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UPDATE: Amodei New President at USA

22 Jun, 2001 By: Stephanie Prange

Showing USA Films’ confidence in the current home video team, Joe Amodei has been promoted to president of USA Home Entertainment, stepping into a position that has been vacant since Stuart Snyder’s resignation a year ago.

Amodei, who will oversee all of the division’s operations, will report directly to USA Films chairman Scott Greenstein. “Joe’s really been a driving force,” Greenstein says. “He was running it the whole time anyway. It’s just a statement to the outside world of what we knew internally.”

Formerly v.p. and general manager, Amodei says it is USA’s small, but veteran home video team that has helped him bring such titles as the Oscar-lauded Traffic to market.

“The success of Traffic has put us on the map as far as the industry is concerned, but also within the company as well,” he says.

Traffic, which streeted May 29, shipped 2 million units on DVD and another 1 million on VHS.

Despite the home video department’s small size of about 25 employees, Amodei says he’ll stick with the team. “We have a very small staff compared to most other video divisions,” he says. “Inspite of that, we are able to consistently pull off numbers on product.”

Parent USA Films, which brought Traffic to the division, in the next six months will theatricallyrelease The Man Who Wasn’t There, from the Coen brothers; Possession, with Gwyneth Paltrow; and Gosford Park, from director Robert Altman.

Amodei expects to release 10 to 15 theatrical features on video a year and an equal amount of direct-to-video releases.

The home video division will also continue to cull product from and cross-promote with USA sister divisions. USA Network recently supplied the division with the miniseries Attila, which shipped50,000 units on DVD.

On the sellthrough side, Amodei says USA will focus its efforts with three of the major professional sports leagues (USA recently lost Major League Baseball) on “alternative outlets.” That would include selling the videos to companies to use as premiums, such as it has done in the past withSports Illustrated. Premium programs can sell anywhere from 5,000 to 50,000 units. The upcoming Lakers championship video, slated to street July 17, will be part of a Sports Illustrated premium inLos Angeles.

Wide-appeal sports titles, such as the upcoming October release of the Ultimate Michael Jordan DVD set, will have a broader focus.

Amodei also expects to rebuild USA’s catalog through acquisitions — an increasingly important assetwith the advent of DVD.“When PolyGram left, we unfortunately lost a lot of our catalog,” he notes.

Prior to USA’s formation, Amodei was national director of sales with predecessor company PolyGram Video. Before joining PolyGram in 1997, he was East Coast sales director at Turner Home Entertainment.

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