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Warner Bros. creates a new unit overseeing big brands, including DC

Warner Bros. creates a new unit overseeing big brands, including DC
Pam Lifford, who is the highest ranking African American woman at Warner Bros., was promoted to head the studios' global brands and experiences division. (Warner Bros.)

Warner Bros. Entertainment, now owned by mobile giant AT&T, has formed a new division to make the most of its big brands, including comic book publisher DC Entertainment.

The new unit, which carries the buzzword-heavy name of Warner Bros. Global Brands and Experiences, will be led by Pam Lifford, who most recently headed the Burbank-based studio’s consumer products business.

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The move represents a promotion for Lifford, 55, who is the highest ranking African American woman at the studio and reports directly to Warner Bros. Chief Executive Kevin Tsujihara. Lifford first joined Warner Bros. in 2016, after 12 years at Walt Disney Co.

In her new job, Lifford will oversee toy licensing, DC, theme park attractions and a “global franchise team,” Warner Bros. said Thursday. She will be in charge of creating new initiatives to make its characters omnipresent outside movies and TV shows.

Warner Bros.’ latest corporate revamp is part of an effort to better take advantage of its lucrative franchises, including Batman, Superman and Bugs Bunny, under AT&T ownership.

Dallas-based AT&T in June completed its $85-billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc., now called Warner Media, with a promise to use movies and shows from Warner Bros. and its sister companies to allow viewers to stream content through their mobile devices around the clock.

“With competition for consumers’ attention more intense than ever ... this is a great way to help focus on creating opportunities for fans to meaningfully interact with our brands and franchises at a level beyond the screen,” Tsujihara said in a statement.

DC Entertainment’s publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio will continue to lead the venerable comics business, which operates separately from the film and TV studio, and will report to Lifford.

DC has weathered multiple leadership changes as Warner Bros. tries to compete with rival Disney’s Marvel Entertainment. Diane Nelson, its president, stepped down in June for personal reasons, according to the company. In another shake-up shortly afterward, Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns relinquished his executive duties.

Tsujihara and Warner Bros. Pictures Chairman Toby Emmerich have been making moves to improve the quality and performance of the DC films after the disappointment of last year’s “Justice League.” The studio in January put Walter Hamada, previously a successful executive at New Line Cinema, in charge of the superhero movies.

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