As head of one of the six major studios’ home entertainment divisions, Bob Buchi has seen content distribution channels proliferate. The president of worldwide home media distribution for Paramount Pictures also is on the front lines of Hollywood’s push to boost digital movie sales and rentals while at the same time shoring up the core disc business by touting 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as the best possible way to view filmed content in the home.
“It’s exciting that digital is really coming on like it is,” says Buchi, who is being inducted into Variety’s Home Entertainment Hall of Fame on Dec. 4. “We are now in over 180 territories around the world, so for me the global scope, and growth, of digital is remarkable.”
Buchi took the helm of Paramount’s home entertainment business in April 2015, nine years after he came aboard as senior VP of brand marketing when the Blu-ray disc had just launched and Netflix was still renting discs by mail. Two years later Netflix launched its now-ubiquitous subscription streaming model, and Buchi, like his peers at the other studios, is focused on keeping the transactional model in growth mode.
“I think the two can co-exist,” Buchi says. “Consumers will always have an appetite for a la carte, and the transactional business always provides an earlier window and a unique product — as well as the highest quality.”
Buchi began his career in home entertainment in 1994 in the rental marketing department at Walt Disney Studios. After the 1997 launch of DVD fueled the industry shift to sell-through, Buchi oversaw marketing at DreamWorks Home Entertainment and later headed family brand marketing at Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
“I am really excited about the future of the business — and the future here at Paramount,” he says. “There’s new excitement and energy and discipline, and that’s showing up in our slate and partnerships.”