Rob Rader is a highly experienced general counsel with eighteen (18) years of general counsel and business affairs experience for high-growth digital media companies, multi-billion dollar media companies, and retailers, and major and boutique law firms, including over $7 billion of M&A and financings. Much of his experience involves fast-growing companies in digital media with a focus on the content, mobile, video games, OTT, MCNs, apps, ad sales, e-commerce, retail and consumer sectors, including such major digital companies as VICE, Amazon, YouTube, Machinima, Maker Studios, SpinMedia, AOL, Collective Digital Network, the Orchard (Sony),
Bo-ing 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/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. Mr. Rader has major international experience with leading companies such as Yian Studios (China Film Group), Dalian Wanda, Toho-Towa (Japan), CJ Entertainment (Korea), AB Svensk Filmindustri (Sweden), HIT Entertainment, Mumbai Mantra (India) and the World Bank.
Presently, he is General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Ovation TV cable network, a 50 million household cable network focused on the arts, and previously spent nine (9) years at MGM where he helped run business affairs and operations for numerous departments, including the $1.2 billion home entertainment division. He also worked for seven (7) years at the major law firms Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp and Morrison & Foerster before joining a boutique digital media and entertainment firm as a name partner. Mr. Rader graduated with top honors from Harvard Law School, Stanford Graduate School and Harvard College and both the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Association of Media & Entertainment Counsel have recently recognized him for his in-house accomplishments.
Throughout his career, Mr. Rader has been the “go-to” executive tasked with handling complex, emerging issues and sectors, especially in new technology and digital media. His experience spans the gamut of legal, business and operational aspects of digital and traditional media with specialty fields in content, mobile, online/internet, interactive media, advertising, and significant international experience. As a legal counsel, he has handled all aspects of financing, acquisition, development, production, promotion, distribution and licensing of television, cable/satellite/telco, film, video, consumer products, location-based entertainment, video games, mobile and digital content for studios and outside clients including experience in all forms of distribution (digital, theatrical, television, non-theatrical, home entertainment/CPG, radio and stage theatrical) and ancillary exploitations (merchandising, commercial tie-ins and tie-ups, mobile phones, apps, print publication, video games, theme parks and location-based entertainment, soundtrack and music publishing). Rader’s major skills include overseeing all operations, including human resources and risk management/insurance issues; running in-house business and legal departments for media and retail/consumer companies, including supervising in-house and outside counsel for transactional, litigation, corporate, trademark and bankruptcy matters; and business development activities such as strategic partnerships and financing.
Currently, Mr. Rader is General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Ovation TV, America’s only arts cable network backed by major broadcaster Hubbard Broadcasting and distributed on DIRECTV, Comcast, DISH, Time Warner Cable, Verizon and AT&T 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, marketing, litigation, intellectual property, real estate, and corporate affairs (including board relations and M&A). His chief accomplishments for Ovation include: (i) handling all business affairs, production, and clearance for over 200 annual hours of internal productions; (ii) obtaining rights for, instituting clearance of and operationalizing, “TV Everywhere” with major distributors, including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, DIRECTV and Time Warner Cable to enable rewind, playback, catch-up rights both in and out-of-home exploitation on all devices and platforms (mobile, internet, tablet), including acquiring thousands of hours of motion pictures and other programming from Disney, Warner Bros., MGM, NBC Universal, Sony, Paramount, BBC and ITV; (iii) supervising key negotiations (including litigation) with major distribution affiliates, leading to extremely successful outcomes in terms of both rates and subscribers; (iv) overseeing successful corporate re-financing and managing board/corporate matters with key board members such as Hubbard Broadcasting, Perry Capital and Harvey Weinstein. In recognition of his accomplishments at Ovation, in 2014, the Los Angeles Business Journal named Rader a finalist for Corporate Counsel of the Year and, in 2015, the Association of Media & Entertainment Counsel awarded him the Entertainment Counsel of the Year for his work in digital media and unscripted/reality productions.
Immediately prior to Ovation, Mr. Rader was outside counsel to major domestic and international clients at Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp for five years and as a name partner at his own boutique law firm Schwarcz, Rimberg, Boyd & Rader for three years. As outside counsel, Mr. Rader’s major accomplishments include: (i) establishing both firms’ digital media practice groups focusing on ad sales, online and mobile distribution of film and television, original inter-net/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) multiple financings of independent motion pictures of up to $30 million budgets for both production and distribution (P&A); (iv) overseeing all aspects of the distribution and exploitation of a major theatrical film franchise 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 Fox, Discovery, National Geo-graphic Channel, Oprah Winfrey Network, NBC/Bravo, including Gordon Ramsay’s deal for Master Chef with Reveille (Shine) for the Fox Network; and (vi) closing major sports promotional and endorsement deals, including with the NBA Nets franchise for the new $1 billion Brooklyn Arena opened in 2012.
Before his recent law firm experience, 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 digital/online production and distribution, domestic television distribution, video games and DVDs (CPG), consumer products, and location-based entertainment, and Deputy Head of Business Affairs for the $1.2 billion revenue 4,000+ title home entertainment CPG division, where he helped integrate the Orion and PolyGram libraries/assets. Major in-house accomplishments at MGM include: (i) the transition of 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) due diligence for MGM in connection with potential mergers or acquisitions in connection with two separate multi-billion dollar studios; (iii) the $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. His experience includes all aspects in the retail/distribution supply chain, including manufacturing, factoring, pick, pack & ship, merchandising, preferential placement, scan-based transactions and vendor managed inventory.
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. Following Stanford, Mr. Rader attended Harvard Law School where he received his J.D. magna cum laude and delivered Harvard’s graduate commencement address. He 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 and has guest lectured at UCLA Extension and USC on digital media.
Finally, Mr. Rader is highly active in public service. He is an elected Trustee and Chair of the Board of Santa Monica College, the nation’s top community college with over 30,000 students and an annual budget of $250 million, representing the people of Santa Monica and Malibu. As a member of the Board of Directors of Downtown Santa Monica Inc., he serves as Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee for the nation’s leading business improvement district that manages the Third Street Promenade retail area, generating sales of over $900 million. Mr. Rader serves on the Board of Directors of the KCRW Foundation which supports the nation’s leading independent public radio station KCRW (89.9 in Los Angeles), world-renowned for its unique and eclectic programming mix of news, commentary, culture, and music. Recently, he was named a 50 x 50 Champion of The Women in Public Service Project, a program of the Global Women’s Leadership Initiative at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, which works to increase women’s leadership worldwide.
He has a son, Dashiell, and a daughter, Zora.