Culberg leaves Col homevid for VM Labs

Exec resigns after 11 years

Columbia TriStar Home Video executive VP Paul Culberg has resigned after 11 years at the studio to serve as Hollywood liaison for a Northern California enhanced DVD technology company.

Culberg, whose contract at Col TriStar expired this month, assumes his new post this week as exec VP of 5-year-old Mountain View, Calif.-based VM Labs and chief operating officer of the company’s Nuon sector. He reports to VM Labs CEO Richard Miller.

Nuon is a form of circuitry that enables DVD video machines to play Nuon-compatible games and connect to the Web. It also enhances standard DVD features such as the zoom function and menus, and adds a Virtual Light Machine that displays colors that move in time to CD audio music. Hasbro is one of several companies developing some of the six to eight games that are expected to be available at launch.

Culberg, who is also president of the DVD Entertainment Group, has been a video executive since 1980, working at Paramount Home Video, Media Home Entertainment and New World before joining what was then RCA-Columbia in 1989 as exec VP. After overseeing the studio’s sales and marketing and helping to spearhead the launch of DVD, he was named the division’s exec VP, worldwide Internet, last year.

Columbia TriStar Home Video president Ben Feingold said Culberg’s contributions to the studio were invaluable and that he would remain a friend.

Culberg said that after spending a good part of the last 20 years building an industry and seeing it become much more of a managed business, the opportunity to be entrepreneurial and make a mark again “really gets my juices going.”

Culberg will serve as “emissary and evangelist to the studio community” about the Nuon technology.

VM Labs employs about 85 people, about 60 of whom are engineers.

“One of the industries that can take the most advantage of Nuon is the movie industry, and nobody understands the dynamics and business models and requirements for win-win relationships in that industry better than Paul,” Miller said.

Two Nuon-enhanced DVD players are slated to hit the market this year: a player from Samsung priced at $499 will hit store shelves the first week of June and Toshiba will introduce a model in the third quarter priced at $399.

Culberg said he has agreed to stay with VM Labs for at least one year, during which time he will commute from his L.A. home. At some point VM Labs may consider opening an office in L.A., he said.

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