Rob Rader is a highly experienced general counsel with over 15 years of general counsel, business affairs, operations, and government relations experience for multi-billion dollar media/tech companies, high-growth digital media companies, major and boutique law firms, government bodies, and non-profit organizations, including over $7 billion of M&A and financings. Presently, Mr. Rader is General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at the Ovation network, a 50 million household television cable and OTT network focused on the arts and culture where he supervises a team of over 25 outside and in-house counsel. Concurrently with his GC role and as part of his expertise with emerging digital platforms, Mr. Rader is highly active in education and local, state, and national government, including serving on the boards of the nation's leading community college Santa Monica College; leading public radio/podcasting KCRW; and leading business improvement district Downtown Santa Monica. Previously, he spent nine (9) years helping run business & legal affairs and operations for numerous departments at MGM Studios, including the $1.2 billion topline revenue MGM Home Entertainment and the interactive/online division, with extensive work on one of the largest film and video game franchises in history (James Bond). He also worked for seven (7) years at the major law firms Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp and Morrison & Foerster as well as founding a boutique digital media and entertainment firm.
Mr. Rader's experience spans the gamut of legal, business, and operational aspects of digital and traditional media with specialty fields in content (film, television, music, digital), mobile, online/internet, video games, themed entertainment, consumer products, and advertising, and includes significant international experience. Throughout his career, he has been the "go-to" executive tasked with handling complex, emerging issues and sectors, especially in new technology and digital media. Much of his experience involves fast-growing companies in digital media with a focus on the content, mobile, video games, OTT, apps, ad sales, E-commerce, themed and location-based entertainment, retail and consumer sectors, including such major digital companies as VICE, Amazon Studios, YouTube Red, Roku, Machinima, Maker Studios, SpinMedia, AOL, Collective Digital Network (now Collective Studios 71), the Orchard (Sony), Boing Boing, Federated Media, Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation, Nintendo, Activision Blizzard, and Electronic Arts. His large company domestic work experience includes advising or negotiating with major companies, including MGM, CBS, NBC Universal, Fox, Disney/ABC, Miramax, Time Warner, Goldman Sachs, Marvel Studios, PBS, National Geographic, Univision, Danjaq (James Bond), Wal-Mart, Kmart, Best Buy, Conde Nast Entertainment, Mattel, and Hasbro/Tiger. Further, Mr. Rader has major international experience with leading companies such as Yian Studios (China Film Group), Dalian Wanda, Toho-Towa (Japan), BBC (UK), CJ Entertainment (Korea), ITV (UK), AB Svensk Filmindustri (Sweden), HIT Entertainment (UK), Mumbai Mantra (India), Sky (UK), Canal Plus/Studio Canal (France), and the World Bank as well as Chinese-government-affiliated entities.
Since 2013, Mr. Rader has been General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Ovation TV, America's only arts cable network, backed by major television/radio broadcaster Hubbard Broadcasting and distributed on AT&T/DirecTV, Comcast, Google Fiber, Spectrum (Charter/Time Warner Cable), and Verizon in approximately 50 million households in the United States. At Ovation TV, Mr. Rader has direct responsibility for all business and legal matters and human resources, including production, distribution, acquisitions, marketing, litigation and dispute resolution, government relations and lobbying, trademark and intellectual property, standards & practices, real estate, and corporate affairs (including board relations and M&A). Key accomplishments for Ovation include: (i) handling all business affairs, production, and clearance for over 300 annual hours of internal productions; (ii) obtaining rights for, clearing, and operationalizing "TV Everywhere" with major distributors, including AT&T/DirecTV, Verizon, Comcast, and Spectrum to enable rewind, playback, start-over, and catch-up rights for in-home and out-of-home exploitation on all devices and platforms (set-top box, mobile, internet, tablet), including acquiring thousands of hours of motion pictures and other programming from Disney, Warner Bros., MGM, NBC Universal, Sony, Paramount, Disney/ABC, Time Warner, Fox, Lionsgate, BBC, Sky, and ITV, including Ovation's most successful show Versailles from Banijay (formerly Zodiak) and Canal Plus; (iii) managing crucial negotiations (including high-stakes litigation with the world's largest media entertainment company) with major distribution affiliates such as AT&T/DirecTV, Comcast, Spectrum, and Verizon, leading to extremely successful outcomes in both rates and subscribers; (iv) overseeing successful corporate re-financing and managing board/corporate matters with key board members such as Hubbard Broadcasting and Perry Capital; (v) developing new OTT channels including acquiring content, negotiating distribution and syndication deals, and developing an app for both authenticated and non-authenticated VOD distribution on Apple, Android, and Roku platforms; and (vi) negotiating a major production, financing, and distribution deal to bring the legendary show Inside the Actors Studio to Ovation from a rival network.
