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Update: Fox Ups Dunn to Worldwide Home Entertainment President

28 Apr, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold

With an eye toward strong future overseas growth, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has consolidated its domestic and international units into a new worldwide division headed by Mike Dunn.

Dunn, currently domestic president, becomes president, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment Worldwide. Keith Feldman, EVP of international sales and marketing, will report directly to Dunn, as will all operations of the international home entertainment division, its Los Angeles-based team and its offices in 14 territories around the globe.

Fox becomes the fourth major studio with domestic and international divisions rolled into one. The others are Paramount Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video. Paramount just created a new EVP of worldwide marketing and development post, filled by Alex Carloss, formerly SVP of marketing for MGM Home Entertainment.

Observers say such consolidation makes sense. While in the past, the home entertainment markets domestically and abroad ran parallel courses, the influx of DVD has changed the equation. The foreign markets are running behind the United States, and studios can apply much of what they learned here overseas.

Analyst Tom Adams, president of Adams Media Research, noted that the explosive growth of DVD sales in the United States has made foreign home video revenue a smaller piece of the overall home entertainment pie, “at least for now.”

“DVD growth is likely to slow in the United States, as we now are at about 70 percent penetration. The penetration rate overseas is only about 30 percent to 40 percent in most countries,” Adams said. “Hence, going forward, we would expect growth overseas to be stronger.”

Dunn has been at Fox for 18 years. He was named domestic president two years ago after a long tenure as EVP of sales and marketing. Before that, he was SVP, Europe, for Fox's international division.

Fox's home entertainment unit is known throughout the industry as a consistent overperformer, with its releases scoring exceptionally high video-to-theatrical ratios. Under Dunn's leadership, Fox has grown an average of 35 percent a year, thanks to its consumer-concentrated marketing and strong sellthrough focus (Fox serves as category captain for Target Stores, the Hollywood studios' No. 2 customer). Fox also helped start the booming TV DVD business with its “X-Files” franchise.

Calling Dunn “the best in the business” and Feldman a “rock-solid executive,” Fox Filmed Entertainment chairmen Jim Gianopulos and Tom Rothman in a joint statement said combining the two divisions “enables us to take advantage of the expertise of both divisions.

“Both our domestic and international divisions have enjoyed enormous success and garnered a growing share of their respective markets,” Gianopulos and Rothman said. “Looking forward, we see continued growth in North America and the potential for an even greater expansion of the video purchasing habit and retail infrastructure internationally.”

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