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Ascendancy of a Dot-bomber

26 Oct, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

News this week that Kevin Tsujihara had been named president of Warner Bros.' nascent Home Entertainment Group was noteworthy in part because Tsujihara's career should have gone up in flames following the infamous dot-com bubble burst of the early 2000s.

Back then I interviewed Tsujihara, who, as EVP of new media, waxed poetic about Entertaindom.com, Warner Bros.' short-lived attempt to establish a beach head on the then premature Internet and deliver new and catalog product seamlessly to consumers.

Like many dot-com executives at the time, Tsujihara saw a new world order that circumvented the status quo — most notably staid brick-and-mortar retail — and now in hindsight, probably common sense as well.

Wall Street venture capitalists (and the studios) poured millions into start-up entertainment portals and Web sites that all but promised to do away with the studio system, make media instant and interactive and turned scruffy twenty-something dreamers into multimillionaires full of attitude, and in some cases, infamy.

To his credit, Tsujihara, a true early adopter of digital entertainment, didn't turn his back on packaged media and patiently licked his wounds as VP of business development. He reportedly worked behind the scenes to help Warner Bros.' compromise between rival next generation formats HD DVD and Blu-ray — a feat undoubtedly worthy of promotion.

In a sense, Tsujihara has come full circle, no doubt a lot wiser.

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