DVD godfather gets his stripes

Lieberfarb led WHV to over $4 bil in '02 grosses

Warren Lieberfarb will deliver a keynote address Oct. 11, a day on the Croisette dedicated to the technology and growth of DVDs.

Lieberfarb also will receive the Mipcom DVD Lifetime Achievement Award for his vision and tenacity. He championed the little-known technology 10 years ago and managed to hammer out a global agreement whereby one standard came to be accepted by all the players.

DVD now offers the film industry a revenue source of billions of dollars and has radically transformed the way consumers experience home entertainment.

“Under his leadership DVD entered the consumer mainstream and became the driving force of the home entertainment business,” says Paul Johnson, Reed Midem’s TV division director.

As of June 30, there were 108 million homes with DVD players worldwide, excluding China; of this, 46 million DVD homes were in the U.S., with major additional growth predicted for the coming years.

In Europe, DVD sales for 2002 climbed to $6.2 billion.

In 1996, it was Warner Bros. that released the first-ever commercial DVDs in Japan, followed shortly by a U.S. release. Just two years later, the company shipped a record-breaking 1.5 million copies of a single title — “The Matrix” — to retailers.

Under Lieberfarb’s leadership, Warner Home Video became the world’s largest homevideo company, grossing over $4 billion in global revenues in 2002, his last year at its helm.

Lieberfarb joined Warner Home Video as senior VP of sales in 1982, having previously been at parent company Warner Bros. as VP of marketing. Prior to that, he had held positions at Ford Motor, Paramount and 20th Century Fox. Exec ankled WB last December and has set up shop as an indie consultant for companies like Microsoft and Disney.

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