Ira Rubenstein is a powerhouse tech executive with a strong track record of establishing and evolving digital entertainment business campaigns. Currently, he is the Chief Digital and Marketing Officer at PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, where he leads online consumer experiences. With over 20 years of experience in marketing and the entertainment business at Sony, Marvel Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, he is a master of content creation and platform optimization. He knows how to lead strategic digital initiatives and grow a brand's online presence with intelligent innovative digital marketing. He has grown large companies' websites, established some of the first Internet marketing strategies, overseen content development, and distribution, and negotiated with major networks globally. Rubenstein is a pivotal figure in today’s entertainment industry and his work has probably made an appearance in your life and you didn’t know it.
Evolving Digital Presence with Excellence
He joined PBS in 2014 as the Senior Vice President and General Manager, PBS Digital, where he led the expansion to a variety of platforms, like mobile devices and over-the-top (OTT) services. In a little over 7 years, he attentively evolved and upgraded PBS’ entire online presence while driving traffic to the station's websites and growing donations. Currently, he leads a team of 145 people!
Some of many accomplishments with the television broadcasting company include implementing and scaling of digital services, an updated PBS.org website, lead the development of a video offering platform known as Passport, and expanded PBS Digital Studios, to name just a few things.
PBS Digital Studios is a network of originally produced content made for digital programming like YouTube and Facebook Watch. The success of PBS Digital Studios has garnered Webby awards, the coveted Internet prize, for the series It’s Okay to Be Smart, Physics Girl, and Crash Course. Ira’s leadership is taking PBS in the right direction because just in 2021, PBS won 12 Webby Awards! Currently, there are 20 original series available online with an average of 50 million views a month. There’s been a lot of eyeballs on this online platform, with two billion views in its entire lifetime! Popular channels include Voices and Deep Look. He has really upped PBS’ game online, though unsurprising considering his lengthy history in the entertainment industry.
Leading Content Creation for the Film Industry
Leading seems to come naturally for Rubenstein, as it’s evident in his previous projects. Prior to his success at PBS, Rubenstein was making big strides in the digital entertainment business. He has served as the Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors for mobile media company MeeMee Media.
He worked for 20th Century Fox as the Executive Vice President, Digital Marketing in 2011. There he initiated the Digital Marketing organization and spearheaded social and mobile campaigns for blockbuster films like X-Men: First Class, Prometheus, Chronicle, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, and many more. These campaigns received press not only for the film’s but also for the marketing originality behind their promotion. This was Rubenstein’s second run with 20th Century Fox, a decade before he was the Manager of Film Research and New Media from 1991-1995. He was at the forefront of Internet advancement and worked with once-dominant services like AOL, Prodigy, and CompuServe.
Preceding that position, Rubenstein held the Executive Vice President role at Marvel Entertainment’s Global Digital Media Group. His work as Marvel landed him a spot on The Hollywood Reporter’s “Digital Power 50” in 2011. He amassed more awards in this period at Marvel. Under his direction, they launched an award-winning Marvel Digital Comics iPad app. Optimization continued with websites, digital video distribution, and digital comics.
His position at Marvel was a success probably due to his extensive experience working at Sony for 12 years. At Sony, he carried out his services as Executive Vice President, Content Strategy and Acquisitions. His skillfulness in managing content is evident in his accomplishments with Sony. For example, he oversaw the establishment of Movielink - a web-based video on-demand service that was a total novelty at the time. He grew the online presence of household shows like Wheel of Fortune, JEOPARDY! and Seinfeld and gave customers access to their favorite shows with an online experience.
Continued Service to the Industry
Even with all this amazing work he is churning out, Ira continues his engagement with the entertainment industry regardless of his busy schedule. He has been a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for over 17 years and participates in the Marketing and Public Relations Brand Executive Committee at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He is also the current Treasurer and board member of Hollywood in Pixels, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving digital marketing campaigns from Hollywood for future generations to access.
The start of his digital legacy began at the University of California, San Diego, where he received a B.A. in Management Science and later at the University of Southern California with an M.F.A. from the Peter Stark Producing Program.
Since the internet burgeoned in the 90’s Rubenstein has been at the helm of the latest in innovation and online services. He has seen many platforms and softwares come and go in this tenure, constantly working in digital new media. With substantial experience working with some of the most well-known entertainment networks, producers, and films in Hollywood, we can’t wait for MediaTech’s Ted Cohen to engage him in conversation.
Hang out with these two industry veterans on October 6th at 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm CST HERE!
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