Concurrently with his role as GC of Ovation, Mr. Rader has key roles in leading local, governmental, and non-profit organizations in transportation, retail, and education. Since his election in 2004 to the Board of Trustees of the 30,000 student/$500 million annual budget Santa Monica College, Mr. Rader has worked on cutting-edge regulatory and compliance issues such as online and distance education, ed tech, and public transportation and ridesharing/ride hailing (including with Uber, Lyft, and Zipcar). In addition, he has served on the Board of Directors (and currently serves as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee) of the $1.1 billion in annual revenues Downtown Santa Monica business improvement district (Third Street Promenade) since 2002. In 2013, Mr. Rader joined the Board of Directors of The KCRW Foundation which supports independent public radio station/podcaster KCRW (Los Angeles FM 89.9), world-renowned for its unique and eclectic programming mix of news, commentary, culture, and music.
From 2005 through 2013, Mr. Rader was outside counsel to major domestic and international clients, including five (5) years at Los Angeles' second-oldest law firm Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp and three (3) years at his own boutique law firm. As outside counsel, Mr. Rader's major accomplishments include: (i) establishing both firms' digital media practice groups, with a focus on ad sales, online and mobile distribution of film and television, original internet/mobile content, and online/mobile video gaming; (ii) closing a $1 billion securitization of the CSI franchise for CBS with Goldman Sachs and Alliance Atlantis; (iii) financing multiple independent motion pictures of up to $30 million budgets including both production and distribution (P&A); (iv) overseeing all aspects of the distribution, exploitation, and financing of a major theatrical film released on over 2,100 screens in 2012 with a $25 million P&A budget; (v) negotiating numerous reality television deals for or with such networks as Discovery, National Geographic Channel, Oprah Winfrey Network, NBC/Bravo, including Gordon Ramsay's deal for Master Chef with Reveille (now Endemol Shine) for the Fox Network; (vi) closing major sports promotional and endorsement deals, including with the NBA's Brooklyn Nets franchise for the $1 billion Brooklyn Arena opened in 2012; and (vii) negotiating critical and time-sensitive e-gaming deals, including with Activision Blizzard for World of Warcraft tournaments announced at the annual E3 convention.
Before that, Mr. Rader was at MGM Studios for nine (9) years, where he was Vice President and Head of Business Affairs for major EBITDA-contributing departments, including MGM Interactive and MGM.com for both direct-to-online content and video games on all platforms; MGM Domestic Television Distribution; MGM Consumer Products; and MGM Theme Parks. Further, as Acting and Deputy Head of Business Affairs for MGM Home Entertainment – MGM's largest division with $1.2 billion revenue and 4,000+ titles – he helped found MGM's direct distribution and to integrate the Orion Pictures and PolyGram libraries/assets. Mr. Rader had special responsibility for one of the largest film franchises in history (James Bond) across all platforms and advised on company-critical litigation. His major in-house accomplishments at MGM include: (i) transitioning MGM Home Entertainment from a pure licensing model to direct operational distribution with $1.2 billion in annual revenues, dealing with Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Kmart, Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, and all other major retailers and distributors; (ii) performing due diligence for MGM in connection with potential mergers or acquisitions with three separate multi-billion dollar studios; (iii) helping close the $5.5 billion sale of MGM to the Sony-Comcast-private equity consortium, including transitioning distribution to Sony Pictures Entertainment; and (iv) launching the successful James Bond CPG video game franchise in partnership with Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, and Nintendo with co-rights holder Danjaq (the Broccoli family). His experience includes all aspects in the retail/distribution supply chain, including manufacturing; factoring; pick, pack & ship; merchandising; preferential placement; scan-based transactions (SBT); vendor managed inventory (VMI); and marketing, advertising, and promotion including commercial tie-ins/tie-ups.
Mr. Rader graduated magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard College with a B.A. in sociology, winning the award for top sociology senior thesis. He obtained his Master's Degree from Stanford Graduate School in sociology focusing on organizational behavior and statistics. At Harvard Law School, Mr. Rader received his J.D. magna cum laude and delivered Harvard's graduate commencement address. Mr. Rader frequently speaks at industry events, including SAG/AFTRA, LA Business Today, the Producers Guild of America, Harvardwood (Harvard in Entertainment), and California Lawyers for the Arts and has been quoted in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, the AP newswire, Bloomberg TV and KCRW. Since 2004, he has been an adjunct Professor of Law at Pepperdine Law School, where he is affiliated with the Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law and the number-one ranked Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution. Mr. Rader is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, the organization behind the "Emmys".