Fox video taps Yapp for world

Responding to the changing landscape of homevideo, the vid arm of 20th Century Fox has put control of its domestic and international units under one exec, naming Jeffrey Yapp to the newly created post of worldwide president.

Yapp, who was the international vid chief for the past three years, replaces Bob DeLellis, who recently ankled his post to pursue other opportunities (Daily Variety, May 14).

As the studio’s new video czar, Yapp will bring a global perspective and emphasis to the studio’s vid business. He will oversee all facets of the sales, marketing, distribution and acquisition of all original programming for the vid unit. He’ll also shepherd the marketing and distribution of all Fox Interactive product.

“The (uniting of the two divisions) reflects our keeping the integrity of the two staffs that can serve each other’s needs by sharing their experiences,” Yapp told Daily Variety. “It is not a consolidation, but a way that allows the international side to work with the domestic side to maximize our efforts.”

Under Yapp, the international arm can boast a doubling in revenue and the creation of the first successful international direct-to-retail distribution system. (Previously the studio would use the “two-step” process by sending wares to a middleman who then distributed the products to retail.)

Fox Filmed Entertainment chief Bill Mechanic said Yapp has “rebuilt Fox into a major international player in video and interactive … and has led Fox to the leadership position in sell-through of live-action films.”

The division, known in the industry as one of the best in the business, is currently riding high in the rental and sell-through saddles with the mega-hits “Independence Day” and the “Star Wars Trilogy.” Titles such as “Waiting to Exhale” and “Romeo & Juliet,” among others, also are selling well.

But it’s a watershed period for a mature homevideo industry, as the domestic rental marketplace has changed little in the past decade and as a result has seen diminishing returns.

The sell-through side is experiencing an influx of inexpensive titles and a saturation of video stores all vying for the same consumer.

It is expected that, much like the current constriction in the record industry, the vid business will also soon see a shakeout.

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