Thomas Gewecke has consistently kept his eye on the future.
The chief digital officer and exec VP, strategy and business development at Warner Bros. Entertainment is responsible for driving the company’s worldwide growth in the digital space and coordinating its various digital distribution strategies to maximize the value of Warner Bros.’ content across all current and emerging digital exhibition platforms.
The activities that Gewecke oversees include Warner Bros.’ technical operations and corporate business development as well as its home entertainment unit’s direct-to-consumer business.
In May 2011 he oversaw the studio’s acquisition of Rotten Tomatoes, the mobile movie service and online aggregator of movie reviews, as well as Flixster, which was the first site to support the buy-once-play-anywhere cloud-based service UltraViolet, which is backed by most of the major studios.
Working closely with Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara and Ron Sanders, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Home Entertainment Distribution, Gewecke has helped make the studio’s content available for purchase through more than 100 digital retailer partners, among other initiatives.
The exec is happy to share the credit. “It’s really been a team effort,” he says.
During his tenure at the studio, Gewecke helped Warner Bros. lead the industry in offering on-demand movies day-and-date with DVD release, bundling digital copies with new physical releases worldwide, and making movies available directly through new channels — including Facebook and as international app editions on the iOS platform.
In addition, he helped expand access to the studio’s library with the launch of Warner Archive, a service that makes more than 1,000 out-of-print classic movie and TV titles available online and through manufacturing-on-demand technology.
Gewecke’s division also supported the ground-breaking 2013 Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for the “Veronica Mars” movie. “It was all about having a close relationship with that fan base,” he says. “It’s a fantastic road map to one of many strategies of bringing projects to life.”
And in a move designed to significantly expand Warners’ overseas production operations, Gewecke helped spearhead Warner Bros. TV Group’s deal to acquire the international production units of Netherlands-based Eyeworks in a deal valued at more than $273 million.
Gewecke predicts emerging technologies will offer digital entertainment consumers even better picture and audio quality, and he foresees the rise of new types of content, including virtual reality, enabled by tools like Oculus Rift. “There will be whole new ways of letting consumers experience entertainment,” he says.