, Sheridans

Jolita Kajtazi is an established Corporate Partner at Sheridans, whose practice focuses on M&A transactional work (both on the buy and sell side), including share and asset acquisitions and disposals, both in the UK and overseas, with transaction values ranging up to £2.5 billion. She has advised on many interesting exit deals, often involving talent and independent production companies.

She is also very experienced in working with successful founder management teams and their investors to grow their businesses, including many video games and technology companies achieving growth investment rounds and eventual sale/reinvestment.

In addition to advising on M&A, Jolita regularly advises clients on restructurings, including transactions to buy-out shareholders, reorganise the ownership structure, incentivise management and key employees, as well as working with start-ups and growth companies on formation and set-up issues and through funding rounds and scaling up.

Her clients include independent film/TV production and development companies, award-winning video games studios, Premier league clubs, media rights owners, international restaurant groups, major hotel developers, and some of the most exciting early stage companies in the tech sectors and creative industries.


Renato Bonomini, VP Global Presales, ContentWise

As VP of Global PreSales at ContentWise, Renato Bonomini’s focus is on transforming data into actionable information. This comes from an engineering background in Digital Signal Processing with an M.S. from Politecnico di Milano and his past R&D experience in Geophysics. Over the last 15 years, Bonomini has grown professional service practices, developed and brought to market new offerings, and nurtured strategic partnerships. His global industry experience spans media, telecommunications, retail, leisure & travel, oil & gas, and finance.


Simon Leadlay, Head of Product Management, You.i TV

Simon Leadlay leads product strategy and market fit at You.i TV as Head of Product Market Development. A 15-year industry veteran, Leadlay served as director of Pay TV product management and business development for Accedo prior to joining You.i TV. During seven years with Latens Systems, Pace and ARRIS, he was integral to the companies’ productization, sales, and marketing efforts for next-generation user experiences for Pay TV operators. Previously, he held technical marketing and development positions with Espial, Nortel, and Ingenia Communications.


Wim Ponnet, Chief Strategy & Commercial Officer, Endemol Shine Group

Wim Ponnet joined Endemol in 2015 and is responsible for defining and implementing the company’s global strategy, working closely with Endemol’s local leaders and partners around the world. This includes identifying and pursuing new business opportunities, and acquisitions and expansion into new markets, whilst tracking and leveraging market trends, as well as driving the group’s digital endeavours. 

His remit also includes overseeing the Group’s sales, brand licensing, gaming, gambling, M&A and digital teams.

Prior to joining Endemol Shine, Ponnet was Senior Director, Strategy & Operations at Yahoo EMEA. In this role he oversaw the company’s strategic planning and business development across the region, identifying opportunities for M&A, commercial partnerships and expansion into new markets, whilst evaluating and exploiting trends in the marketplace. 

His previous roles have included a number of senior positions at Coca Cola, including managing projects and planning across host cities and venues for UEFA Euro 2008 and overseeing a portfolio of national and international accounts.


Carol Hanley, Chief Revenue and Strategy Officer, Whip Media Group

Carol Hanley is a media industry veteran who has shaped digital innovation and fuelled data-driven growth strategies for some of the world’s largest entertainment organizations for more than 25 years.

At Whip Media Group, she leads strategy, business development, data and client solutions for the organisation. The Whip Media Group companies, including Mediamorph, TV Time and TheTVDB, offer a unique, integrated solution that empowers the world’s leading media and entertainment organizations to efficiently deliver, optimize and monetize their content.

Prior to Whip Media Group, Hanley served as CRO of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group. She also spent thirteen years as the EVP Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer at Nielsen Audio. In 2018 and 2019, she was named to Cynopsis Media’s Top 100 Women in Media list.

Hanley frequently speaks on the integral role that consumer data plays in today’s new content landscape. She has previously spoken at conferences such as NATPE, the Cynopsis Measurement & Data Conference, and the TV of Tomorrow Summit.


Aleksandra Wawrzun, Senior Manager Yield & Programmatic at IP Deutschland / RTL Group

Aleksandra Wawrzun is responsible for programmatic campaign ad management across all devices from mobile to Addressable TV and consults advertisers. Since the foundation of d-force, the new joint venture between the RTL Group and ProSiebenSat.1 she has been supporting management in the development of technical solutions and service components. Additionally, Wawrzun is a member of the focus group “Programmatic Advertising“ at Germany’s digital trade body, BVDW.


Gulliver Smithers, SVP Product & Technology, Sony Pictures Entertainment

Gulliver Smithers is Senior Vice President, Product & Technology at Crackle and Sony New Media Solutions. He leads the digital product, technical operations and software development teams for Sony NMS, bringing over 20 years of experience in consumer technology strategy, design and UX for digital and VOD products across web, TV and mobile. Gulliver’s technology career started at the BBC in London. Later as Director On-Demand at ITV, Gulliver oversaw the build and multi-platform rollout of ITV Player, the UK’s flagship commercial AVOD product. This was followed by a CTO role at a successful startup and then VP of Product, BBC Worldwide where he developed and rolled out the BBC’s global portfolio of digital products. Gulliver has an MA in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh.


