UPDATE: In a move that recognizes the growing role of overseas grosses and revenues that are derived from ancillary areas such as streaming, Paramount Pictures has significantly restructured several of its most important divisions. The moves will include the June 2012 retirement of distribution president Jim Tharp and the exit of Tom Lesinski, the Paramount Digital Entertainment president whose domain is being absorbed under other divisions at the studio.
Brad Grey has put the post-theatrical distribution of movies under one department, Home Media Distribution, which will be run by former president of Worldwide Home Entertainment Dennis Maguire. He’ll now oversee the licensing of films to home entertainment, digital streaming, and pay TV. Hal Richardson, who had been president of Worldwide Television Distribution, becomes president of Home Media Distribution, and he reports to Maguire.
In addition, because the studio is building slates that are clearly attempting to derive the majority of theatrical revenue from overseas ticket sales, it has brought head of international Andrew Cripps back to Los Angeles, where going forward he can have more of a say in the kinds of pictures Paramount makes and how they are exploited.
Paramount has also promoted Josh Greenstein and Megan Colligan, who’ve been co-presidents of Domestic Marketing. Greenstein, who was integral to the global marketing campaign of the $1.1 billion worldwide-grossing Transformers: Dark of the Moon, will now be Chief Marketing Officer for the studio and oversee all marketing through all distribution channels. Colligan is the new president of Domestic Marketing & Distribution, and she will oversee all domestic theatrical distribution and marketing for Paramount. Colligan has been responsible for innovations like releasing Paranormal Activity for midnight showings on college campuses and sneaking films via Twitter. Greenstein, Colligan and Maguire all will report to vice chairman Rob Moore.
As part of the shakeout, Paramount Digital Entertainment president Lesinski will leave as his division is folded into other divisions of the studio. Tharp, the studio’s longtime head of distribution, will retire next June but will stay on to help Moore achieve a transition that will involve his number two, Don Harris. Harris will handle the day-to-day duties previously overseen by Tharp and become president of Domestic Theatrical Distribution, reporting to Colligan.
This is a signal that Paramount is clearly gearing its film program to the growing realities of a marketplace where DVD revenues flattened and multiple opportunities for streaming revenues are cropping up, with even retailers like Walmart getting into the VOD space. Paramount right now has its pay deal with Epix, which has a streaming deal with Netflix, three months after its own exclusive three-month window.
Grey and Moore decided that a streamlined organizational structure was the best way to maximize the value of the studio’s library and new content, instead of using separate divisions to make TV, pay and home video deals. The goal is to maximize the revenues of films in all areas, and it seems clear that production president Adam Goodman’s mandate is to focus on films that can play abroad. Not all of them have to be megabudget: JJ Abrams’ $50 million budget Super 8 derived $131 million of its $258 million worldwide revenues overseas. But it seems like those midbudget tweener pictures with no shot at global crossover are out and big bets like Star Trek, Jack Ryan, Transformers, G.I. Joe and World War Z are in. Grey just issued this internal memo about the changes:
I am writing to let you know about a number of organizational changes and promotions that we are making at the studio. We are strategically realigning several of our divisions in an effort to be forward thinking about our business at a time when the global entertainment market is evolving.
Our hope is that these moves will allow us to best build upon the successes our studio has enjoyed in recent years as well as enable us to fully capitalize on future growth opportunities.
Today we are announcing the creation of a new division called Home Media Distribution, a single organization based here on the lot, that will oversee our home entertainment, digital licensing and television licensing activities worldwide. Dennis Maguire is being promoted to President, Worldwide Home Media Distribution, and will report to Vice Chairman Rob Moore. In addition, in light of international’s growing significance to our studio, we are centralizing global theatrical management oversight in Los Angeles so as to be closer to the strategic decision making for this part of our business. Marketing and sales functions currently performed locally in territories worldwide will remain unchanged.
We are also making a number of other key promotions and staff changes as part of this realignment.
· Josh Greenstein has been named Chief Marketing Officer for the studio, overseeing all marketing efforts through all distribution channels for the studio worldwide.
· Megan Colligan is also expanding her role and has been promoted to President, Domestic Marketing & Distribution. She will now oversee all domestic theatrical distribution and marketing for the studio. Josh and Megan will continue to report to Rob; and Megan will also report to Josh on marketing.
· Jim Tharp, President, Domestic Theatrical Distribution, will retire as of June 2012 and will assist Rob in the transition to the new team.
· Don Harris, who has served as Executive Vice President of Sales, is being promoted to President, Domestic Theatrical Distribution, and will assume Jim’s day-to-day responsibilities reporting to Megan.
· Hal Richardson will take on the role of President, Home Media Distribution, reporting to Dennis.
· Paramount Digital Entertainment (PDE) will now be folded into other divisions of the studio. Amy Powell, Executive Vice President, Interactive Entertainment, will add the creation of content for digital and online games to her current responsibilities. LeeAnne Stables, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Marketing Partnerships, will assume responsibility for licensing of traditional video games. Both Amy and LeeAnne will continue to report to Megan. Tom Lesinksi, President of PDE, will be departing the studio.
