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Top New Line Video Execs Laid Off

18 Apr, 2008 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The big layoffs at New Line Cinema — Time Warner is cutting 450 positions in New York and Los Angeles as part of its absorption — are reportedly hitting the home entertainment division hard, sources say.

The majority of the home video operation's staff and executives are being pink-slipped effective June 27, including president and COO Steve Einhorn, who founded the division in November 1990. Einhorn is the only president the division — which routinely achieved a market share of 3% to 4%, just behind the six major studios and Lionsgate — has ever had.

Einhorn is considered the dean of the studio presidents, having served in that role at New Line longer than any other home entertainment studio president. During his tenure, annual revenue has grown from $43 million in 1990 to as high as $1 billion. Einhorn also structured and managed highly successful distribution partnerships, first with Columbia TriStar Home Video and then Warner Home Video.

A member of the committee that greenlights films at parent New Line Cinema, Einhorn also managed New Line Cinema acquisitions and coproductions for three years.

In home video circles, Einhorn is chiefly known for his early advocacy of DVD special features, which ultimately became one of the format's chief selling points. At New Line Home Entertainment, he launched the industry's first branded DVD “luxury” line, New Line's Platinum Series, and later developed another groundbreaking line, infinifilm, that played up value-added content and new technological features even more.

Under Einhorn's watch, New Line also brought to DVD the acclaimed “Lord of the Rings” trilogy with a variety of innovative consumer products, including extended editions of each film and premium-priced gift sets. New Line's home video release strategy, in which a vanilla version of the film is followed in the market by a beefier version with an extended cut of the film and hours of bonus features, is considered to be one of the industry's most complex and innovative new production introductions.

Also out are EVP of marketing Matt Lasorsa, EVP of sales Pam Kelley and financial EVP Ray Landes, along with most other marketing, sales and operations staffers, sources say. Some personnel have been offered opportunities to fill open positions at Warner Home Video.

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