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Lion expands its vid lair

MGM takes over ops in France, Germany

HOLLYWOOD — MGM has expanded European home-entertainment operations into France and Germany to complement its established presence in the U.K.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, which had managed the regions as part of an international distribution pact with MGM, will continue to provide physical distribution services in the territories. Lion will take over sales and marketing ops.

In a related move Tuesday, Lion gave home-entertainment exec Robert Wittenberg added international retail development responsibilities with a title of exec VP worldwide sales.

“Fox continues to be a good partner in the homevideo business, lending quality, experience and savvy to our alliance,” MGM Home Entertainment Group prexy David Bishop said. “However, the time has never been better for MGM to extend its focus to these vital territories.”

Bishop cited MGM’s “dramatic growth in the U.S. and U.K., having in this past year alone more than doubled the industry average in DVD sales.”

MGM’s day-to-day European sales and marking operations will continue to be supervised from the Lion’s U.K. office by Bruno Carlson, exec veep and managing director for Europe.

“(Wittenberg) is a talented and accomplished executive who has done an exceptional job over the last several years in helping drive the retail success of our DVD and video production in the domestic marketplace,” Bishop said. “Similarly (Carlson’s) contributions to our retail achievements overseas have been nothing short of extraordinary.”

Wittenberg is a 17-year MGM vet worked in video products distribution before joining MGM Home Entertainment in 1994.

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