Management of DC Entertainment (including DC Comics) has been shuffled once again as Warner Bros. creates a new division to handle all its various branding and entertainment experiences. Pam Lifford has been made President of the new company.
The new division is called Warner Bros. Global Brands and Experiences – which they abbreviate as WBGBE, which is as uncomfortable an acronym as the name of the company itself is – and its job will be to manage Warner Bros. consumer products, DC Comics and DC Entertainment, themed entertainment and a new global franchise team. The announcement was made yesterday by Kevin Tsujihara, Board Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros.
Jim Lee is still handling DC’s day-to-day operations as Publisher and Chief Creative Officer, along with Dan DiDio, Publisher, both of whom will now report directly to Lifford. Consumer Products will be led by its current management team. The Wizarding World franchise business will continue to be overseen separately by Josh Berger, President & Managing Director, Warner Bros. UK, Ireland and Spain, and President of Harry Potter Global Franchise Development, reporting directly to Tsujihara. All the big stuff we love from Warner Bros. is actually some pretty serious business, and it’s all coming together into a single management network now.
The new Warner Bros. company takes all the various pieces of the Warner consumer empire that’s built up around all the entertainment products they produce and grafts a new brain and nervous system on top. This will make it easier for Warner Bros. to coordinate efforts across all their products and branding, which is a good thing. It’s been pretty obvious over the past few years that Warner Bros. has been letting a lot of these things just sort of run along on autopilot, with individuals running each subdivision without a whole lot of strategic planning tying everything together.
They’re trying to play the long game. By forming WBGBE, they’re hoping to have better coordination between their marketing efforts and their various franchises, with the goal of creating multi-generational, lifelong fan bases.
“This is an incredible opportunity for us to super-serve our fans across a variety of platforms and venues throughout their lifetimes,” said Lifford. “Warner Bros. has world-class characters and brands that are beloved around the world—from our licensed DC Super Heroes and the Looney Tunes and Hanna Barbera animated superstars to a library of over 10,000 films and TV shows—and we’re now making it a priority to bring these properties to fans in new and exciting ways. I’m thrilled to take on this challenge and look forward to working with my colleagues across the Studio to make this new business a great success.”
As President of WBGBE, Lifford is “charged with developing all-new fan-engagement business opportunities as well as working to align the current fan-focused activities of WBCP, Themed Entertainment and DC that lend themselves to next-level development.” That’s basically PR speak for, “Warner Bros. has figured out that engaging the fans is their best path forward, and it’ll be her job to figure out exciting new ways to do that.” They’re hoping to get Warner Bros. intellectual properties to the point where there’s always something new to see and do.
DC Comics has been a subsidiary of Warner Communications since 1989, when Warner merged with Time, Inc., the publishers of DC Comics.
Lifford joined the Studio as President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products in February 2016, and in her first year at WBCP, she increased overall business by 47 percent. That’s pretty impressive. Turning things around that fast was probably a major factor in WB’s decision to pull out the captain’s chair and get her to sit in it.
We wish Ms. Lifford the best of luck in her new role. We suspect she will not need it.