Cannes Lions has announced that Richard Plepler, CEO of HBO, will receive the 2014 Media Person of the Year award on Tuesday, 17 June in the Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France.
Each year, the organisers of Cannes Lions present this accolade to a prominent personality, who is an influential figure in the development of today's media landscape, ultimately playing an integral part in shaping the future of the global advertising and communications industry.
Plepler is responsible for the overall management of the world's most successful pay TV service, which provides the two television networks - HBO and Cinemax - to over 114 million subscribers worldwide. The services offer the most popular subscription video-on-demand products: HBO On Demand, Cinemax On Demand, HBO GO, MAX GO, HD feeds and multiplex channels; and HBO programming is sold into over 150 countries globally.
Successful series reap awards
Following mega-hits such as The Sopranos and Sex and the City, Plepler is credited with reinvigorating the network in partnership with Michael Lombardo, president of HBO Programming, after green-lighting some of its most successful series including True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom, Game of Thrones and True Detective, which rank among the top programmes in the network's history.
Additional award-winning programmes include the miniseries Mildred Pierce and Generation Kill; and HBO Films include Too Big To Fail, Temple Grandin, Taking Chance, Grey Gardens, Game Change, You Don't Know Jack and The Normal Heart. Plepler also drove Cinemax's first foray into primetime originals with the popular action series Strike Back.
"Under Plepler's leadership, HBO has proved that reports of the death of television were extremely premature. By putting excellence in content first and last, and by creating highly acclaimed and award-winning shows, he has boosted audiences around the world whilst establishing a widespread and active international fan base," says Philip Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions. "Cannes Lions is delighted to recognise his achievements and present him with the Media Person of the Year award."
After graduating and joining the staff of Senator Christopher Dodd, Plepler founded RLP, his own consultancy specialising in strategic communication and production 1985-1992. In 1992, he joined HBO as senior VP corporate communications; promoted to executive VP corporate communications in 1997; named executive VP HBO, in 2002; and elevated to co-president, HBO, in 2007 before taking on his current role in 2013.
Commenting on the award, Plepler says, "I couldn't be more honoured to accept this prestigious award on behalf of the network. It has always stood for excellence and quality across all levels of our business both domestically and around the world. To join such a distinguished list of honourees and their great companies is a special privilege."