LOS ANGELES Robert Riesenberg, executive vice president of Interpublic Group's Magna Global Entertainment, is joining Omnicom Group on Feb. 1 as president and CEO of a new, as yet unnamed entertainment unit that will co-develop and produce programming in partnership with producers, talent, clients and distributors.
Riesenberg, 53, will report to Omnicom Media Group CEO Daryl Simm.
At Magna, Riesenberg was instrumental in the production of several high-profile examples of branded entertainment, including NBC's The Restaurant, House Rules on TBS and Johnson & Johnson's Sportlight Presentation on TNT, which won an Emmy. His duties at Magma are taken on by Frances Page, who has been promoted to principal, strategy and business affairs, from vice president of sales and client service.
"For a number of years, our clients have shown increasing interest in entertainment properties," Simm said about the new unit and its leader. "They recognize the environment is more fragmented and cluttered and it's harder to break through. It's clear that we have to offer continually upgraded services in this area. Robert's credentials speak for themselves."
Omnicom's two media networks, OMD and PHD, also have been among the most active players in product integration. Their clients were among the first to become involved with the original Survivor series on CBS.
Other existing branded entertainment credits include Pepsi Smash on the WB and The Apprentice on NBC. One of Riesenberg's first missions will be to determine when, how and with whom the new unit will work with the networks and other Omnicom companies in the category such as Los Angeles-based product placement and entertainment promotion specialist Davie-Brown Entertainment, Simm said.