Michael Benson is best known for his innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial endeavors in the entertainment industry. He develops and implements strategic marketing campaigns that build brands, raise the creative bar, effectively engage audiences and drive business performance.
He is currently head of marketing for Amazon Studios/Amazon Prime Video, overseeing all marketing, promotional, branding and awards activities surrounding Amazon Original programming for Amazon Prime Video. He's charged with building a global marketing operation for the subscription digital video streaming service, as he launches and markets a wide range of adult and children's programming including Transparent, The Man in the High Castle, Mozart in the Jungle, Tumble Leaf and many more.
Prior to Amazon, he was president of Hurryback Inc., a company he created to apply entertainment marketing strategies and creative content development to drive audiences, brand engagement and revenue for digital and traditional media companies.
Mr. Benson has held significant executive, strategic and creative positions within several major entertainment media companies. As chief creative officer for the Time Warner Global Media Group, he developed partnerships with industry leading marketers to create and distribute premium content, applications and experiences that built brands and drove business growth through advertising revenue, marketing, programing, business development and corporate synergy opportunities across the Time Warner portfolio, including Warner Bros., Turner, HBO and Time Inc.
Prior to Time Warner, Mr. Benson spent over 12 years at the Walt Disney Company, serving as executive vice president, Marketing for ABC Entertainment Group. He oversaw all marketing and promotional activities for ABC Primetime, Late Night and ABC Studios programming. He created a host of globally-executed and highly recognized marketing campaigns for scripted and non-scripted series, specials, movies and mini-series, including Modern Family, Lost, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Dancing with the Stars, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Bachelor. He was a leader in formulating a vision for the development of a program franchising strategy that built shows like Lost and Desperate Housewives into global franchises that spurred significant growth for the company.
He created and launched the television industry’s first cross-platform, brand identity and viewer-navigation system with the ABC Start Here initiative and he was instrumental in the creation and development of the ABC Music Lounge, ABC’s first digital platform for music, tied to ABC programming and marketing efforts. He began at ABC in June of 1998 as senior vice president, Advertising and Promotion and implemented ABC’s infamous Yellow/TV is Good campaign to the general consumer.
Mr. Benson joined ABC from VH1/MTV Networks, where he was senior vice president, Promotion & Program Planning. He was instrumental in redefining VH1’s position as a cable music channel, creating a new brand position through the launch of original content. He programmed and launched the VH1 original series Behind the Music, Pop Up Video, Legends, Stortyellers and The Rock & Roll Picture Show. His work helped to reinvent music on television for an adult audience and contributed to significant ratings gains for the cable network.
Prior to VH1, Mr. Benson served as director of communications for KCBS-TV in Los Angeles, CA and held various positions at WCCO-TV, the CBS owned and operated station in Minneapolis, MN, where he began his career.
For his endeavors, Mr. Benson received ABC’s first marketing Emmy Award in 2009, was named an Entertainment Marketer of the Year in 2008, 2007 and 2005 by Ad Age and, in 2000, by Brandweek magazine. He was also recipient of the PromaxBDA and Brand Builder Award in 2004 and recipient of the Campaigns of Distinction Award in 2007 and 2004. Mr. Benson was named one of the top Hispanic marketers of the year by AdWeek’s Marketing y Medios Magazine in 2005.
Mr. Benson served on the Promax/BDA board of directors for 9 years, 5 of which he served as Chairman. He was an adjunct professor for Boston University, teaching media and entertainment marketing under a program based in Los Angeles, CA.
Married and father of three, Mr. Benson resides in Los Angeles, CA.