Mergers and acquisitions prime Par for Mipcom ’99

Expanded sales team, library in tow for trade show

Concrete signs of consolidation in the international TV biz will be visible at the Paramount booth at the Mipcom TV trade show in Cannes next week. In the wake of its acquisition of program distributors Worldvision and Rysher, the Hollywood major will be attending the show with an expanded sales team and library.

Paramount’s executive team will be boosted by the inclusion of several former Worldvision executives: Bruce Swanson, VP and general manager, Canada; Catherine Molinier, managing director, France; and Mie Horasawa, director, Northeast Asia, Japan.

In addition, former Worldvision execs Bert Cohen, Bill Peck and Rita Scarfone will serve as consultants to support the ongoing integration of Worldvision into the Paramount fold.

Cathy Trotta, formerly VP of international sales for Rysher, is also being retained by Paramount as a consultant.

With the addition of Molinier and Horasawa, Paramount has added offices in Paris and Tokyo to its international TV operations in London, Rome, Sydney and Toronto. Latin American sales and the division’s headquarters will continue to be based in Los Angeles.

Paramount Intl. TV prexy Gary Marenzi said: “Now more than ever, the international marketplace requires significant regional expertise and service. Adding these skilled execs and increasing our field presence underscores our commitment to being close to the customer and providing the top-quality service they’ve come to expect.”

The merger with Spelling, the parent company of Worldvision, and the buyout of Rysher have boosted Paramount’s programming library by more than 100%. In addition to over 50 hours of current programming per week, Paramount now distributes a library of over 55,000 hours of programming.

That catalog includes series from the old libraries of ABC, CBS and NBC (thanks to the absorption of Worldvision and the earlier merger with Viacom) as well as all current production from Spelling (“Charmed,” “Beverly Hills, 90201”) and Rysher (“Nash Bridges,” “Sex and the City”).

It also includes, of course, Paramount’s library of feature films and series, including “Frasier” and newcomer to the fall sked “Now and Again.”

When the merger with CBS is complete, the Paramount library will also encompass CBS-owned news programming and series as well as gameshows from King World (which CBS is already in the process of acquiring).