Warner Bros. realigns studio’s digital entertainment distribution operations

MUMBAI: Warner Bros. Entertainment has realigned its businesses involved in the digital delivery of entertainment content to consumers to create the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group and has named Kevin Tsujihara its president.

The Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group includes home video, online, wireless, games and anti-piracy and emerging technologies operations. Warner states that its founding is recognition of the ongoing changes in the way consumers view entertainment product and seeks to maximize current and next-generation distribution scenarios to make the Studio’s content available to audiences through as many channels, platforms and devices as possible.

The formation of the Home Entertainment Group also furthers the company’s mandate to harness the benefits of emerging technologies, as well as manage the risks these technologies pose to the economic value of the content. By grouping like business units and streamlining the process of delivering the Studio’s content to consumers in the format of their choice as conveniently as possible, Warner Bros. claims that it is well-positioned to maintain its industry-leading role in the rapidly evolving home entertainment marketplace, while moving the consumers’ home entertainment experience into a new era.

Concurrent with the founding of the Home Entertainment Group is the formation of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, a business unit within the Home Entertainment Group that will include Warner Bros. Online and Wireless, as well as the businesses handling electronic sell-through, video on demand (VOD), SVOD and pay-per-view. Warner Bros. Digital Distribution will manage the worldwide electronic distribution streams of the Studio’s product over existing, new and emerging digital platforms. Previously, management of these functions was handled by a number of different business units across the Studio.

Also, as part of the formation of the Home Entertainment Group, Tsujihara has named Ron Sanders as Warner Home Video president Warner Bros chairman and CEO Barry M. Meyer says, "At the end of the day, content drives our businesses. Our company’s strategic advantage is that we create innovative and unique content on a massive scale, be it television shows, animated characters or films of all sorts, from global blockbusters to small, local-language pictures.

“Warner Bros. operates on a global scale, and to fully realise our content’s potential, we must have the perspective of a global strategy. We must safely exploit our assets across every exhibition outlet available to us today and those developed in the future, while managing windowing structures so as not to cannibalize these assets and with a constant eye toward protecting them from digital theft. Kevin is a visionary executive, well versed in future-based technologies, and the ideal person to help us navigate the uncharted territories we’ll face with emerging and next-generation distribution and exhibition platforms. We’ll look to him and his expertise to help shape and execute the company’s digital strategies and business plans.”

The business units comprising the Home Entertainment Group include Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, Warner Home Video, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (including Warner Bros. Games), Warner Bros. Technical Operations and Warner Bros. Anti-Piracy Operations. Tsujihara will oversee the management of each of these divisions to fully integrate its operations into the overall objectives of the Home Entertainment Group.

Warner Home Video, headed by Sanders, will be the cornerstone of the Home Entertainment Group. In addition to spearheading the Studio’s move into next-generation, high-definition DVD, home video will continue to mine its unmatched library of film and television hits, expanding both its catalog and domestic franchise releases.

In the online and wireless arenas Warner Bros. Online senior VP and GM Jim Noonan will work through Warner Bros. Digital Distribution to fully maximise and exploit the promotion and marketing of the Studio’s entertainment titles across all current and future platforms.

Gaming is an arena in which the studio plans to increase its production and output levels of both original properties and those based on titles in the vast Warner Bros. library. Warner Bros. plans to integrate its game business into the Home Entertainment Group while continuing to work closely with Warner Bros. Consumer Products on its licensed titles.

The final components of the Home Entertainment Group are rights management, technical operations and anti-piracy technology. The aim will be to create, evaluate and best exploit new technologies, digital rights management applications and digital safeguards for securely delivering content across all current emerging distribution platforms.

Tsujihara said, “The great promise of digital technology and the development and implementation of digital rights management is that consumers will be able to choose how they want to consume content. We are entering an exciting time in the entertainment business when the consumer, empowered by new technologies, has an active role in the process instead of being a passive participant. As exhibition platforms, distribution channels and even technologies in the creative process continue to evolve, it’s our goal as a company to be a leader in offering unique and innovative entertainment options to the public.”

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