Feingold to head digital initiative.
In the third major studio shake-up related to digital delivery, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced a massive reorganization Wednesday that finds division president Benjamin Feingold getting a new title and new responsibilities.
Feingold, president since 1994, becomes president of worldwide home entertainment, digital distribution and acquisitions. Already the studio's point person for Blu-ray Disc, he also will lead the charge into other digital territories, including Internet downloads and video-on-demand.
Feingold has added a troika of executives to his senior management team. David Bishop will oversee Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's North American business, Matt Brown will oversee the division's European business, and Sean Carey will head its digital distribution business.
Bishop, the longtime head of MGM Home Entertainment, joined Sony in May as president of worldwide brand integration, a position created to manage Sony's assumption of the MGM catalog. His new title is president, North America, for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. He reports to Feingold.
Brown, previously senior vp worldwide franchise properties, becomes executive vp Europe. He will report to Adrian Alperovich, newly upped to senior executive vp international from executive vp international.
Carey, previously senior vp corporate development for Sony Pictures Entertainment, becomes executive vp digital distribution and product acquisitions for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. He also reports to Feingold. He will focus on developing and managing the North American distribution of movies and other content via the Internet as well to such mobile devices as cell phones and PlayStation Portables. He also will oversee all business aspects of the home entertainment unit's production and acquisition group as well as negotiate key acquisition agreements.
"This month, we started selling movies through digital downloads over the Internet, and next month, we begin to sell Blu-ray Discs for the very first time," Feingold said. "With the digital market poised for growth, now is the time for us to organize ourselves to reap the full benefits of this new era, and to maintain and expand our leadership position in the home entertainment market."
Feingold said that one reason for the reorganization is to remove him from day-to-day operations and give him more time to look at distribution from a "big picture" perspective.
"We need to expand our digital business," he said. "It's very nascent, but what's going to happen over the next few years is going to be very significant. At the same time, we need to continue to build out our Blu-ray Disc supply chain, and we need to control that very carefully."
The reorganization comes after similar shuffles at Paramount Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video. In each case, the reorganizations were driven by a desire to better manage and prepare for changes in content distribution.
"The changes in technology and consumer interests demand that we be innovative and visionary in our approach to home entertainment," said Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. "The digital market has evolved to the point where it has earned its own place in our home entertainment business ... and that's why we're making the strategic moves necessary to ensure that we aggressively market this business in the months and years ahead."
Sony's new download business, through Movielink and CinemaNow, is of particular import, said Amy Pascal, chairman of the Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Pictures Group.
"While nothing can replace the theatrical experience, we want people to have the opportunity to see our movies in their homes or wherever they desire," she said. "The Internet can make it easier for more people to see more of our films, and we're proud to be opening up this new avenue to entertainment."
Feingold also announced several other promotions.
Robin Russell has been named senior executive vp and general manager worldwide for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and continues to report to Feingold.
Marshall Forster has been upped to senior executive vp North America and now reports to Bishop.
Lexine Wong has been promoted to senior executive vp worldwide marketing and will report to Feingold on the international and new-format side and to Bishop on the domestic front.
All three had been executive vps.