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New Miramax to focus on library

New CEO Mike Lang says company to remain lean and limber

The new-model Miramax will focus on limited acquisitions with a small staff as it focuses on mining the value of the company’s film library, newly appointed CEO Mike Lang said Thursday.

“This is an incredible library of assets,” said Lang. “Our goal is to very aggressively leverage them and to get them out to consumers in whichever ways we can.”

The new Miramax will look at traditional home entertainment, Blu-ray, television sales and cable networks (both here and abroad) to help distribute the library in addition to exploiting the right emerging digital opportunities. Digital deals being considered include subscription, free on-demand and digital locker service.

“We probably will look to do select acquisitions here and there,” Lang said. “But…even if we did it, it would be acquiring almost finished or finished movie product, not production.”

While the company will continue to expand its workforce, Lang said the number of employees will probably remain small.

“We may have hundreds of people working on something from our third-party partner organizations, but we may only have three or five people at our organization that are ultimately responsible for it,” he said, adding that no previous Miramax employees came with the library’s purchase. “In this media world today, you have to be a lot smaller, nimble, and be able to make decisions quickly.”

Miramax’s new leaders are expected to focus on finding partners for the hundreds of development projects that came with the acquisition as possible sequels and ancillary TV projects.

Lang predicts that Blu-ray sales in particular will go up, looking at that as a major source of near-term growth.

Much has been speculated about how Miramax’s new owners will digitally exploit the library, including reports that the company has held talks with Google about streaming content. Lang said the focus was much broader.

“One partner doesn’t fit all,” said Lang. “We’re talking to everybody.”

“There’s more demand for television content on our films for cable networks, not only here in the US but globally as pay TV platforms grow around the world,” said Lang.

Miramax has three unreleased pics — Guillermo del Toro-produced thriller “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark,” John Madden’s “The Debt” and the Keira Knightley-toplined “Last Night” — that it will look to distribute both theatrically and on other platforms. Company will likely set a release date for “The Debt” first.

Lang, a former News Corp. and Fox exec, will be based at the new Miramax headquarters in Santa Monica.

Announcement comes on the heels of Miramax’s acquisition by a consortium of investors including construction magnate Ron Tutor, Tom Barrack of Colony Capital and Qatar Holdings.

Lang most recently served as a consultant to Filmyard in its acquisition of Miramax. Prior to that, he played key roles in the formation of the MySpace Music joint venture and the launch of Hulu. He was also involved with Fox’s mobile, digital and video game initiatives after joining the company in 2004.

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