Kara Swisher

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New Miramax CEO Lang Talks Digital Options for Movie Company

While the news has been be out there for a month, Miramax officially confirmed this morning that former News Corp. exec Mike Lang was named CEO of the Hollywood movie company.

What will be interesting about that for digital content players will be to see exactly what the man who was deeply involved in deals to buy the Myspace social networking site and also create the Hulu premium video service will do with Miramax’s rich trove of more than 700 award-winning films, including “Shakespeare in Love” and “Pulp Fiction,” in its movie library.

Lang left his post as EVP of business development and strategy at Fox Entertainment, including its film studio, broadcast network, sports and cable channel, earlier this year.

BoomTown spoke to him last night about his new job, which came after he advised the group that finally won Miramax–Filmyard Holdings.

“We are trying to take this company to the next level by exploring not only our traditional options, but our digital ones,” he said.

Miramax will not be aggressive in making new movies, but in taking advantage of the sequel rights it has to a number of hits, as well as the existing movies, which include four of the last 15 Best Picture Oscar winners.

“Our strategy is still emerging, but we want to exploit our assets in a variety of ways,” said Lang, who noted that could include everything from subscription deals with online video services, such as Netflix and Amazon, to digital content lockers in the cloud.

“We want people to be able to access our content across multiple medias,” he said. “We’ll take any payment, of course, but we also have to be smart about how we do these things.”

Lang, who has always had a foot in both worlds, said he thinks that digital media could develop similarly to the way traditional media has.

“There is no reason to think that digital will not emulate older media, with different windows in which subscribers watch content,” he said.

But, said Lang, he also thinks there is still life in physical media, such as Blu-ray players.

Since the deal just closed with former Miramax owner Disney, there are no employees yet for the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company.

But once he staffs up, Langs said he hopes to present a different picture of Hollywood to the digerati than the more typical wary hostility.

“Our goal really is we want to send a signal that we are a different company,” said Lang. “Not only about digital, but in being an innovative company.”

Here is the official press release about Lang:


SANTA MONICA, CA–December 8, 2010–Miramax today announced that Michael Lang has been appointed chief executive officer, effective immediately. Lang will be based at the new Miramax headquarters in Santa Monica and will oversee the renowned Miramax film library, which was acquired by Filmyard Holdings on December 3, 2010.

“I have known and worked closely with Mike for almost 20 years and have always respected his talents,” said Richard Nanula, chairman of Miramax and a principal at Colony Capital. “We are confident that he is the right person to lead Miramax in its next phase of growth.”

“I have always admired the Miramax library, which includes many respected titles and award-winning films,” said Lang. “Based on the quality of these assets, I believe bringing new life to this library–by working with traditional and new partners–will be an exciting and unprecedented story of growth and innovation. I am honored by this opportunity, and I look forward to working with my partners as we build a new kind of media company.”

Lang, 45, most recently served as a consultant to Filmyard in its acquisition of Miramax. Prior to that, he was EVP, Business Development and Strategy at Fox Entertainment, responsible for strategic initiatives across News Corp.’s entertainment assets, including Fox’s film studio, broadcast network, sports and cable channels. Lang played key roles in the acquisition of MySpace and the formation of the MySpace Music joint venture, and he led the creation of Hulu, with major broadcast partners. In addition, Lang was involved in Fox’s mobile, digital and video game initiatives. He joined Fox in 2004.

Prior to Fox, Lang served as a consultant on media-related investments. In the late ’90s, he was a founding executive of Z.com. Lang began his career at The Walt Disney Company in Strategic Planning. Lang earned his MBA with high distinction at Harvard Business School and he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Claremont McKenna College.

(Full disclosure: News Corp. owns Dow Jones, which owns this site.)

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