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MTV’s Franks is given added research duties

Par scores services of top research guru

NEW YORK — Paramount Pictures is getting the services of one of the most experienced research gurus in showbiz, Betsy Frank.

Frank, executive VP of MTV Networks, will get the new title of exec VP of research and planning for Viacom’s cable networks, film and publishing.

The expansion of Frank’s MTV Networks responsibilities to take in Paramount and Simon & Schuster is a further sign that Tom Freston, co-president and co-chief operating officer of Viacom Inc., is putting his stamp on the divisions that began reporting to him almost six months ago.

Freston cited Frank’s “consumer insights and observations that have helped us craft our business and programming strategies” since she joined MTV Networks in 1997 as exec VP.

Frank’s annual surveys of how consumers, particularly young people, spend their leisure time will start going into even more detail on moviegoing habits.

“I’m planning to collect information on who drives attendance at the movies released in the last year,” Frank said. Reaching definitive conclusions gets trickier, she said, because “the technology keeps changing, and new media forms continue to become available.”

While continuing to report to Judy McGrath, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks, Frank will also report to Freston for her research with Paramount and Simon & Schuster.

Before MTV Networks, Frank was exec VP and director of strategic media resources for Saatchi & Saatchi’s Zenith Media Services division. Prior to joining Saatchi in 1978, she was an executive with Bristol-Myers and with the ad agency Ted Bates & Co.

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