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Celebrating the Women of Home Entertainment

14 Nov, 2011 By: Thomas K. Arnold

For the fourth consecutive year, Home Media Magazine salutes the women of home entertainment with our annual tribute to the most influential female executives in home entertainment. When we launched this project in 2008 the industry was at a crossroads, with DVD sales flattening, Blu-ray Disc acceptance lukewarm, and digital distribution more a pipe dream than anything else.

At the time I wrote, “As our industry buckles down to weather the transition, we find a significant percentage of top industry executives are women. … 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.”

The industry has changed a lot over the past three years. DVD is clearly a mature, and declining, format, while Blu-ray Disc, after a rocky start, is finally being embraced by mainstream consumers the way we could only dream it would be in 2008. As for digital distribution, well, let’s just say that no one back then could have imagined there would be so many channels to bring entertainment into the home, and that Facebook — at the time an upstart challenger to MySpace in the nascent social networking space — would be among them.

One thing that hasn’t changed is that physical media continues to be the dominant distribution method for home entertainment. Another thing that’s remained the same: the caliber of our women executives. As I wrote back then, our list includes “more than half a dozen 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.” And, once again, we also have our fair share of “trendsetting retailers” and “entrepreneurial mavens who have been taking pot shots at the proverbial glass ceiling for years.”

The 2011 edition of our Women in Home Entertainment tribute is running in our Nov. 14 issue, and for the second consecutive year we are producing a gala luncheon to honor these women the day after the issue debuts — this year it’s on Tuesday, Nov. 15, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

I’d also again like to issue a special callout to our own women of home entertainment: Stephanie Prange, Angelique Flores, Julie Savant, Renee Rosado and Ashley Ratcliff. They’re a critical part of the Home Media team. Julie has been with us for longer than I have, and I’m celebrating my 20th anniversary here this month. Renee and Stephanie came along shortly after I did, while Angelique joined in 2004 and Ashley, our newcomer, joined our team last year.

This year also saw the passing of veteran home entertainment publicist Maria LaMagra, who spent nearly 30 years in the industry. She worked 11 of those years as head of publicity for what now is Universal Studios Home Entertainment and, as an independent public relations consultant thereafter, worked for just about everybody else. LaMagra died Aug. 7, 2011, at her home in Sherman Oaks, Calif. She had been battling cancer and was under hospice care.  To Maria, the once and forever queen of home entertainment, we will dedicate this issue.

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