Disney names new studios chief

New technologies, high-quality films, expanding markets on agenda for new company head. MEDIA DISTRICT WEST -- Expanding into new technology and creating profitable yet high-quality films will be among the areas of focus for the new president of the Walt Disney Studios.

Alan Bergman was promoted to the post Wednesday by Walt Disney Pictures Chairman Dick Cook.

Bergman had been serving as executive vice president and chief financial officer for the studios.

"I'll be focusing on strategy and operations of the studios," said Bergman, who joined the Disney company in 1996. "That would include changing new technology and international expansion."

It is important for Disney to position itself now to take advantage of emerging technologies, including Blu-ray, the next generation of digital disc that can play and record high-definition video, Bergman said.

"We want to work to bring acceptance to Blu-ray by the public," Bergman said.

Cook described Bergman as the "quintessential strategist" and a terrific leader who deserved the promotion.

"As we continue to grow our business both domestically and internationally; as we look to new distribution channels and develop the newest in technological advancements, I have every confidence that Alan will guide us into the future making sure that the Walt Disney Studios remains in the forefront of the entertainment industry," Cook said.

The business units Bergman will oversee include Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Buena Vista Pictures Marketing, Buena Vista International, Miramax, Buena Vista Home Entertainment worldwide, Disney Theatrical Productions, the Buena Vista Music Group, Buena Vista Television and Buena Vista Television International.

Earlier this year Bergman designed the deal in which Miramax founders Bob and Harvey Weinstein split from the company, leaving Disney with its 800-film library.

Production for new Miramax films, however will be scaled back.

"We are set to put out between five and eight films a year," Bergman said. "That's the strategy.

Some may be to a limited audience but we want movies that are profitable, high quality and have the potential to break out."

Weak box office sales on six Miramax films contributed to the company posting a $313-million loss in operating income for the fourth quarter.

But Bergman expressed excitement for Disney films in theaters now.

"We're off to a great start with "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "Chicken Little" and I'm excited about the upcoming year," Bergman said.

Prior to joining Disney, Bergman spent more than seven years at PricewaterhouseCoopers in their entertainment practice. BERGMAN

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