Machinima CEO Chad Gutstein to Depart; Russell Arons Named GM

Warner Bros. acquired gaming-based multi-channel network in November

Chad Gutstein, the CEO of embattled gaming-centric multi-channel network Machinima, is leaving the company to “pursue entrepreneurial projects,” parent company Warner Bros. announced Friday. Russell Arons has been named general manager, and she will work with Gutstein on a multi-week transition plan.

Arons will oversee the company’s creative, marketing services, data analytics, business development and operations, as well as the multi-channel network.

“Russell is a terrific creative executive with exceptional audience experience and brand building capabilities. With deep knowledge in gaming, she speaks the same language as our Machinima creators, community and team, and has the proven ability to build and unlock strong consumer relationships,” Craig Hunegs, Warner Bros. President, Business and Strategy, Warner Bros. Television Group and President, Warner Bros. Digital Networks Group said in a statement. “In her new role, Russell will deepen Machinima’s relationship with an audience that’s important to many Warner Bros. divisions to further optimize our marketing and direct-to-consumer activities and serve as a hub for social video across the company.”

Warner Bros. acquired Machinima in November and had been an investor prior to that. The programming service started as a gaming-based network of YouTube channels, and currently operates a production studio and premium content partnerships with entities including Amazon Prime, Verizon’s go90 mobile streaming service and the CW Network.

The Information reported the purchase price for the Warner Bros. deal was expected to be less $100 million. Warner Bros. did not disclose financial terms of the deal. Machinima and was once valued at more than $250 million. But as video advertising growth slowed, Machinima laid off several employees and made changes at the top. Prior CEO Allen DeBevoise left in March 2014 and was replaced by Gutstein, who will depart as Arons takes the reins.

Arons joined Warner Bros. in 2009 as Senior Vice President, Worldwide Marketing, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and prior to that served as head of marketing for Electronic Arts’ EA Play division.