Universal creates division for the very small screen
Looking to make more money from its properties on the very small screen, Universal has set up a division for mobile content.Consumer products exec Jeremy Laws has been tapped senior VP in charge of Universal Mobile Entertainment, a small unit that will oversee licensing of U content for cell phones, as well as original productions in the future. He reports to Beth Goss, exec VP of Universal Studios Consumer Products Group. Laws has overseen mobile deals as part of his job in U’s consumer products division since 2000. With the promotion, he’ll head sales group in L.A., Tokyo and London as members seek revenue opportunities in the space and closely watch how Universal properties are handled. “By virtue of the pipeline of deals we have and how the market was growing, we realized we needed to dedicate more resources to this particular function,” he said. “We also realized we have to manage these deals to make sure the products are high-quality and leveraged to the maximum potential, instead of just throwing up a license and hoping for the best.” Several other studios have recently appointed execs to oversee mobile. In addition, Fox and ABC have recently started to produce original mobisodes for cell phones as spinoffs from skeins such as “Lost” and “Prison Break.” Laws said he would consider original video based on Universal properties, but he’s focusing on games, ringtones and licensing of existing video clips. That includes tie-ins to new films and shows like “The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift” and “Battlestar Galactica,” as well as library titles including “Jaws” and “Kojak.” Exec also is aiming to create specific mobile destinations tied to Universal brands where all the relevant cell-phone content can be downloaded.