Industry Veterans Bring Expertise in Response to Market Opportunities for Leading Digital Entertainment Company
CARLSBAD, Calif., June 6, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Today NTN Buzztime , Inc. (nyse mkt:NTN), a leading digital entertainment platform for bars and restaurants, announced the appointment of Bill Thomas, Rob Burnett, Jake Kovalcik and Andre Lawless to its senior leadership team. Together with Bob Cooney, who was appointed COO in January 2014, these individuals previously served at global leaders like LG Electronics and Whirlpool, nimble startups, and game giants such as Zynga and Electronic Arts. With experience in business operations, marketing, game production and advertising, these new team members have been brought on board in response to Buzztime’s needs as it expands its entertainment and marketing services platform, called BEOND (Buzztime Entertainment on Demand) in restaurants and bars across the country. The company currently has the BEOND platform installed in over 350 Buffalo Wild Wings locations and recently announced plans to roll out BEOND to all BWW locations nationwide by the end of 2015.
“As we introduce Buzztime’s BEOND platform into national chains and independent venues across the country, we will look to these new team members to share their experience and business savvy to continue the proliferation of BEOND,” said Jeff Berg, Chairman and interim CEO of Buzztime. “The skill set and experience of these strategic hires will provide great depth to our leadership team, and is expected to increase operational efficiency and our ability to deliver the best in digital entertainment to our clients.”
Bob Cooney was appointed as Buzztime’s Chief Operating Officer in January 2014 , bringing with him 25 years of executive business development, sales and marketing management experience. He began his career in out-of-home media experiences when he founded Laser Storm, a location-based entertainment company where he also served as CEO. Cooney has also served as SVP of business development for Global VR, where he drove a strategic shift in business and market strategy; VP of Marketing for Ecast Inc., where he helped grow a nascent jukebox company into a media network with approximately 10,000 locations; and SVP for NSM Music. As COO of Buzztime, Cooney will oversee the operations, product development, program management, strategic analytics, marketing and development departments. Cooney will work to build the culture, vision and initiatives in order to drive and define Buzztime’s long-term strategy.
With over 20 years of experience in marketing, strategy, & business development, Bill Thomas joins Buzztime as Senior Vice President of Marketing . Thomas most recently served as director of in-store marketing for home appliances/home electronics at LG Electronics, where he was responsible for designing and deploying all digital media and visual merchandising for approximately 25,000 retail outlets. There he managed an internal team as well as multiple agencies. Prior to LG, Thomas served in progressive marketing and merchandising leadership roles at Whirlpool Corporation for over 6 years. Thomas also has several years of experience in both top tier strategy consulting and smaller marketing agencies. Thomas reports to Bob Cooney, and is responsible for marketing, sales development and go-to-market initiatives, at Buzztime.
Robert G. Burnett is Buzztime’s new Executive Producer , and is responsible for product strategy and game development. Burnett joins the Buzztime team with over 15 years of senior producer experience at game companies including Zynga and Electronic Arts (EA). At Zynga, Burnett was senior producer on games such as FarmVille, Cafe World, and Ninja Kingdoms. He also held a seat on Zynga’s Production Council where he documented best practices for live game production. At EA, Burnett was a senior producer within the EA SPORTS division, as well as lead producer for EA SPORTS content on Playstation Home. Previous roles include COO at Sandcastle Studios, where his projects included mobile development for properties including CBS Sportsline Fantasy Companion Football, Madden Football and NBA Live.
Jake Kovalcik joins Buzztime as Senior Director of Advertising , bringing to Buzztime over 15 years of business and marketing experience in fast-paced startups and Fortune 500 companies. At Buzztime, Kovalcik will oversee all advertising partnerships and advertising sales activities, reporting directly to Jeff Berg. Most recently Kovalcik helped develop market position and managed growth for Under Armour’s MapMyFitness brand, which provides interactive tools for the global fitness community. He also served as director of business development for mobile payment applications company Tabbedout. Earlier roles included VP, national business development at InStadium; senior account executive at DVC Worldwide (Rolling Rock, Dos Equis and Labatt); and account executive for Anheuser-Busch, Inc., where he implemented advertising and marketing programs. Kovalcik’s New York advertising career began in media planning for Ogilvy & Mather and Deutsch Inc. for accounts such as Louis Vuitton, IBM and Citizen Watches.
