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UPDATE: Doctorow Out, Lesinski In at Paramount

9 Jan, 2003 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Eric Doctorow has become the third studio home video president to exit his post in the last month, with Paramount Pictures management installing Tom Lesinski, who previously ran domestic home video for Warner Bros., in his place.

The announcement comes just one day after Lesinski's boss at Warner Home Video, Jim Cardwell, was promoted to president there, replacing Warren Lieberfarb, who was fired in December.

Lieberfarb's dismissal came on the heels of the resignation of Fox Home Entertainment president Pat Wyatt.

Doctorow has been at Paramount since 1983, rising through the ranks from VP of sales and marketing to SVP and general manager in 1988, to EVP in 1990, to president of domestic home video in 1993 and, finally, president of worldwide home entertainment in 1994.

Under Doctorow's watch, Paramount released one of the top-selling videos of all time, Titanic, and recently strengthened its commitment to DVD with elaborate restorations of Sunset Boulevard and Roman Holiday.

“The past 20 years have been more rewarding than I could have ever imagined,” Doctorow said. “I feel I accomplished a great deal, and I believe the company is in a very solid position to grow and prosper in the future.”

Observers question whether the hiring of Lesinski signals a major shift in Paramount Home Entertainment strategy. While other studios have been gung-ho on DVD, Paramount has clung to both VHS and the traditional rental model. Paramount continues to release most of its VHS cassettes at rental prices, while in the DVD arena has sought higher margins and lower volume.

By hiring Lesinski, one observer asked, “Is [Viacom Entertainment Group chairman] Jonathan Dolgen looking to adopt the Lieberfarb strategy of low margins, low unit pricing and ubiquitous distribution?”

How do you think the recent top home video management changes at several major studios will affect the business?Talk About it Here!

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