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Sony Wonder moves under Sony Pictures Home Entertainment



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SPHE kids titles now in new label

By Susanne Ault -- Video Business, 6/21/2007


Okin

JUNE 21 | Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is absorbing the Sony Wonder label from its sister music unit to house such kiddie titles as Harold and the Purple Crayon and The Berenstain Bears.

Steve Okin, formerly Sony Wonder VP of development at Sony BMG Music Entertainment, has been named VP of family entertainment at SPHE. In this newly created role, Okin will oversee development and acquisitions of non-feature family programming. He will report to Lexine Wong, SPHE senior executive VP of worldwide marketing, and Adrian Alperovich, senior executive VP and general manager of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group.

The first title releases from SPHE’s Sony Wonder unit have not yet been specified.

Holly Hobby is among the content SPHE inherits from Sony Wonder. Harold and the Purple Crayon and Berenstain Bears will be added to the label from SPHE’s current holdings.

Also fitting into Sony Wonder will be SPHE’s PBS series Dragon Tales, animated Stuart Little and It’s a Big, Big World.


Economou

Olga Economou shifts from Sony BMG to executive director of Sony Wonder sales.

Coinciding with the consolidating music business, Sony BMG has been shedding many of its DVD properties for some time.

Over the last several months, The Weinstein Co.’s Genius Products snapped up DVD distribution rights to Sony Wonder’s popular brands Sesame Street, VeggieTales and World Wrestling Entertainment. In March, Universal Music Group Distribution’s Vivendi Visual Entertainment landed DVD rights to nostalgia specialist Shout! Factory from Sony Wonder.

But SPHE believes there is still value in its new label.

“We believe that there still is brand recognition in the marketplace,” SPHE president David Bishop said. “Those [DVDs] didn’t come over with Sony Wonder. But this is an opportunity to build a new Sony Wonder with fresher properties that will eventually carve out a significant market share.”

SPHE enters an increasingly crowded market, as nearly all of the major studios have dedicated family units, such as Lionsgate and Universal Studios Home Entertainment. Buena Vista Home Entertainment largely invented the genre with its slew of theatrical animated sequels. Earlier this year, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment secured distribution rights to Hit Entertainment, which houses Thomas, the Tank Engine and Barney, among other brands.

“Sony Pictures has always been in the kids business to some degree, but it has never had a dedicated label like some of the other studios have,” said Bishop. “The good news is that if you talk to any key retailer, the kids market is the genre that continues to grow this business.”



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