Tom Lesinski

President, Paramount Pictures Digital

Impact: Shifted into a then-nebulous job atop the only separate digital distribution unit at a major studio, it wasn’t clear what exactly Lesinski would be doing. But this former homevideo exec has moved aggressively to put Par on the Internet map.

Most recently, Par was the first major to debut a feature film online with “Jackass 2.5.” Working with MTV, Lesinski negotiated an exclusive deal with Blockbuster to host the movie online that should put Par in the black almost immediately for the low-budget pic.

The studio’s happy enough with the deal, in fact, that Lesinski has the go-ahead to produce a handful of films that will also debut on the Net in the next year.

Par also made headlines early last year when it became the first studio besides Disney, which has Apple CEO Steve Jobs on its board, to start distributing pics via iTunes.

Popular on Variety

Lesinski also oversees Par’s vidgame operation, a unit that has traditionally focused on licensing, but the studio is going to start spending some of its own dollars on production in the next year. Par will also be looking to invest in online virtual worlds.

POV: “Given how much focus there is from Wall Street on the growth potential of digital, the pressure is very intense to uncover and unlock new monetization paths,” Lesinski explains.