Lions Gate gets a chief brand officer

Los Angeles - In a move that is as much about emphasising a growth strategy as keeping a valued executive, Lions Gate Entertainment on Tuesday promoted Mr Tim Palen to the unusual position of chief brand officer.

Mr Palen, 53, already the company's top movie marketeer, will now take on the additional task of building the studio's hit properties - including television shows - into broader brands and franchises.

Lions Gate is home to movies such as The Hunger Games and series such as Orange Is The New Black.

Although increasingly trendy at big companies - Procter & Gamble, the world's largest advertiser, last year renamed its marketing divisions "brand management" - studios do not typically have brand chiefs.

Instead, movies are usually marketed as stand-alone entities, with consumer products and theme park extensions handled by disparate divisions that do not always communicate with one another.

But studios, operating more and more like consumer-products companies, have become more focused on brand building as they seek to compete for consumer time and attention.

Walt Disney Co, which has centred its movie business on brands such as Pixar and Marvel, is in many ways the model.

Lions Gate, for instance, sees the potential for tens and maybe hundreds of millions of dollars in incremental profit by pushing into areas such as location-based entertainment: theme parks, theatrical productions or touring shows with costumes and props.

A Hunger Games-related exhibition opens in Times Square in New York on Wednesday.

In addition to the Hunger Games series, Lions Gate controls the Divergent and Twilight films, and the studio is working on potential new franchises tied to the Power Rangers toys and Homer's The Odyssey. Its TV shows include The Royals and Mad Men, which recently finished its AMC run.

In a statement attributed to the studio's top two movie executives, Mr Rob Friedman and Mr Patrick Wachsberger, Mr Palen was called "truly best in class, one of the most creative and strategic marketing executives in the business". New York Times

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 25, 2015, with the headline 'Lions Gate gets a chief brand officer'. Print Edition | Subscribe