CBS Creates New Division, Adds Merchandiser

In an effort to build brand and make get more merchandising buck for its programming bang, CBS has created a new division, restructured an existing one and added a top merchandiser.

The network said Tuesday it has created a licensing and merchandising unit, CBS Consumer Products.  Elizabeth Kalodner, the formerVP and GM of global consumer products for Sesame Workshop, will run it as executive VP and GM.

Up until 2005, Kalodner had been running the $1.2 billion merchandising giant which includes theme parks, shows, DVD's, toys, gifts.

The unit will be moved from the CBS Television Distribution division to the Entertainment Group with Kalodner reporting to group President Nancy Tellem. Kalodner will take over the company's retail stores, online merchandise sales and look to build new franchises across CBS, CBS Paramount and CBS TV Distribution product. She will have a focus on current series like CSI, Jericho, and Survivor.

In a related move, the DVD business will become a separate unit, CBS Home Entertainment, which remains under CBS Television Distribution. Heading the new stand-alone operation will be Ken Ross, who will be executive VP and GM of that unit.

Ross had been heading up licensing, merchandising and home video for CBS properties as head of consumer products.

CBS is looking to boost its DVD releases by double-digits, helped by the fact that video's from co-owned Showtime are now part of the CBS DVD catalog.

The move essentially splits consumer products into two teams that more closely align with the bulk of their programming, Home Entertainment with library product and Consumer Products with current series.

“With this move, we’ve created a consumer products operation that is singularly focused and more closely aligned with the programming to better identify and create new business opportunities for our content assets,” Tellem said in announcing the move.   

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.