Sony Pictures has tapped Jake Zim to oversee its slate of virtual reality content. He will serve in the newly created position of senior vice president, virtual reality.
His promotion comes as studios are looking for ways to exploit the emergence of these immersive, multimedia experiences as a way of complementing their theatrical and home entertainment business. The hope is that the new technology can deepen audiences’ involvement with major film franchises, leading to new sources of revenue at a time when the domestic box office has stagnated and DVD revenues have dwindled.
It’s also the latest in a series of leadership changes at Sony. Last week, Variety broke the news that president of domestic marketing, Dwight Caines, will be replaced by Christine Birch. Earlier this month, Sony TV chairman Steve Mosko and Motion Picture Group President Doug Belgrad both left the company. Mosko’s destination remains unknown, while Belgrad exited to put together his own film finance and production outfit. Studio chief Tom Rothman tapped Sanford Panitch, a former colleague from Fox with deep ties to the foreign film market, as Belgrad’s replacement.
Zim previously served as Sony’s SVP of digital marketing, where he was involved with overseeing promotional virtual reality initiatives, including a collaboration between the studio and VR theme park The Voice to create “Ghostbusters: Dimension,” a new experience at Madame Tussauds New York. Prior to joining Sony, Zim was vice president of digital marketing at 20th Century Fox. He also held executive posts at Safran Digital Group, Fox Atomic and Lionsgate.
Commenting on the announcement, Rothman said, “Sony is in a unique position to shape the VR landscape with its assets in entertainment, gaming and technology. Jake has the background and expertise to help us develop innovative narrative content in this exciting new medium.”