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Beyond the Glass Ceiling

23 Sep, 2008 By: Thomas K. Arnold

In our current issue, Home Media Magazine honors the women of home entertainment, a smart and savvy group of executives who are leading our industry at a time when we are at a critical crossroads.

DVD, the format that led our industry to unprecedented growth over the past 11 years, is now mature, and sales have leveled. Blu-ray Disc, the format that will likely allow packaged media to survive, and even thrive, in an increasingly digital world, isn’t “there” yet. Sales are climbing impressively, but the format is still a good year or two away from mainstream adoption.

As our industry buckles down to weather the transition, we find a significant percentage of top industry executives are women. We decided to profile some of them in this issue, and as I edited senior reporter Chris Tribbey’s nearly 6,000-word report on the women of home entertainment, I found some similarities among the honorees. Specifically, they are well-educated, well-rounded and in positions of increasing importance, both at their own company and within our industry. While there is just one worldwide president of a major studio’s home entertainment division — Kelley Avery of Paramount — there are more than a half-dozen other business and marketing leaders who essentially call the shots at their respective studios, from developing and implementing an overall Blu-ray Disc strategy and overseeing every stage in the product distribution cycle to acquisitions, packaging, sales and marketing, and fulfillment.

The import of women isn’t limited to the studio system. Amy Jo Smith, executive director of DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, is now taking the lead in promoting awareness of Blu-ray Disc to the world at large. Jill Hamburger at Best Buy is a trendsetting retail executive whose empire happens to be one of the country’s biggest sellers of DVD software. And there are several other women who run, or have founded, independent DVD suppliers — entrepreneurial mavens who have been taking pot shots at the proverbial glass ceiling for years.

So congratulations to all the women of home entertainment. And lest I forget, let me also give kudos to the women of Home Media Magazine: Stephanie Prange, Angelique Flores, Kyra Kudick, Renee Rosado, Julie Savant, Joni Wu, Kristina Kronenberg, Kaitlyn DeWaard, Jennifer Evans, Brady Gallardo and Jennifer Guerena. Hey, that’s more than half the staff …

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