Aardman has appointed Laura Taylor-Williams to the newly-created role of Head of Digital and Strategic Development, a position which will see her act as Aardman’s key sales liaison with partners across AVOD, FAST and EST.
The appointment follows a hugely successful period for Aardman’s sales team, as six out of the fifteen most-screened productions at MIP Junior were properties either owned or distributed by Aardman. The third-party shows which made the top fifteen most-screened were: Interstellar Ella, Monster Doctor, Happy the Hoglet, Pop Paper City, and Colourblocks, with Aardman’s own Lloyd of the Flies taking the top spot. The company also made the top ten in four out of five categories of Kidscreen’s Hot 50, ranking at #2 in Production and #4 in Distribution as well as making the list for Licensing and Digital – a success spurred by the growth of classic brands alongside new Aardman IP including The Very Small Creatures together with the exciting roster of third-party shows distributed by the studio.
In her new role, Taylor-Williams will lead the strategic direction of digital monetisation at Aardman across AVOD, FAST and EST, forging new partnerships to ensure audiences globally can experience the joy of Aardman content and the quality third-party shows represented by the studio. She will oversee a team that covers both commercial and creative strategy in the digital publishing space, ensuring the company continues to be a best-in-class distributor.
Taylor-Williams will report in to Aardman’s Director of Distribution, Alison Taylor, and work closely with the studio’s Head of Acquisitions, Robin Gladman, to see that all partners benefit from this new digital strategy. Gladman will be acquiring content that supports the strategy, whilst Taylor-Williams will ensure that all third-party acquisitions profit from the studio’s constant diversification and adaptation to an ever-evolving digital landscape.
Taylor-Williams joins Aardman with over 15 years’ distribution experience, having led successful relationships with digital platform partners for globally recognised studios NBCUniversal & Warner Bros. Prior to the creation of this new role, she was covering a Senior Sales Manager role at Aardman, during which time she was responsible for broadcast, streaming and VOD deals across Northern Europe and Canada.
Alison Taylor, Director of Distribution at Aardman, said:
“Laura brings a wealth of knowledge to this role and a real drive to deliver Aardman’s globally loved, playful content to a range of new platform audiences. It’s hugely exciting to be growing our team in this way, especially following such a period of success and recognition from across the industry. Working in partnership with our brilliantly connected Head of Acquisitions, Robin Gladman, I am sure Laura will do big things at Aardman – to the benefit of all our brands and third-party partners.”
Laura Taylor-Williams commented:
“I’m delighted to be heading up this new division. Aardman is perfectly positioned to deliver a rich experience for audiences through AVOD and FAST partners, with our access to value-added and behind-the-scenes content alongside our much-loved, award-winning slate. Working with our third-party independent producers to acquire and produce even more content right for digital is also a cornerstone of our strategy – ensuring that our pipeline of content is consistent, original and aligns with Aardman’s emphasis on quality, curiosity and playfulness. We are primed to take Aardman into this next phase of ambitious growth.”