Russell Simmons‘ All Def Digital has hired former Machinima executive Sanjay Sharma as president and COO, the company said Monday. Sharma will exercise day-to-day control over the company’s operations and join its board of directors.
ADD operates a YouTube channel dedicated to urban music, comedy and spoken word, and recently unveiled ADD52, a talent discovery platform run in collaboration with Samsung’ Milk Music streaming service.
Simmons founded ADD last summer in collaboration with AwesomenessTV, a large network of online video channels with astrong following in the teen and tween community. The co-founder of hip-hop record label Def Jam, Simmons is hoping to build another media company that transforms culture.
Sharma is a good start. He was instrumental in the growth of Machinima, a gamer-focused network, and one of the first massive multi-channel networks on YouTube. Simmons is betting Sharma can help grow ADD in a similar fashion.
“We have been incubating All Def Digital for some time now, working closely with our partners at Awesomeness TV, YouTube, HBO, and Universal Music Group as we introduce an incredible new generation of talent to audiences worldwide,” Simmons said in a statement “We knew we were ready to take All Def Digital to the next level, but first we had to identify and recruit a rare executive that understood the multiracial singularly cultural audience, and knew the many worlds we play in, from digital and television to film and music.”