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DVD Awards Fete Industry Accomplishments

28 Jun, 2002 By: Kurt Indvik

The home video industry celebrated what may be its single biggest triumph — DVD — at the DVD at 5 Honors Awards dinner tonight with key drivers behind the format as well as studios recognized for “significant contributions to the growth and development of DVD in its first five years.”

The evening's final award went to Warner Home Video president Warren N. Lieberfarb, who was honored as “the father of DVD.”

“It was Warren Lieberfarb's passion, zeal and vision that gave birth to the DVD format,” said presenter Thomas K. Arnold of Video Store Magazine, which produced the awards with the DVD Entertainment Group.

Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group president Benjamin Feingold was honored for opening the international markets to DVD, Buena Vista Home Entertainment president Bob Chapek was honored for leading the Walt Disney Co. into the DVD age, and Emiel Petrone was honored for his leadership as founding chairman of the DVD Entertainment Group.

“Ben Feingold is certainly one of the key figures” behind DVD's growth and helped “shape our collective digital future,” Arnold said. Chapek and his team “are largely responsible for bringing the family market to DVD” and producing “some of the most superb and advanced DVDs on the market,” noted Don Rosenberg, Video Store Magazine's publisher and presenter, with Arnold, of the awards.

The major studios all received honors “because it was their collective support for this format that really made DVD happen,” Rosenberg said.

DreamWorks Home Entertainment was recognized for broadening the marketing for DVD with such high-profile releases as Gladiator and Shrek, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment was honored for elevating the special edition, MGM Home Entertainment was acknowledged for its aggressive release of catalog titles on DVD, and New Line Home Entertainment was recognized for pushing the envelope with special features, particularly on its infinifilm line.

“New Line Home Entertainment chief Stephen Einhorn was an early proponent of special features, talking up the value of bonus materials at a time when most others were focused on DVD's superior sound and picture quality,” Rosenberg said.

Paramount Home Entertainment was recognized for restoring classics like “The Godfather” trilogy, while Universal Studios Home Video was honored for event marketing of its DVDs.

“Universal has a rich tradition of treating its DVD releases like major theatrical premieres, exciting consumers,” Rosenberg said.

Two independents also were on the night's honor roll. Artisan was recognized as one of the first independents to get on the DVD bandwagon as well as for innovations in packaging, content and marketing. Image Entertainment was honored as the top supplier of DVD product, with more releases under its belt than anyone else.

Warner Bros. Records was honored for reviving the long-form music video on DVD.

The DVD at 5 Honors Awards dinner was part of DVD at 5: A Conference Commemorating DVD's Fifth Anniversary, produced by Video Store Magazine and the DVD Entertainment Group, and presented by the DVD Forum. The event continues Friday at the Marina Beach Marriott in Marina Del Rey, Calif.

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