Starz said today that it has hired Ameesh Paleja as Chief Technology Officer, a new position in the company. Paleja, co-founder and CEO of movie-ticketing platform Atom Tickets, will continue to serve on Atom’s board and as an advisor and Head of Innovation. At Starz he will report to COO Jeffrey Hirsch and be based at the company’s Englewood, CO headquarters.
“Ameesh is a visionary and world-class technologist whose substantial experience with digital distribution platforms will deepen our brands’ connection with consumers and provide audiences the highest quality entertainment possible,” Hirsch said in announcing the deal. “I’m delighted to welcome Ameesh to this new role and look forward to what the future holds for Starz and how Ameesh will lead us there.”
Paleja began his career at Microsoft in 2001 before moving to Amazon, where over a dozen years he helped launch digital products including Prime Instant Video, Amazon’s Appstore, Cloud Drive and the Kindle line. He was the founding employee of Amazon’s R&D facilities in Southern California, overseeing more than 550 employees. He holds 24 patents in digital video and similar fields.
The move to Starz comes after Atom said this week it raised more than $60 million in a Series C round led by new backer Fidelity Investments, with Lionsgate, Disney and 21st Century Fox all reinvesting in the company. After rolling out nationally in 2016, Atom tripled its users and ticket sales in one year and is integrated into tens of thousands of U.S. theaters. Its app enables moviegoers to buy tickets, pick out seats, buy concessions and skip lines.