Andre Lawless is now Buzztime’s Senior Director of Marketing, where he will lead marketing communications, PR and brand development efforts for the company. Prior to Buzztime, Lawless was Senior Director of Marketing for Emerald Home Furnishings, where he led branding, strategic marketing communications, and PR efforts. He also served as Director of Marketing for Screenlife Games, LLC (a division of Paramount Pictures/Viacom), where he led marketing efforts for the ‘Scene It?’ trivia games. He has also provided PR and marketing consultation to Pokémon, WizKids/NECA, and Rock-Ola. Lawless has also held senior management roles in PR and marketing for companies including Hidden City Games, Ecast, Twenty-first Century Artists, and Shore Fire Media.
In addition to these new hires, LaShawn James , Director of Product Management and a senior member of Buzztime’s product team since 2012, has taken a new role as Director of Premium Products reporting to executive producer Rob Burnett. James will oversee POS and payment initiatives as well as the company’s suite of premium revenue products. Alexandra Gerritsen , who joined Buzztime as a Senior Technical Project Manager in 2012 is now the Director of Buzztime’s new Program Management Office (PMO) , where she will leverage her experience in project and program management across the various functions of Buzztime’s business.
Buzztime is also pleased to introduce two members of its advisory council, created in January to advise the company on strategic and product-related initiatives. The company expects to add and name additional members in the future. Current members include:
Raph Koster , a veteran game designer who has been professionally credited in almost every area of the game industry. He’s been the lead designer and director of massive titles such as Ultima Online and Star Wars Galaxies; a venture-backed entrepreneur heading his own studio; and a contributor of design work, writing, art, soundtrack music, and programming for many more titles ranging from Facebook games to single-player games for handheld consoles. Koster is widely recognized as one of the world’s top thinkers about game design, and an in-demand speaker at conferences all over the world. His book A Theory of Fun for Game Design is nearing its tenth anniversary as one of the undisputed classics in the games field. In 2012, he was named an Online Game Legend at the Game Developers Conference Online. Koster has served as VP of Creative Design for Playdom; President of Metaplace, Inc.; Chief Creative Officer of Sony Online Entertainment; and Lead designer at Origin.
Nicholas Reichenbach (Evolver Ventures) is a serial start-up, investor and consumer internet product entrepreneur. Reichenbach has built a robust track record of creating and building multiple businesses in the entertainment and hospitality space: Rabbit (a leading social video chat platform backed by Google Ventures and other leading VCs); GuestDriven (a hospitality/hotel SaaS with clients such as Thompson, Hyatt & Intercontinental); Magmic Games (a leading mobile social game publisher that produced over 300 games from Guitar Hero mobile to New York Times Crosswords) and Bplay (a direct-to-consumer mobile content storefront that powered AT&T, Verizon (Alltel), U.S. Cellular and R.I.M Blackberry, worldwide). Earlier in his career, Nicholas produced music concerts across North America, founded one of the first ringtone publishing companies and invested and operated numerous startup’s in disruptive mobile technologies in the US, UK, Sweden and Canada.
For more information on Buzztime, please visit www.buzztime.com
About NTN Buzztime
NTN Buzztime, Inc. (nyse mkt:NTN) is a leading bar and restaurant social entertainment and integrated marketing platform. Trusted by bars and restaurants in North America since 1985, Buzztime integrates trivia, card and sports games with in- and out-of-venue messaging and communication tools. With over 4 million player registrations on the Buzztime platform and over 50 million games played each year, Buzztime players spread the word and invite friends and family to their favorite Buzztime location to enjoy an evening of fun and competition. With Buzztime entertainment and marketing solutions, bars and restaurants can turn casual visitors into regulars, and give guests a reason to stay longer. For the most up-to-date information on NTN Buzztime, please visit / or follow us on Facebook or Twitter @buzztime.
This release contains forward-looking statements which reflect management’s current views of future events and operations, including but not limited to statements about our growth plans, product and platform development and availability, new agreement(s), customer growth plans, long term value, customer platforms, improved customer satisfaction, and launch plans. These statements are based on current expectations and assumptions that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties include the risks of unsuccessful execution or launch of products, platforms or brands, the impact of alternative entertainment options and technologies and competitive products, brands, technologies and pricing, adverse economic conditions, failure of customer and/or player acceptance or demand for new or existing products, lower market acceptance or appeal of both existing and new products and services by particular demographic groups or audiences as a whole, termination of partnership and contractual relationships and technical problems or outages. Please see NTN Buzztime, Inc.’s recent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission for information about these and other risks that may affect the Company. All forward-looking statements included in this release are based on information available to us on the date hereof. These statements speak only as of the date hereof, and NTN Buzztime, Inc. does not undertake to publicly update or revise any of its forward-looking statements, even if experience or future changes show that the indicated results or events will not be realized.
Contact for NTN Buzztime:
415.677.9125 x 257