Jason Kilar, who was designated chief executive officer of WarnerMedia by AT&T nearly two years ago, informed the company’s workforce Tuesday that he was resigning after the entertainment giant’s merger with Discovery concludes.
As Kilar prepares to depart the media firm he helped usher into the streaming era, he asserts that the blockchain is the future of Hollywood.
His departure enables David Zaslav, Discovery’s CEO, to begin assembling his own management team at the soon-to-be-merged firms.
Kilar said he had no plans to leave after announcing his departure from AT&T unit WarnerMedia ahead of the company’s anticipated combination with Discovery Inc this month.
“I have no intention of retiring,” he declares. “As for where you may find me, it’s in the construction. Because I enjoy building at the end of the day, it will almost certainly be at the intersection of storytelling, technology, and blockchain.”
Kilar’s tenure was marked by innovation, including the launch of HBO Max and hybrid films, but also by drama and acrimonious discussion.
He faced significant attention during his HBO Max and theatrical streaming experiments, including from CNN CEO Jeff Zucker, who admitted to quitting after failing to disclose a personal relationship with Allison Gollust, the brand’s marketing and communications chief.
Kilar’s career has spanned Silicon Valley and Hollywood, and he believes that blockchain technology — the digital ledgers that record transactions across a vast array of computer networks — is transforming the entertainment industry, particularly as the process of acquiring unique digital collectibles such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs) becomes more accessible.
The seasoned IT executive stated in an interview with Reuters:
“I think that’s going to be a potential wave that’s going to be coming to Hollywood, in the same way that the DVD wave came to Hollywood in the ’90s.”
According to Kilar, blockchain technology may potentially pave the way for new types of funding. He has a lengthy history of pushing the boundaries of technology and creativity in the entertainment industry.
Kilar was appointed CEO of WarnerMedia by AT&T in April 2020, counting on a technology leader with experience in streaming to take the film and television company into a new age.
AT&T was about to launch a streaming service, HBO Max, and saw Kilar, a former Amazon.com Inc. executive, as the ideal candidate for the role.
“Looking around a digital corner,” Kilar explained, “the blockchain will have a tangible impact on Hollywood and its possible collaborators.”