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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Koch and Cohen Were Successful Because Neither Ran a One-Man Band -- and They Leave Behind Strong Teams

9 Oct, 2000 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The departure of the top executives with two major home video suppliers isn't going to have much of an impact on their organizations---or on the business.

Both Mitch Koch of Buena Vista Home Entertainment and Richard Cohen of MGM Home Entertainment and Consumer Products leave behind strong, smart sales and marketing teams fully capable of carrying on in their leaders' absence.

Over at Disney, Mary Kincaid, Dennis Maguire and several others have been in place longer than I've been at Video Store Magazine. They were there when Bill Mechanic began exploiting the sellthrough market with his moratorium strategy, when Ann Daly pushed direct-to-video sequels for animated features and when Mitch Koch made an aggressive jump into the DVD market.

They learned from and worked alongside the best, and I don't expect any significant changes under any new regime. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, and Disney's mighty sales and marketing machine has consistently come out on top in the quarterly market share battles among studios in both the rental and the sellthrough arenas.

The same is true at MGM, where Cohen leaves behind several talented veterans, including David Bishop and Blake Thomas, who have consistently outshone their competitors in marketing savvy and skill. MGM was one of the first studios to recognize the value of its catalog, and what Bishop, Thomas and the crew have done with projects such as the James Bond collection is nothing short of brilliant.

MGM has also consistently led the way in DVD exploitation, positioning itself at the forefront of the curve. Just last week the studio announced it would release 400 titles from its 4,100-film catalog on DVD in 2001, nearly three times as many as it did this year.

MGM is also one of the few studios at which home video isn't walled off from theatrical, with the home entertainment unit having a definite voice in greenlighting movies. Again, expect that legacy to continue.

Part of Koch and Cohen's success at their respective organizations was due to their vision and strong leadership. But credit is also due to the fact that neither executive believed in running a one-man show.

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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