As you can see from what I have outlined above, we have worked to truly align our business for the future. Our hope is that this new configuration will allow us to be more flexible and to best capitalize on all opportunities across the breadth of the studio.
Creating this new integrated structure is only possible because of the wealth of talent we have at Paramount. Josh, Megan, Don, Dennis and Hal are widely and deservedly recognized as leaders and innovators and we are fortunate to have them on our team. I want to thank them for their great work and congratulate them on their new positions. Rob, Frederick and I are looking forward to working closely with them and their teams on finalizing and implementing our new organizational structures over the next several weeks.
Jim’s retirement next summer marks the end of an era. I want to personally thank him for his many years of service, his numerous accomplishments, and for being a real friend to all of us at Paramount Pictures. He has truly set the gold standard for excellence in the distribution field and we are grateful for his active and ongoing guidance in the transition to our new team.
We also appreciate Tom’s many contributions to Paramount’s success. He was instrumental in helping us break new ground in the digital arena and we wish him great success in the future.
I want to thank our executive team led by Rob, COO Frederick Huntsberry and Motion Picture Group President Adam Goodman. Rob was especially central in the creation of this new structure.
I want to close by saying thank you to all of you for your great work at this studio. I am very proud and grateful for what you do for Paramount each and every day.
EARLIER, 10:05 AM:
HOLLYWOOD (Sept. 27, 2011) – Paramount Pictures Chairman & CEO Brad Grey today
announced a strategic realignment of several of the studio’s divisions, designed
to capitalize on the studio’s strong box office performance and enable Paramount
to fully capture growth opportunities in the evolving global entertainment
As part of the initiative, Grey announced that the studio is creating a single
organization based at its headquarters in Los Angeles, called Home Media
Distribution, which will oversee its home entertainment, digital licensing and
television licensing activities worldwide. Dennis Maguire, formerly President,
Worldwide Home Entertainment, has been promoted to President, Worldwide Home
Media Distribution, reporting to Vice Chairman Rob Moore. In addition, in order
to optimize its global business and in recognition of international’s growing
significance to the studio, Paramount will centralize global theatrical
management oversight in Los Angeles. Marketing and sales functions currently
performed locally in territories worldwide will remain unchanged.
Moore also announced the promotions of Josh Greenstein and Megan Colligan.
Greenstein, who has served as Co-President of Domestic Marketing, has been named
Chief Marketing Officer for the studio, overseeing all marketing efforts through
all distribution channels for the studio worldwide. Colligan, who also served as
Co-President of Domestic Marketing, is also expanding her role and has been
promoted to President, Domestic Marketing & Distribution. She will now oversee
all domestic theatrical distribution and marketing for the studio.
Greenstein and Colligan will continue to report to Moore. Colligan will also
report to Greenstein on marketing. Hal Richardson, currently President,
Worldwide Television Distribution, will take on the role of President, Home
Media Distribution, reporting to Maguire.
Don Harris, who has served as Executive Vice President of Sales, is being
promoted to President, Domestic Theatrical Distribution, and will assume Jim
Tharp’s day-to-day responsibilities, reporting to Colligan. Tharp, who is the
existing President, Domestic Theatrical Distribution, will retire as of June
2012 and will assist Rob Moore in the transition to the new domestic theatrical
“We are making these shifts from a position of strength with the goal of being
both smart and innovative in an evolving business environment,” said Grey. “We
have had six consecutive releases surpass $100 million in domestic box office
revenue, and internationally we are on pace for a record year. Our
accomplishments in recent years are in large part are due to our cohesive
executive team, led by Rob Moore, Chief Operating Officer Frederick Huntsberry
and Motion Picture Group President Adam Goodman.”
“This new structure will allow us to more effectively take advantage of
worldwide opportunities, adjust to the changing marketplace and propel us
forward on a unified, global basis,” added Grey. “Our international operations
can now be more closely aligned with our strategic operations at our Los Angeles
Rob Moore said, “Integrating digital licensing with home entertainment and
television licensing makes sense in the current marketplace and for the future.
In addition, marketing and distribution have become seamless global businesses
and we need our structure to better reflect that evolution. This new
configuration allows us to be more flexible and to best capitalize on all
opportunities across the breadth of the studio.”
Paramount Digital Entertainment (PDE) will now be folded into other divisions of
the studio. Amy Powell, Executive Vice President, Interactive Entertainment,
will add the creation of content for digital and online games to her current
responsibilities. LeeAnne Stables, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Marketing
Partnerships, will assume responsibility for licensing of traditional video
games. Both Powell and Stables will continue to report to Colligan. Tom
Lesinksi, President of PDE, will be departing the studio.
Greenstein, Colligan and Maguire will finalize and implement these new
organizational structures within the studio over the next several weeks, under
the supervision of Grey, Moore and Huntsberry.