Circle hires three executives to lead network
NASHVILLE, TN – Circle® announces the hiring of three executives to lead the forthcoming media network dedicated to the country music lifestyle experience.
Geoff DeFrance joins as Senior Vice President, Digital; Evan Haiman as Senior Vice President, Content and Teresa George as Vice President, Strategic Partnerships. All three executives are based in Nashville and report directly to Drew Reifenberger, General Manager of Circle Media.
Geoff DeFrance, Senior Vice President, Digital, Circle Media, will be leading the network’s digital subscription video on demand product strategy. DeFrance is a software product executive with over 17 years of experience building innovative products in the media, entertainment and ad technology verticals. DeFrance has spent significant time in growth-oriented, content and marketing organizations such as Yahoo!, Motor Trend Group and Kelley Blue Book. Most recently he built and scaled Motor Trend Group’s SVOD/OTT platform, subsequently acquired by Discovery Communications, Inc.
Drew Reifenberger, general manager of Circle Media said, “We are creating a new streaming experience for country music fans, and Geoff is the perfect person given his passion for technology and his deep background in creating innovative entertainment products.”
Evan Haiman, Senior Vice President, Content, Circle Media, is responsible for the network’s content strategy, development, programming and operations for the network and streaming service. Haiman brings 30 years of experience in the production sphere, working with organizations including MLB, HBO and Warner Bros. In his most recent role as Vice President of Development, Programming & Production at AXSTV, he was responsible for managing all music and entertainment content for the 24-hour cable network serving over 58 million homes.
“Starting a new network from scratch is challenging, so we are fortunate that Evan brings many years of broadcast experience and relationships, along with passion and energy to create the content,” Reifenberger said.
Teresa George, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, Circle Media, is responsible for brand partnerships, affiliate relations, P.R., marketing, special events and music industry relations. George has a unique breadth of experience in the entertainment industry having served in executive roles at the Country Music Association and most recently at the Academy of Country Music. Additionally, she has created artist partnerships and implemented entertainment and music strategies for some of America’s best-known brands including Dr Pepper, 7-UP, Chrysler, and WalMart.
George is the daughter of Ray and Elaine Hearn, of Bridge City.
“Teresa was one of the first people I began talking to once I was hired. She has deep roots in the Nashville music community, along with an amazing track record in television, marketing and branding,” Reifenberger said.
Circle will launch January 1, 2020 as a linear 24/7 network with 16 original shows and two major distribution partnerships that will broadcast Circle in markets covering more than 50 percent of U.S. TV households.
Circle will be available on Gray Television stations across 56 markets throughout the country as well as on stations in markets such as New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Tampa and Detroit through a separate distribution agreement with CBS Television Stations.
Circle will launch a streaming premium service in Spring 2020.
The Circle fan experience continues online at CircleAllAccess.com and @CircleAllAccess on all social media platforms.
Circle is a partnership between Opry Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of Ryman Hospitality Properties, Inc. (NYSE: RHP), and Gray Television, Inc. (NYSE: GTN).
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