Skip to main content

Frankel to Head Warner Cable Distribution

Longtime Warner Bros. cable executive Eric Frankel was named president of the entertainment company's domestic cable-distribution division last week, although he will no longer be involved in the studio's pay-per-view operations.

Frankel, who has been with Warner Bros. for 20 years, will assume responsibility for the sales, marketing and distribution of Warner Bros.-produced feature films, television series, miniseries, television movies and specials to the pay television and basic-cable markets, Warner Bros. executive vice president of television Bruce Rosenblum said.

"As the business of television changes and split broadcast and cable windows for original network programming, as well as off-network syndication, become the rule, rather than the rarity, we are fortunate to have Eric leading our charge," Rosenblum said in a prepared statement.

Frankel, who is currently executive vice president of marketing for Warner Bros. Domestic Pay-TV, Cable & Network Features Distribution, will take the helm of the new division in January, following the previously announced retirement of division president Edward Bleier.

Bleier will remain a consultant for the studio on all aspects of marketing and programming, including PPV.

"Eric's college resume spotlighted a very hard worker and a very quick learner," Bleier said in a prepared statement. "Eric's highly developed abilities, business knowledge, creative marketing and inventory management will continue our successful maximization of the industry's No. 1 program resource."

In a surprise to industry observers, Frankel's new responsibilities will no longer include PPV duties for the studio.

In addition to marketing already-produced product, he also initiated and marketed such successful PPV events as the Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini-Hector "Macho" Camacho middleweight-championship fight and the "James Brown Living in America" and "Matchbox 20 Live from Australia" concerts for the company.

PPV duties will be handled under the watch of Warner Bros. 'Los Angeles-based home-video president, Warren Liberfarb. Senior vice president

of sales, planning and business affairs Jeff Calman will continue to handle PPV duties.

Some PPV executives had expressed concerns that Warner Bros. 'very aggressive and mostly cable-friendly PPV efforts would be curtailed once its home-video division took control. Home video and PPV compete for the best window availability for top studio titles.

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.