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Lionsgate Ups Ron Schwartz, Jim Packer

9 Oct, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Ron Schwartz and Jim Packer

Schwartz and Packer will co-head home entertainment operations, reporting to co-COO Steve Beeks

Lionsgate Oct. 9 announced it has promoted Jim Packer and Ron Schwartz to be co-heads of worldwide home entertainment operations, reporting to Steve Beeks, co-COO and motion picture group president.

Packer will keep his current title and responsibilities as president of worldwide television and digital distribution while Schwartz will serve as president of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

The two executives will jointly run Lionsgate’s nearly $1 billion-a-year worldwide home entertainment operations. Packer’s promotion follows his recent signing of a new long-term agreement. Schwartz entered a new long-term deal with Lionsgate last year and has been upped from his previous position as president and GM of home entertainment sales and distribution.

Schwartz and Packer will both assume expanded responsibility for crafting the marketing strategies of the home entertainment group worldwide, melding digital and physical media as well as planning and executing strategic initiatives to capitalize on emerging opportunities in the global home entertainment marketplace.

“Ron and Jim have complementary skills and experience, and they bring strategic vision, marketing acumen and operational expertise to the opportunities created by fast-changing home entertainment consumption patterns,” Beeks said in a statement. “Under this new alignment, they will continue to lead a team of innovative and experienced executives in designing win/win scenarios for our digital and traditional partnerships alike as we expand the choices and enrich the quality and excitement of the home entertainment experience for our consumers.”

The promotions underscore Lionsgate’s focus on licensing film and television content to a broad and growing spectrum of digital platforms emerging alongside its traditional physical media partners. Lionsgate has been a first mover in customizing home entertainment release strategies for its content, including early EST, early VOD and day-and-date theatrical/VOD release windows for movies such as Arbitrage and Margin Call.

Under Packer and Schwartz’s leadership, Lionsgate continues to over-index the industry average in its DVD, VOD and digital-to-box office conversion rates. The company recently launched the successful home entertainment rollout of franchise-starter Divergent, which has become the biggest-selling EST title in the company’s history and substantially over-performed expectations in its packaged-media release as well.

Lionsgate became the first outside studio to license its titles to Comcast to facilitate their recent entry into the EST space, and the two companies have forged a long-term partnership to create motion picture apps built around specific film titles for Xfinity subscribers, beginning with the successful July 2014 launch of the Divergent app. The company also continues to build its prolific and prestigious library of 16,000 motion picture and television titles, complementing its own product with successful third-party distribution agreements with Miramax, Studiocanal, A&E and others.

Schwartz and Packer’s management team includes: EVP of marketing Anne Parducci, who, in addition to helping launch Lionsgate’s biggest home entertainment titles in recent years, has also grown its family home entertainment and faith-based lines of business; home entertainment COO Akin Ceylan, who helps guide the operational growth of the business; EVP of sales and distribution Jed Grossman, who helps lead the company’s home entertainment sales operations; recently-promoted EVP of worldwide digital distribution Thomas Hughes, who spearheads the growth of Lionsgate’s content licensing to digital platforms around the world; and Michael Youn, SVP of strategic planning and business development, who heads the home entertainment group’s planning functions.

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