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Sanders New President of Warner Home Video; Cardwell Out

25 Oct, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Ron Sanders

In one of the biggest studio shakeups in recent memory, Warner Bros. has formed an umbrella group for all its business units involved in the digital delivery of entertainment to consumers.

The new Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group includes home video, online, wireless, games, and anti-piracy and emerging technologies operations.

The president of the new group is Kevin Tsujihara, who reports directly to Warner Bros.' two top executives, chairman and CEO Barry M. Meyer and president and COO Alan F. Horn. Tsujihara previously had been the studio's EVP of corporate business development and strategy for three years; before that, he was EVP of new media.

As part of the restructuring, Ron Sanders becomes president of Warner Home Video, replacing the exiting Jim Cardwell, who became president in January 2003, a month after his predecessor, Warren Lieberfarb, was fired. Cardwell had joined Warner Home Video in 1983 and prior to his promotion had been EVP North America.

Also out at Warner: Marsha King, who as EVP and GM of Warner Home Video had been Cardwell's top lieutenant.

Sanders has been with Warner for 15 years, most recently as EVP and general manager, North America, a position he assumed in January 2003. Before that, he was SVP and co-managing director of Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“At the end of the day, content drives our businesses,” Meyer said in a statement. “Warner Bros. operates on a global scale, and to fully realize our content's potential, we must have the perspective of a global strategy.”

Horn added, “We know that people aren't just sitting on the couch and watching TV anymore — they're into DVD, video games, video-on-demand, the Internet, PDAs and more.”

As a content provider, Horn said, it is “absolutely in our best interest to responsibly meet consumer demand for our product across as many of these exhibition platforms as possible.”

Meyer describes Tsujihara as a “visionary executive” and “the ideal person to help us navigate the uncharted territories we'll face with emerging and next-generation distribution and exhibition platforms.”

Warner Home Video will be the “cornerstone” of the new Home Entertainment Group, the studio says, spearheading the move into a next-generation, high-definition optical disc format.

Also part of the Home Entertainment Group: Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, which includes Warner Bros. Online and Wireless as well as the businesses handling electronic sellthrough, VOD, SVOD and pay-per-view; Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, which includes Warner Bros. Games; Warner Bros. Technical Operations and Warner Bros. Anti-Piracy Operations.

In the online and wireless division, Jim Noonan, SVP and general manager of Warner Bros. Online, will work “to fully maximize and exploit the promotion and marketing of the studio's entertainment titles across all current and future platforms,” according to Warner.

Warner's game business will be integrated into the Home Entertainment Group under the leadership of Jason Hall, SVP of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Hall and his team will continue to work closely with Warner Bros. Consumer Products on licensed titles.

In the rights management, technical operations and anti-piracy technology arenas, Tsujihara and his team will closely with Chris Cookson, president of Warner Bros. Technical Operations; Darcy Antonellis, SVP of Warner Bros. Anti-Piracy Operations; and Dean Marks, SVP of Intellectual Property.

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