COMEDY CENTRAL, the #1 brand in comedy, has created COMEDY CENTRAL Enterprises, a new business division that will focus on building upon COMEDY CENTRAL's leadership position in the industry through consumer products, home video, CDs and digital downloads, publishing, and live touring, it was announced today by Michele Ganeless, President, COMEDY CENTRAL. Mitch Fried has been promoted to the newly formed position of Executive Vice President, COMEDY CENTRAL Enterprises and will head up the new business division, reporting to Ganeless. Fried was formerly Senior Vice President, COMEDY CENTRAL Live Entertainment.
"In the increasingly fractured world of content distribution, success today means reaching fans everywhere. The formation of COMEDY CENTRAL Enterprises strengthens our relationship with our fans. It's another example of the kind of extension that keeps COMEDY CENTRAL the #1 brand in comedy," said Ganeless. "Mitch Fried is an experienced and innovative executive with a long history at COMEDY CENTRAL. Respected and well-liked throughout the industry, he knows the brand intimately and is the perfect person to spearhead our efforts under the new Enterprises banner."
"By consolidating these brand extensions into a single business division with a common goal, we are in a better position to grow and strengthen the brand and provide our fans with what they want most, easily-accessible, high-quality comedy, both on screens and off," said Fried. "Forming the Enterprises division also provides benefits to our talent partners by offering them massive exposure to our fans and a multitude of opportunities and points of distribution to increase their own following and generate revenue by getting their content in front of an ever-widening consumer base."
COMEDY CENTRAL Enterprises will bring together a number of category-leading brand extensions under Fried's oversight, including the previously independent Consumer Products, Home Entertainment, Records, Live Entertainment and Publishing divisions. Under Fried's leadership, COMEDY CENTRAL Enterprises will incorporate everything from negotiating with talent representation to execution, distribution, production and marketing support of these ancillary businesses. Fried will seek to expand the network's business partnerships with the talent community through omni-platform deals, which will encompass any combination of the division's brand extensions. Reporting to Fried are Vice Presidents Steve Raizes and Jack Vaughn, who will be charged with developing and maximizing the synergistic elements of the new Enterprises division.
The industry-leading businesses now reporting to Fried under the Enterprises banner include:
COMEDY CENTRAL Consumer Products – generating $2 billion at retail since its inception, the Consumer Products division negotiates with third parties to translate COMEDY CENTRAL shows, personalities and characters into consumer goods including apparel, social expressions, toys, games, electronics and consumables. Recent highlights include a partnership with Frito Lay and Wal-Mart to introduce "Cheesy Poofs" to the market in celebration of the 15th anniversary of "South Park," as well as a licensing program surrounding "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," "The Colbert Report" and the brand's own "Indecision" political coverage. Additional programs launching in 2012/2013 include efforts around "Tosh.0," "Workaholics" and stand-up comedy.
COMEDY CENTRAL Home Entertainment – responsible for over $500 million in sales since its creation, the Home Entertainment division includes DVD and digital on demand releases of the COMEDY CENTRAL series and stand-up specials distributed through Paramount Home Entertainment, including four of the top five stand-up DVD releases of 2011. Recent releases from Jeff Dunham and Gabriel Iglesias have sold a combined one million units in only six months. The upcoming slate includes artists such as Demetri Martin, Chris Hardwick and Patton Oswalt.