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Discovery Norway hires ex-NRK digital chief

Discovery Networks Norway has hired the head of new media at pubcaster NRK to take on a new digital and business development role.

Sindre OstgardSindre Østgård (pictured) has been named VP, digital products and business development for Discovery Networks International’s Norway-based arm.

He will, however, be responsible for new business in both Norway and Sweden, and keep close ties with colleagues at DNI.

Discovery Networks Norway and Sweden CEO Harald Stromme said the hire reflected “high ambitions” in the digital space, “not only in Scandinavia, but also internationally”.

The development tallies with stated ambitions to redirect resources to sports rights and digital distribution, which came to light as Discovery Networks Norway axed 35 jobs earlier this year in a restructure.

Østgård ran Norwegian pubcaster NRK’s new media division between 2009 and 2014, and sat on the broadcaster’s management and editorial boards.

He then became CEO of the Tinitus Trust Foundation, which owns the largest block of shares in Schibsted Media Group through Blommenholm Industrier.

Schibsted is a former owner of producer Metronome, which is now part of the Endemol Shine Group. (Shine Group acquired Metronome in 2009 and rebranded it as Shine Nordics in April 2014, before merging with Endemol and Core Media at the end of 2014.)

Stromme said Sindre’s hire positioned Discovery to compete with rivals in the digital space, noting that the broadcaster “must recognise that our competitors have had a head start in the digital area”.

Stromme said Discovery had “the muscle and investment willingness to follow Sindre’s visions”.

“Norway and Sweden are two of the most modern media markets in the world, both in terms of technology use and digital business,” said Østgård. “I have been mandated to use precisely these countries as a laboratory to crack the code that will lift us into a modern media [group].”

“Discovery has assets required to take a leadership position. They have shown a risk and investment willingness few others have shown in recent years, and they have the ability to take ideas forward globally. It is an enormous challenge and an equally great opportunity.”