Silicon Beach Report Jan. 2: Activision Appoints New CFO


Blizzard tweaks e-sports chats; Disney and Verizon sign deal; Durkin replaces Neumann at Activision Blizzard.

Disney, Verizon Solidify Deal

The San Fernando Valley Business Journal reports Burbank-based Walt Disney Co. and Verizon Communications Inc. have inked a deal for distributing ESPN and other East-coast, Disney-owned television channels to an estimated 4.6 million users. The contract between Disney and New York-based Verizon was set to expire Dec. 31, the day the deal was solidified.

Neumann Leaves Activision for Netflix

After being fired from Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard Inc. Dec. 31, former Chief Financial Officer Spencer Neumann has joined Netflix as its CFO. Activision, meanwhile, replaced Neumann with former Activision Chief Operating Officer Dennis Durkin. The Business Journal reports Activision did not give reason for Neumann’s dismissal but said it was unrelated to financial performance.

Blizzard Testing E-Sport Chat Moderation

In other Activision Blizzard news, the video game publisher announced Dec. 30 it will now use a chat moderation and identity verification system for its “Overwatch” e-sport fan chats, the latest step in cleaning up unruly online discourse after implementing a player infraction tracker in mid-Dec. Engadget reports the new tools’ trial started Dec. 28 and is likely part of Blizzard’s efforts to make the “Overwatch” video game more mainstream.

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