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Universal Pictures Forms New Family Home Entertainment Label

In a restructuring move to dedicate new efforts in the family arena, Universal Pictures has established Universal Studios Home Entertainment Family Productions and will step up efforts to produce product for the made-for-DVD arena.

(USHEFP), it was announced today by Mary Parent and Scott Stuber, respectively vice chairman, Worldwide production, Universal Pictures.

Under the leadership of Craig Kornblau, president, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, the new unit's day-to-day operations will be overseen by family entertainment veteran Glenn Ross, who has been appointed gm/evp, USHEFP.

USHEFP will develop, produce, and acquire live-action and animated family productions directly for the home entertainment market, as well as television. Universal Cartoon Studios and all Universal production entities developing and producing family-oriented product for the home entertainment and television sectors will now fall under the USHEFP banner and report directly to Ross.

Also, as part of the restructuring, London-based Universal Pictures Visual Programming president Hugh Rees-Parnall will now report to Universal Pictures International president Pete Smith.

"As the home entertainment business continues its exponential growth, we feel now more than ever the time is right to capitalize on the tremendous demand for superior family-friendly content made specifically for DVD consumers, said Stacey Snider, chairman, Universal Pictures. We have had tremendous success in the made-for-DVD arena to date and we are confident that by dedicating even greater attention to this platform, we will deliver exceptional entertainment that will appeal to the broadest range of audiences."

"We have always enjoyed a strong leadership position in this industry and we are now poised to build upon that role with USHEFP, an operating unit with a committed, singular focus on family-branded fare, that will allow us to make further inroads into animated television and the explosive made-for-DVD market," added Kornblau. "Glenn Ross is an accomplished professional who brings a wealth of valuable knowledge and expertise to the fold. The addition of such an accomplished professional to our team will only serve to heighten our competitive advantage as we aggressively carve out another avenue to effectively exploit the critically impactful home entertainment business."

Ross said, "I am excited to have the opportunity to work with the extensive assets and talents available at Universal Studios. As the family entertainment business continues to grow, the engine for continued growth will be the ability of our industry to identify new and creative programming to fuel demand. Universal Studios Home Entertainment Family Productions is committed to creating and acquiring compelling and innovative films that will position us as a leader in this category."

Veteran home entertainment exec Ross was president of Lions Gate's Family Home Entertainment division (FHE), responsible for the acquisition, production, marketing and day-to-day activities of all family entertainment projects. Previously he was evp FHE, where oversaw all DVD productions and marketing efforts for the division. Ross joined the company in January 1998, when it was Artisan Home Entertainment.

Prior to that, he served was svp of Hallmark Home Ent., responsible for the acquisition, marketing and sales of a broad range of films. Before Hallmark, Ross served as svp of Republic Pictures, where he was responsible for worldwide theatrical, home video and television marketing. Ross also was vp of marketing at RCA/Columbia Home Video, and began his career as director of creative services for RSO (The Robert Stigwood Organization) Records.

Universal Pictures is a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com), which is part of NBC Universal. NBC Universal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates the No. 1 television network, the fastest-growing Spanish-language network, a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi Universal.

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