Hollywood likes to go with what it knows. When looking for a new publicist, companies usually interview a familiar set of names, and rarely consider outsiders.
Hollywood likes to go with what it knows. When looking for a new
publicist, companies usually interview a familiar set of names, and
rarely consider outsiders.
Like many other bastions of tradition that cushion the film business
from the outside world, this one is crumbling. Naturally, most companies
have motored on without noticing, but a few have spotted the winds of
Earlier this year, Sony Pictures appointed Jerry Giaquinta to head its
corporate communications department. For Sony, Giaquinta’s background at
Silicon Graphics and Tandem Computers was the enticement. Filmed
entertainment accounts for a tiny portion of Sony’s total revenues;
substantially more important to the bottom line is the convergence of
technology in the home, requiring company spokespeople to be as
knowledgeable about electronics products as they are about Adam
Although the concept of ’synergy’ as championed by Sony has become a bit
of a joke in Hollywood, nobody doubts that the dollars 60 billion
conglomerate, whose interests span everything from VCRs to Seinfeld, is
well-positioned to take advantage of the entertainment revolution.
Sony executive VP Yuki Nozoe spelled out the Japanese company’s
thinking: ’Jerry’s background in technology will be especially helpful
as technology and content creation become more integrated and will have
to work closely with other parts of the Sony group to communicate
So far, Sony is the only studio to openly require its PR pros to be
well-versed in hardware. But similar developments are occurring at other
Last year, former Variety reporter Rex Weiner formed DDA Mediatek, an
offshoot of Dennis Davidson Associates specializing in technology and
The benefit of moving into this area for an agency is not only the lack
of competition, but also the ability to cut innovative financial
DDA Mediatek says that it will net a percentage of the sales revenues of
certain software products made by companies that it represents.
The consensus in Hollywood is that hi-tech companies will be the next
big investors in film. In five years, according to some, the likes of
Yahoo! and Microsoft will be calling the shots, rather than Viacom and
If this sounds unlikely, remember that News Corp. has already declared
that it will turn itself into an Internet company. And Artisan
Entertainment has turned the microbudget horror film The Blair Witch
Project into a box office success with an Internet-based PR campaign -
34 million hits on its web site and counting.
As this sort of activity grows, the knowledge of the Giaquintas and
Weiners will become indispensable. Any remaining PR Luddites should
enroll in night school now.