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Sameer Pitalwalla Quits Disney; Plans A Digital Video Startup


Sameer Pitalwalla, Director (Video & Celebrity) for Disney India, has quit Disney India. This was first reported by TechCircle. Speaking to Medianama, Pitalwalla said that Friday (June 28, 2013) will be his last day at Disney, although he will be working with the company as a consultant until Disney finds a replacement for him.

Going forward, Pitalwalla plans to launch a startup in the digital video space and is partnering with Venkat P, a partner product manager at YouTube US for this venture. While Pitalwalla declined to disclose any specific information on this venture, he said that this startup will include a significant technology and content part to it.

Pitalwalla has also raised an undisclosed amount of funding from a VC firm for this venture but didn’t disclose any further details on this investment.

Pitalwalla had joined Disney in January 2011 and was responsible for the company’s digital video, celebrity, applications and social media initiatives. These include the launch of UTV Stars AppBindaas Jukebook Facebook App, and freemium apps like UTVDisneyComedy and Devotional for Nokia phones among others. DisneyUTV had also inked an exclusive deal with Electronic Arts to distribute EA mobile games in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh regions last November and inked a tie-up with Gameloft to distribute their mobile games in India in September 2012.

Prior to this, Pitalwalla was the business head of Times Internet’s* digital celebrity division Follo.co.in and digital video division. He was also the business head of the online video division of Times Television Network and was responsible for all mobile, interactive TV and web businesses for Zoom Television, Besides this, he has also had stints at DNA (Daily News and Analysis) and Techtree.com.

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Changes At Disney’s Digital Business: Over the last year, there has been quite a few changes in the top management of Walt Disney’s digital business, after the company’s restructuring last August. Samir Bangara, MD (Digital) at Disney India, had quit the company in October 2012 and had recently joined AR Rahman & Shekhar Kapur’s media startup Qyuki as its CEO and Managing Director while Vishal Gondal, MD (Digital) for Disney India, had also put in his papers in April 2013 to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities, although he is expected to be with the company until June 30, 2013.

*Disclosure: Times Internet is an advertiser with Medianama

Corrigendum: We’d incorrectly mentioned that Pitalwalla was the Business Head of Times Television Network. He was the Business Head (Digital) of Times Television Network. Our apologies for the error.

(photo via Sameer’s Twitter profile)

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