Title: Senior VP of entertainment
How he’s leading: Early in the life of DVD — way before Wal-Mart became the top seller of discs — Arnold was go-to partner for the studios, helping them figure out the merchandising formulas and price points that would ultimately make the format so successful. Later, he pioneered subcategories like TV-on-DVD, a product that continues to be one of the Minneapolis-based gadget chain’s top sellers.
Above all, he helped Best Buy figure out how to synergize the merchandising of entertainment software with the electronic devices. For example, the current explosion in HDTV sales is due in part to consumers’ desire to have something better to play back their DVDs on.
Arnold is helping to steer Best Buy through difficult-to-navigate seas, figuring out an array of evolving entertainment technologies.
In the battle for hi-def disc supremacy, studios backing competing formats Blu-ray and HD DVD are once again relying on Arnold’s format-launching acumen. So far, Arnold and his team haven’t been able to perform the same kind of alchemy they did with the original DVD. But they’ve exerted leadership nonetheless, positioning a message the two “warring” format camps don’t necessarily like to hear: Get it together.
“It’s always been our position, based on what we’ve heard from our customers — they wish there was just one format so they could be sure their investment would be the right one over time,” Arnold says.
POV: “With all the next-generation formats, plus new technologies that let you deliver content without a format, there is certainly more activity than I can remember in the past,” Arnold notes.
Homevid Leader Report: