Elizabeth Kalodner will head worldwide licensing and merchandising activities within the entertainment division. It also establishes dedicated DVD unit as part of its distribution group, headed by Ken Ross.
CBS announced plans today to create a new licensing and merchandising unit within its Entertainment Group, called CBS Consumer Products, and to establish a separate unit for its rapidly expanding DVD business, to be named CBS Home Entertainment, which will be part of CBS Television Distribution (CTD). Previously, these functions were combined as a single entity under CTD.
The company also announced that Elizabeth “Liz” Kalodner has joined CBS as executive vice president/general manager, CBS Consumer Products, and that Ken Ross has been named executive vice president/general manager, CBS Home Entertainment.
Kalodner will be responsible for growing CBS’s worldwide licensing and merchandising business. She is charged with developing initiatives to tap new revenue streams, build brand awareness and expand audience communities for current series from CBS, CBS Paramount Network Television and CBS Television Distribution, as well as from the company’s deep and diverse library of more than 2,600 titles. Kalodner will also assume oversight of the company’s retail stores, online sales of programming merchandise, and look to create new products and franchises that can be integrated into other parts of the television operation. Kalodner’s new unit will operate as part of the company’s Entertainment division, reporting to Nancy Tellem, president of the CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group.
“With this move, we’ve created a consumer products operation that is singularly focused and more closely aligned with the programming to better identify and create new business opportunities for our content assets,” said Tellem.
Most recently, Kalodner was executive vice president and general manager, global consumer products for Sesame Workshop, handling the company’s $1.2 billion global-retail business, including theme parks, touring shows, video/audio, toys, gifts, apparel and home furnishings. Prior to that Kalodner was chairman and CEO of Socialnet, an Internet start-up and early entrant in the social networking space whose services included dating, social and professional networking and roommate matching. Kalodner spent 10 years at the Walt Disney Company, where she worked in a myriad of divisions, including Walt Disney Records, Disney Consumer Products, and Film and Television Licensing.
The new CBS Home Entertainment unit will establish a dedicated area for CBS’s growing DVD business, which plans to increase its number of releases by more than 20% in 2007 and will continue to be in the forefront of all DVD initiatives, including high definition DVD releases. In addition to distributing current hits and classic series from the CBS library, releases from Showtime Video were recently folded into the CBS DVD roster. CBS Home Entertainment will be part of CBS Television Distribution (CTD) with Ross reporting to Bob Madden, president and chief operating officer, CTD.
“DVD sales for television series continue to grow, and a dedicated unit in this area puts us in a better position to exploit more of the vast programming assets in this company, to focus on worldwide distribution opportunities, and to grow our revenue even further,” said Madden.
Ross started in the home entertainment/video business in 1981 working in everything from home video sales, marketing and product management. For the past 15 years, he has been managing the licensing, merchandising and home video activities for CBS’s diverse properties.