May 21, 2015

Herb Scannell to Conclude Successful Tenure as President, BBC Worldwide North America; Ann Sarnoff Promoted to Succeed Scannell

New York, NY – BBC Worldwide today announced Herb Scannell has decided to step down as President, BBC Worldwide North America and Ann Sarnoff, currently COO, BBC Worldwide North America has been promoted to the position.  Scannell will turn over day-to-day operations to Sarnoff on August 1, 2015, but will remain with the company through the summer to aid in the transition.

Since joining the company in June, 2010, Scannell has seen many successes while at the helm including an increase in overall revenues by 50%.  He has been crucial in framing cable channel BBC AMERICA into what it is today, seeing four-and-a-half years of consecutive ratings growth, launching compelling original programming such as Orphan Black, and spearheading last year’s joint venture between BBC Worldwide and AMC Networks, which resulted in AMCN taking a 49.9% stake in BBC AMERICA and co-investing in future BBC productions.

Under Scannell’s leadership, strategic digital content sales increased exponentially – most recently overtaking linear content sales for the first time ever. launched a North America edition and five feature sections.  The site currently enjoys an average of 40.6m users per month in the U.S. and Canada. BBC Worldwide Productions, the Los Angeles-based production arm, has moved into scripted series and tripled their production output alongside ratings powerhouse Dancing with the Stars which this week concluded its 20th season on ABC.

Sarnoff has overseen most major revenue streams for the company since joining in 2010, including ad sales and affiliate sales for BBC AMERICA and BBC World News (until end of 2014), TV and digital content sales,, and home entertainment and licensing.  She has also led cross-business franchise development for key global brands such as Doctor Who, Top Gear, and BBC Earth, resulting in significant revenue gains.  Sarnoff oversaw negotiations around major MVPD deals for BBC AMERICA resulting in an increase in distribution from 68m subscribers to 80m; lead the charge on the first-ever Twitter Amplify deal for BBC AMERICA; spearheaded the features section strategy; and launched the first-ever conference for, BBC Future: World-Changing Ideas Summit.

Tim Davie, CEO, BBC Worldwide said, “Herb is a visionary and passionate executive who has rapidly grown and fundamentally transformed the North American business.  He molded cable channel BBC AMERICA into an attractive brand and destination for viewers, moved the TV and digital content sales into high growth, and diversified the LA Production business.  We will miss him as a leader and colleague.”  He continued, “Ann, who has been Herb’s collaborative partner, is well positioned to take over the reins.  As the media business continues to change at warp speed, Ann’s proven leadership coupled with her solid strategic and creative business sense will be a great asset to the company as she and the team move the business towards new heights.”

“After five years, and with a strong leadership team in place, it feels like the right time for me to return to the entrepreneurial path I was on in digital media before I joined BBC Worldwide,” said Scannell.  “The company has a bright future, in no small measure because of the extraordinary talent and leadership of Ann Sarnoff.  I have worked side-by-side with Ann for over 10 years – both here and at Viacom – and it’s been one of the most fruitful partnerships of my career.  Ann will take BBC Worldwide to new places.”

“I am thrilled to be stepping into this role and leading the efforts that build upon the growth trajectory that we’ve achieved under Herb’s leadership,” said Sarnoff. “We will continue to leverage the power of the BBC brand and the rich assets we have to grow across platforms.

Scannell spent much of his career at Viacom. As Vice Chairman MTV Networks and President of Nickelodeon Networks, he oversaw all creative and business operations for a portfolio of brands including Nickelodeon, TV Land, and Spike TV.  During his 10-year term as President of Nickelodeon it was the #1 rated network in all of cable TV.  In 2006 he left Viacom to launch Next New Networks, where he identified next generation media makers and made-for-the-internet original shows to advance a strategy of creating and managing super niche channels. The company was sold in 2011 to Google/YouTube.

Prior to joining BBC Worldwide North America as COO in 2010, Sarnoff held senior executive roles in media including President of Dow Jones Ventures, where she launched new digital products and oversaw the creation of The Wall Street Journal executive conference business, and EVP of Nickelodeon Consumer Products and Business Development, where she developed Rugrats and Blue’s Clues into large off-air franchises and helped launch new cable channels TV Land and Noggin.