A little over three years since Discovery Networks hired him to oversee much of its new media planning strategy, Chris Schembri has defected to AT&T (NYSE: T), where he will oversee the telco’s $3.3 billion media spending, AdAge reported. Schembri will take on the new role of VP, media services.
Schembri has been credited with managing a number of digital initiatives while at Discovery, including a deal with Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ) that surely caught AT&T’s attention. As part of a promotion for Discovery’s fisherman adventure series “Deadliest Catch,” the cable network tied with Verizon on giving away free wallpapers, ringtones, mobisodes, polls and other content related to the program. Schembri also brought Discovery together with Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) by aligning the release of the “Halo 3″ Xbox game with Discovery’s “Last One Standing.” Another Xbox promo he worked on involved Discovery Channel’s “Future Weapons” and the “Gears of War” game. At AT&T, Schembri will work closely with Wendy Clark, SVP-advertising – the person who created his new post. Schembri’s departure is something of a blow to Discovery, which has been concentrating on building up its digital side, including marketing.