BFC Berliner Film Company has named veteran industry executive Roger R. Smith as special advisor to help launch the companys expansion into the home video and DVD markets. Smith will work closely with Rainer Soehnlein, ceo of BFC Berliner Film Companie Distribution GmbH and Sonja Brugger, co-ceo of BFCs distribution arm.
Roger Smiths depth of experience in strategic development for the entertainment industry coupled with his long-term relationships with some of the key figures in our industry make him an ideal partner as BFC moves forward into this rapidly expanding new business, said Soehnlein. We intend to forge new business models that can result in our company achieving a creative and profitable niche within this industry.
The rapid growth in demand for animated entertainment, the highly professional infrastructure BFC already has in place and its capital resources give it a unique opportunity to create a major new force in family entertainment, commented Smith.
Smith has been an entertainment industry exec in a wide variety of capacities since 1974, prior to which he spent eight years on Wall Street as a financial analyst and portfolio manager. Since 1996, Smith has headed New York-based Roger Smith & Co., which serves as a consultant and an advisor to various media companies and financial institutions, with a primary focus on developing long-term strategies for media companies. Its client roster includes the Warner Home Video division of Warner Bros., RealTalk Media and Dresdner Kleinwort Capital, the London-based merchant bank. Past clients have included Panasonic Media and various film and television companies, as well as numerous financial institutions with interests in the media field.
Smith wrote VARIETYs Its Only Money column for two years, which covered the financial aspects of the entertainment industry, appearing twice a month in both Weekly and Daily Variety, and on variety.com. Smith has also appeared regularly on CNBCs MORNING CALL and SQUAWK BOX as its commentator on events in the media business. He has written extensively on the entertainment industry for such publications as FILM COMMENT and THE NEW YORK OBSERVER. During the mid-1970s, Smith authored numerous articles on finance for PLAYBOY magazine under the pseudonym John B. Tipton.
From 1974 to 1984, he was an executive with Warner Communications (now Time Warner) where he worked directly for its late chairman, Steve Ross. His responsibilities included chairing the acquisitions committee, and overseeing Warners strategic planning, investor relations and corporate communications.
In 1985, Smith launched and subsequently sold The Criterion Collection, a pioneering laserdisc company that today is one of the leading sources of classic motion pictures on DVD. From 1987 to 1996, Smith was based in Los Angeles, where he held several operating positions in the entertainment business. These included cfo and later president of LIVE Ent., then the largest independent video company in the industry, and now part of Lions Gate Films; and evp of finance for Carolco Pictures. He successfully acquired the assets of Vestron Pictures during this period, and served on both LIVE and Carolcos boards of directors through 1996.
Smith began working on Wall Street, joining Wood, Struthers & Winthrop (later merged with Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette) as an investment research analyst, covering a wide variety of industries, including media and entertainment companies. From 1972 through 1974, Smith was a portfolio manager for the European-American Development Corp. managing the U.S. portfolios of several international closed-end funds.
BFC Berliner Film Companie was formed in 2002 to develop, produce and distribute television and feature-film animation. Working with America's top creators, producers and directors, BFC has established a unique American-style production company in the heart of cosmopolitan Berlin, along with an office in Los Angeles to maintain a constant presence in the center of the U.S. entertainment industry. BFC is affiliated with Dresdner Allianz Group, one of the worlds leading financial powerhouses.