News Corp. Hires Exec Away From Viacom for iPad Newspaper

MTV Digital EVP Greg Clayman tapped by Rupert Murdoch to become publisher

It doesn’t have a name or release date yet, but News Corp. is nonetheless staffing up for its national iPad newspaper.

The company, which had already tapped New York Post executive editor Jesse Angelo as its editor, has hired Greg Clayman away from Viacom to become its publisher. Before Rupert Murdoch came calling, Clayman had been EVP, Digital Distribution & Business Development at MTV Networks. (The news was first reported by Media Memo’s Peter Kafka, later confirmed by Clayman.)

Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times reported that News Corp. is “embarking on an ambitious plan for a new national digital newspaper to be distributed exclusively as paid content for tablet computers such as Apple Inc.'s iPad and mobile phones.” The digital newspaper “would target a more general readership, offering short, snappy stories that could be digested quickly.”

In June, the company acquired Skiff, an e-reading platform for digital devices – including tablets — owned by Hearst, a deal that appears to be at work here.

To be sure, claiming Clayman is a coup for News Corp., and blow to Viacom.

In a memo announcing Clayman’s departure, MTV president Judy McGrath called Clayman “one of our best and most beloved digital gurus,” though, as McGrath noted, Viacom does have a deep digital bench.

Here’s that memo:

From: Office of Judy McGrath
To: Office of Judy McGrath
Sent: Fri Aug 20 11:49:47 2010
Subject: Greg Clayman

We want to share the news that Greg Clayman, our Executive Vice President of Digital Distribution and Business Development, has decided to leave MTV Networks for a new venture that will stretch the range of his considerable talent, energy, and imagination. One of our best and most beloved digital gurus, Greg’s a guy we’ll miss having around, but we wish him lots of luck and happiness in the future. We thank and salute him for building a great team and accomplishing so much in his time with us.

Throughout his tenure at MTVN, Greg worked hard to get our content launched on every new and relevant platform, and make our programming among the most widely distributed in the world. He was respected by all his colleagues for his innovative approach and collaborative spirit. But maybe his greatest legacy is the phenomenal people he put in place to forge partnerships and create opportunities across the digital landscape. Moving forward, Jeremiah Zinn, a strong leader and digital guru in his own right, will continue his oversight of Product Development, including our growing and important apps business, while also assuming leadership of our mobile business, with Jim Eadie continuing to run point on mobile and app distribution deals. Jeremiah will continue to report to Rich. Tom Gorke will continue to be our lead for online distribution deals, but he’ll do so as a member of Denise Denson’s team…strengthening the digital deal-making capability CDM delivers through agreements with partners like Netflix.

Throughout MTV Networks, we’ve been fortunate to have a deep bench in Digital, and it’s great to tap into that talent in an even bigger way. This realignment will allow us to keep moving forward without missing a beat, in a time when new opportunities come to us almost every day. It’s the right team at the right time, and we know they’ll work to capture those new opportunities, and ensure that our business evolves and grows well into the future.

But, here in the present, please join us in cheering for Greg and wishing him the best of luck as he transitions out of MTV Networks. He’s been a great champion of our digital story, an even greater champion of our brands, and, quite simply, a good friend.


Judy and Rich