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Six Questions: Ted Green, CEO of RLJ Entertainment

6 Apr, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Ted Green

Standing tall following the surprising acquisition of Image Entertainment and Acorn Media Group by BET founder Robert Johnson is Image CEO Ted Green, who is now in charge of the two distributors operating under the RLJ Entertainment banner.

Green, who formerly headed Anchor Bay Entertainment, was hired to run fiscally challenged Image after the Chatsworth, Calif.-based distributor was acquired near bankruptcy by San Francisco-based investment group JH Holdings in 2010.

Following the requisite downsizing (30% layoffs) and internal restructuring at Image, Green mandated everything from art to packaging and distribution of Image releases be outsourced. He then scored a coup of sorts inking a manufacturing/distribution deal with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, which granted Image license rights to 60 of its titles. The Sony Pictures deal afforded Image access to major retailers such as Walmart and Best Buy.

The result: Image’s first fiscal profit in years, with a 71% increase in Blu-ray Disc sales, a 50% rise in transactional VOD revenue and a 43% surge in TV broadcast revenue. Among Image’s 3,700 titles, The Criterion Collection accounted for 26% of the distributor’s annual revenue of nearly $90 million through March 2011.

Home Media Magazine spoke with Green just days after the Image and Acorn acquisition announcements.

■ What does the backing of RLJ Entertainment mean to Image and Acorn?

Green: With Robert Johnson, the fact that he founded BET (Black Entertainment Television) along with his connections, will mean that our companies have expanded resources, including more contacts and more opportunities that might not otherwise present themselves.

■ What will be your first focus as CEO of the combined properties in terms of acquisitions and distribution?

Green: We will have a multilevel focus, which will be combined among mining the current catalogs at both companies and exploiting the various channels available to us with those properties, as well as continuing to look at potential acquisitions — both acquisitions of catalogs and individual properties.  We plan to be very aggressive in all areas.

■ Is there much overlap between the two companies? Will there be layoffs?

Green: Both companies specialize in genre titles and have businesses specializing in brands. Our approach will be the same for both companies and our businesses are complementary. Of course, we will look for various synergies between the two companies.

■ How do you see RLJ dealing with SVOD?

Green: Under RLJ Entertainment, both Image and Acorn see this area continuing to grow.

■ Will Image and Acorn release UltraViolet titles?

Green: As we have done in the past, we will continue to monitor industry developments in this area and intend to distribute our titles through any area that makes revenue for our company.

■ Can sellthrough of packaged and digital media make a comeback?

Green: While both companies appreciate the revenue generated from the rental market, our genre-related product continues to sell, and we feel this will continue. At both Acorn and Image, our digital and television revenue continues to increase as well.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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