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Update: Sony Crowns Bishop for Big Corporate Role

2 May, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold

David Bishop

After weeks of speculation, it's official: David Bishop is in. The ex-president and COO of MGM Home Entertainment has been named president of worldwide brand integration strategy for Sony Pictures Entertainment. Bishop will report to the company's vice chairman, Jeff Blake.

Bishop will oversee the integration of MGM assets across the various Sony worldwide distribution entities, including the worldwide home entertainment, international theatrical and international television divisions. He also will work with senior Sony management to target and help coordinate the implementation of new business opportunities.

“My first priority is really getting MGM up and integrated into the Sony organization through every department,” Bishop said. He added that MGM under Sony will function similar to the way Miramax Films did under the Walt Disney Co., with the exception that Miramax was owned by Disney “and MGM is a complete and separate company that Sony has a minority interest in.”

In home entertainment, MGM will be a “distributed line” of Sony, functioning under Bishop's former top lieutenant, Blake Thomas, whose new title is EVP of home entertainment distribution for MGM.

“We're still in the very early stages, so the process we are going through now is really one of collaboration, where MGM people are meeting with Sony people and sharing strategies and results,” Bishop said. “Sony is going through the process of really looking at some of the practices that they'll be able to adapt to continue MGM's success in the market, and, additionally, Sony has its own ideas on how to further exploit the MGM product line.”

In addition to developing new special editions and collections from MGM's vast motion picture library of more than 4,000 titles, future plans will likely include customized programs and promotions for retailers.

“You have to treat a library like you would a portfolio,” Bishop said. “There are always opportunities that you can pull from. Once you have a critical mass of library in the pipeline and you understand a retailer's profile, you can pull from that vast amount of library content and create specific promotions and opportunities for that specific retailer. And those opportunities are ongoing.”

Bishop's integration efforts won't be limited to the home entertainment arena. On the international theatrical front, he will oversee a transition in distribution and marketing from Twentieth Century Fox to Sony. On the television side, he expects to “largely be a resource for Sony people to bridge the connection between Sony and MGM.”

Praising Bishop as “a highly respected entertainment executive with strong and innovative management experience in various areas of our business,” Blake said the video industry veteran's distribution and marketing expertise will play a key role in maximizing the potential of the company's portfolio and targeting future business opportunities.

Bishop has been with the MGM Home Entertainment group for more than 15 years, most recently as president and COO. Before joining MGM, Bishop spent three years at Live Home Video, where he was responsible for U.S. and Canadian home video operations and eventually became president and COO.

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