Ralph Wagner, Co-founder and CEO, Axinom

Ralph Wagner is the chief executive officer of Axinom. He co-founded Axinom in the year 2001, bringing in more than 25 years of industry expertise, technical know-how, leadership and management experience. As CEO, Ralph manages the corporate strategy with a focus on sales, industry partnerships and technology adoption. Since the inception of Axinom, he has worked towards Axinom’s growth in products and market share in aerospace and media industry.

Ralph began his career in 1996 as a distribution specialist in the music industry and founded an e-commerce store for movies, music, and games. After that, he overtook the responsibility of implementing user management, personalisation and payment/e-commerce for the Deutsche Telekom ISP T-Online.

In the year 2001, after the inception of Axinom, he served as COO responsible for Axinom products and services. In 2014, Ralph overtook the CEO responsibility for Axinom Aerospace to spin off and expand Aerospace business by defining and representing the targets, policy, and strategy inside and outside of the company. In February 2017, Ralph was appointed as the Axinom CEO.


Kym Niblock, Chief Product & Information Officer, TVNZ

Kym is a seasoned and innovative digital leader with a global outlook with 30+ years of media experience in TV, online and digital across blue chip brands such as TVNZ, Spark, Foxtel, BBC, Sky, Nickelodeon and MTV.

She has worked in the US, the UK and both Australia and New Zealand in executive management across IPTV, on-line, television and telco businesses on emerging and maturing businesses. She is currently the Chief Product and Information Officer for Television New Zealand (TVNZ) where she runs the technology, product and operations teams with focus on business transformation and how TVNZ may be consumed in the future. Previously she was the CEO of Media at Spark New Zealand, where she set up and delivered Lightbox, their acclaimed SVOD TV business and the Managing Director of in the UK as it launched in to the global advertising business it is today.

Kym specializes in taking disruptive initiatives to market and building them into large scale and sometimes global businesses, that are leading the way carving out new business, value and revenue models at the forefront of the media revolution.


Nathalie Lethbridge, Founder, Atonik Digital

Nathalie Lethbridge is the founder and Managing Director of Atonik Digital, an international streamed entertainment and content strategy consultancy based in London. An expert in Pay TV, streamed entertainment services, content, mobile and converged digital media, she has extensive experience in business and content strategy, as well commercial negotiations across the traditional and digital/OTT content ecosystem. Lethbridge previously held senior leadership roles with leading global entertainment and broadcasting companies, content and mobile platforms and streamed entertainment innovators. This provides her with an insider’s perspective on the ever-evolving content ecosystem and valuation model.

Atonik Digital also harnesses the experience of a select network of senior global executives across media and entertainment to deliver commercially focused informed and agile strategic solutions for clients across the globe. 


Adrian Stroud, VP Advanced Advertising, Liberty Global

Adrian Stroud started his career as an engineer but quickly moved to commercial and strategy roles for broadcasters including ITV and the BBC. He also has great experience as a consultant including the commercial development of ‘Red Button’ advertising with Sky and early investigations into what later became Sky AdSmart. Addressable TV Advertising is now the focus of his work again with Liberty Global where he has been working closely with Sky to bring addressability to the Virgin Media cable platform.


William Cooper, Strategy Consultant, Informitv

As the founder and chief executive of the independent consultancy, informitv, and a specialist in interactive media services across multiple platforms, Dr William Cooper advises clients ranging from start-up companies to major corporations, providing a practical operational perspective.

Previously, as head of interactive at BBC Broadcast, Cooper operationally managed the successful launch and delivery of landmark interactive services on satellite, terrestrial and cable television across multiple channels and territories. He was also responsible for transitioning interactive publication and playout services from a public service cost centre into a profitable commercial subsidiary. And as product manager for the new media division of the Press Association, Cooper led the launch of online syndication services, leading to the creation of a successful standalone business, subsequently acquired by Orange for £98 million.

He is a regular contributor to international conferences, with papers published at both IBC and NAB, William is a recognised commentator on interactive media and publishes the online news service


Simon Thomas, Global Director Audiences Research & Media Investment Management, GroupM

GroupM is the parent company of the WPP media agencies Essence, MediaCom, Mindshare, m/Six, and Wavemaker.

The world’s leading media investment management network at $48 billion annually (2019), GroupM takes a leadership position in making advertising work better in the world and deliver winning media outcomes for brands the world over. Simon Thomas has spent over 40 years in the advertising industry across the media owner, media agency and software/data vendor sides of the business, not just in the UK but across Europe and in the USA. His experience ranges across both the traditional and digital communication channels, with a focus on research, audience optimisation, and trading efficiencies. The effective and consistent measurement and optimisation of consumer audiences across media channels, platforms and screens is his current focus.

Thomas is passionate about media, data, technology, brands and audience engagement. With media always evolving, he is continuously learning with his clients and business partners in understanding the most effective paths to consumer engagement and actions with brand messaging that enables advertiser clients to grow and win.



Kauser Kanji has been working in online video for 19 years, formerly at Virgin Media, ITN and NBC Universal, and founded VOD Professional in 2011. He has since completed major OTT projects for, amongst others, A+E Networks, the BBC, BBC Studios, Channel 4, DR (Denmark), Liberty Global, Netflix, Sony Pictures, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation and UKTV. He now writes industry analyses, hosts an online debate show, OTT Question Time, as well as its in-person sister event, OTT Question Time Live

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