With many prodcos touting a development model that will eventually see broadcast, merch and retail partners involved earlier in the game, it’s not surprising that studios are beginning to streamline their operations to facilitate such synergy.
Universal Pictures recently combined its franchise, brand and licensing activities under the umbrella of The Brand Group and has promoted former senior VP of promotions Beth Goss to executive VP of the new division. In her new remit, Goss will oversee Universal’s consumer products, promotions, franchise strategy and franchise management operations.
‘This is just an enhancement of what’s already being done well within the studio, but organizing it on a broader level to see our franchises past their big-event stage and give them longer life spans,’ says Goss. ‘This [restructuring] is about looking at other ways of enhancing our properties through media we may not be involved in – such as video games or concert series – and really developing them in as many different venues as possible.’
Goss acknowledges that the new organization will allow Universal to be ahead of the game and involve all of its divisions earlier in the brand development process, and new film properties The Cat in the Hat and The Hulk will be the first to receive the full benefit of that concentrated focus. But the group will also work to extend the shelf life of established film properties such as The Fast and the Furious. For properties ‘that we may have taken in traditional directions during their initial release, it’s about spotting unique opportunities as media and consumer interests evolve,’ says Goss.
A few additional executive shuffles were taking place at Universal at press time, but the studio was unable to release any further details.