Experienced Global Media, Entertainment & Technology Executive
Thomas likes to say, “it’s a two-beer story.” From small town, South Carolina firefighter to Hollywood executive. His thirty-plus-year media-focused career has consistently evolved with the ever-changing and diversifying media landscape. Hughes has a bifurcated media career, with the first portion spent entirely in local media, primarily for local broadcast television stations. In 1999 he innocently stumbled into becoming the “digital guy” with his then role as marketing and promotions director at WPDE TV 15 (ABC) in Myrtle Beach/Florence, SC. The second chapter was spent in Hollywood working for two major studios, MGM and Lionsgate.
Since leaving Lionsgate in November 2019, Hughes hung out his own shingle, owning and operating Kingston Media Consulting, Inc., a global consulting firm specializing in strategy, content creation & distribution plus business development for media, entertainment & technology-related companies & professionals.
At Lionsgate over the course of nearly nine years, Hughes held a multifaceted position within the Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution division at Lionsgate, including negotiating all of the contractual agreements with key digital partners like Apple, Amazon, and Vudu, as well as MVPD partners Comcast, DirecTV, Charter, and Dish, among others. Hughes also lead the division’s strategic partnerships group which identified ways to monetize the company’s intellectual property among the rapidly emerging digital environment and played an instrumental role in Lionsgate’s launch on several new platforms.
Additionally at Lionsgate, Hughes oversaw consumer-facing channels like Vidmark and Tribeca ShortList, as well as Lionsgate’s non-theatrical distribution including airlines, hotels, and repertory businesses. Hughes also shepherded the Company’s exploration of new windowing strategies, including the day-and-date theatrical/VOD releases. He was a key member of the executive team which guided Lionsgate to industry leadership in VOD-to-box office and digital-to-box office conversion rates.
Thomas joined Lionsgate in March 2011 after serving as Vice President of Worldwide Digital at MGM for three years and prior to that, he was at Scripps leading a digital sales team. Hughes has years of diversified media experience including distribution, sales, marketing, production, and operations, with a major focus on innovating new business models for content creation and distribution in the digital marketplace.
Early in his career, Hughes served as the personal assistant for Emmy award-winning producer, director, and choreographer Kenny Ortega on projects like The Academy Awards, American Music Awards, Dirty Dancing (CBS television series), and countless music videos. Hughes spent the first fifteen years of his career in local broadcasting including both radio and television including WIS TV, South Carolina’s flagship NBC affiliate while studying Media Arts at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC.
Hughes is an adjunct professor of Media & Entertainment at Pepperdine’s Graziadio Business School Institute for Entertainment, Media, Sports, and Culture and Hughes serves on the advisory board of the Center for Marketing Solutions at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. He also served as guest lecturer for eleven years at the University of Southern California in a Masters-level course titled “Digital Technologies & Its Effect on the Media Business,” led by Professor David Baron, employee number seven at Hulu.