Paramount will unveil today a newly fashioned worldwide operating structure for its TV distribution biz and several senior management appointments.
Chief among the hires is Wendy Ferren, who becomes exec VP of Worldwide Television Distribution under division prexy Hal Richardson. Like her boss, Ferren was a longtime DreamWorks exec.
Richardson, who took the reins of the combined Par-DreamWorks movie distribution operation in February, has spent the last seven months assessing the personnel needs of the unit and fashioning a licensing strategy that takes into account new windows and new opportunities worldwide.
Under the new arrangement, all of Paramount distribution on a worldwide basis, including free and pay TV, pay-per-view and video-on-demand, will be handled by region, with one senior exec overseeing all TV outlets and a local sales office in each major region.
Company will immediately open regional offices in London, Sydney and Buenos Aires.
Previously, distribution was either divided between free and pay television or between domestic and international, in both instances requiring the operation of parallel organizations.
“By streamlining and reforming the division, we hope to achieve greater strategic and economic efficiency,” Richardson said.
Every Hollywood studio has its own take on these international organizational structures, with the new Par model most closely resembling Warner Bros. TV’s regional approach.
One of Richardson’s biggest tasks for the next few months will be assessing the different movie output deals done by Paramount and DreamWorks in the past and deciding whether to keep them separate or combine them. “Every territory,” he said, “is its own thing. We’ll figure these out on a case-by-case basis.”
In the wake of the Viacom-CBS split nine months ago, all TV product — and much of the staff of the old Par Intl. TV — was shifted over to the Eye side, under Armando Nunez. In other words, Richardson oversees the DreamWorks and Paramount movie product, both current releases and features from the vast catalog, while Nunez’s group at CBS Par Intl. TV sells all the series to TV outlets abroad.
Asked if he thought it was a disadvantage to be selling only movies to TV outlets abroad, Richardson said, “Selling hit series is a great gig, but being a pure-play movie supplier with good product is also hard to beat.
“The good news is Paramount and its related labels are enjoying one of its best slates in years, with a good mix across many genres, from ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ to ‘Jackass,’ from ‘Barnyard’ to ‘MI3,’ ” he said.
Richardson also told Daily Variety that he’s lucky to be able to fold in skilled execs from the remaining Par team with some of the DreamWorks folks who came over in his wake. He now oversees a staff of 60 and will probably top out at 80-odd by year’s end. Several key execs will make their debuts in their new roles at next week’s Mipcom TV trade show in Cannes.
These are the key management appointments, which affect the sales, legal, finance and administrative and operations departments:
Erica Adler becomes senior VP for Latin America, reporting to Ferren; Adler was previously veep of pay TV for CBS Paramount Intl.
Alex Fragen becomes senior VP of domestic television distribution, reporting to Ferren. He was previously senior VP, ancillary market sales, for Paramount Pictures.
Emlyn Barrios becomes veep of PPV and VOD, reporting to Fragen; he formerly managed DreamWorks’ PPV business.
Dina Vangelisti becomes VP of sales for domestic television distribution, reporting to Fragen; Vangelisti was formerly senior VP at First Look Studios.
Julie Jenkins becomes senior VP for Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East, reporting to Ferren; she was previously in charge of DreamWorks’ sales activities in those regions.
Lisa Kramer becomes senior VP for Europe and will relocate to London. Kramer, who will report to Ferren, joined from DreamWorks, where she was in charge of sales activities in Europe, Latin America and Canada.
Mary Basich becomes exec VP, business and legal affairs, Worldwide Television Distribution, reporting to Richardson; she was formerly head of business and legal affairs for the TV division at DreamWorks.
Anne Mallonee becomes senior VP of administration and operations, worldwide TV distribution, reporting to Richardson; she was formerly in a similar role at DreamWorks.
Carolyn Scott becomes senior VP of finance for worldwide TV distribution, reporting to Richardson and to Par chief financial officer Mark Badagliacca; she was formerly VP of planning for Paramount Pictures.
Ferren herself spent 10 years at DreamWorks as the second-in-command under Richardson. She continues to report to him. Richardson reports to Rob Moore, Paramount’s president of worldwide marketing, distribution and home entertainment.
Par’s worldwide distribution unit handles movies from Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, MTV Films and Nick Movies.