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Profile: MGM Digital’s Douglas Lee

Jan 9, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The player: Douglas Lee, executive vice president of worldwide digital media at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
The play: Mr. Lee helped launch MGM’s U.S. high-definition channel on DirecTV in October, using all-day programming to showcase the studio’s movie inventory. About 1,000 of MGM’s 4,000 films, including the “Rocky,” “Pink Panther” and “James Bond” movies, have been converted to high definition, a process that can cost as much as $100,000 for a single movie, Lee said. MGM will convert another 1,500 movies within the next few years while offering original programming. The studio will announce another distribution agreement for the channel by March, said Lee, who declined to identify any partners.
The pitch: MGM benefits from both the growing number of U.S. households with HD televisions and its DirecTV channel location between AMC and Turner Classic Movies, Lee said. “We look very good in that neighborhood because AMC and TCM are standard-def channels,” Lee said.
Backstory: Lee joined MGM about two years ago, after working for HBO, News Corp., Universal Television and Voom HD Networks. He helped News Corp. unit Fox Television expand its satellite television operations overseas in the early 1990s. He also helped create the Noggin children’s network with the Sesame Workshop and Nickelodeon. The New York native earned an undergraduate journalism degree from UC Berkeley and a law degree from Georgetown University.
Blu-ray or HD DVD: MGM distributes its films in the Blu-ray format. “It really is a pretty fabulous-looking technology,” said Lee, adding, “It’s hurting the marketplace to have two formats.” That concern may recede after Warner Bros. last week announced it was siding with Blu-ray, spelling hard times for HD DVD.

7 Comments

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