Multi-platform media company What’s Trending announced on Monday that James Haffner joins the company in the newly created position of chief operating officer.
Working with What’s Trending co-founder Shira Lazar, Haffner will focus on expanding the company’s brand in four key areas – editorial content and media partnerships; original content development and branded entertainment; co-productions; and international expansion.
Launched in 2011, What’s Trending produces content ranging from short-form Trending Now short videos and What’s Trending variety shows to long-form live specials from CES, SXSW and award shows. It currently receives more than 20 million views per month across a variety of digital outlets, including YouTube, Dailymotion, Yahoo Screen, iHeartRadio, ClearTV, Complex and The Huffington Post.
Haffner comes to the company from DeFranco Creative, a millennial-focused online news source owned by Discovery Communications with more than 6 million subscribers and 2 million unique daily views. As executive producer, he oversaw business strategy and content development, helping build the company’s For Human Peoples merchandise division, which has sold more than $1.2 million in branded posters, T-shirts and cellphone cases annually.
In October 2014, What’s Trending expanded to India in partnership with Mumbai-based production company Culture Machine. With Haffner on board, it plans to expand to other territories around the globe with digital and traditional broadcast partners.