Genius CEO makes lucrative Weinstein pact

Company: Genius Products

Titles: CEO

Leadership: Genius products has enjoyed a meteoric rise since Drinkwater took charge of the company in February 2005.

At the end of that year, Genius pacted to distribute the Weinstein Co.’s films on homevideo (Weinstein release “Miss Potter” is currently a hot DVD seller). Three months later, the company’s workforce had grown from 20 to 100.

Now Genius has 200 employees and is a homevid powerhouse that expects $700 million-$800 million in revenue this year.

Drinkwater cites two keys to the company’s success. “One, we’ve been able to attract some great content partners,” he says. “Harvey and Bob (Weinstein) have given us great leverage in the industry. And in a business that’s flattening out, we’ve become a pretty interesting place to work. We’ve been able to attract some of the best and brightest in the industry. Everyone has studio experience.”

He adds that Genius became attractive to content partners — including ESPN, World Wrestling Entertainment and Discovery Kids — because the company has built out an infrastructure that parallels that of a major studio.

“We have direct access to all the major retailers,” he says.

For now, Genius will focus on working with both content providers and retailers to strengthen existing relationships.

Longer term, though, the company is eyeing expansion outside the U.S. and some digital initiatives.

“We’ll do that,” says Drinkwater, “but for the foreseeable future, it’s all about execution and servicing our providers as best we can.”

POV: “We give our employees a chance to effect change and have an impact,” Drinkwater says. “You don’t necessarily have that when you’re working for a major.”

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