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Blockbuster taps Badish

Exec named prexy of film acquistion arm

Gearing up its film acquisitions strategy to include production financing in support of its growing number of video exclusives and the launch this year of a video-on-demand service, Blockbuster has named Kenneth Badish prexy of the video retailer and entertainment company’s film acquisition division.

Badish has been president and CEO of the Coast Entertainment film production and distribution company in Santa Barbara since 1995.

Badish, who was director of acquisitions at HBO from 1978-81 before becoming president-CEO of marketing and distribution company the Movie Store for 13 years, will work at a new Blockbuster office in Los Angeles with exec veep and worldwide chief merchandising officer Dean Wilson, to whom he will report.

The execs are operating out of a temporary office near Beverly Hills and are seeking a permanent office that will allow for expansion of the L.A. staff.

Blockbuster has become one of the biggest buyers of films at independent film festivals like Sundance. Wilson said that as Blockbuster takes its support of independent films to the next level, the company will not only acquire more pics but will provide production financing “on a selective basis.”

Company acquired more than 100 films this year and expects to increase that number by 20%-30% in 2001, Wilson said. Blockbuster has financed a few films this year and expects to do more next year.

Blockbuster looks for films that offer something that studios don’t provide, Wilson said. “We have something that a lot of other distributors don’t have: our own distribution channel. We can add more to a film than just dollars.”

Blockbuster is still on target to start testing its video-on-demand service with Enron later this year.

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