The Player: Goss ties it all together at Universal's Brand Group

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Universal Pictures has a brand-new plan for getting marketers to tie-in with its movies, and Beth Goss is the woman to execute it.

As exec VP of the newly created Brand Group division, the challenge for Ms. Goss is to give corporate America something it already gets from other massive media companies-content-but not distribution.

Vivendi Universal Entertainment, the parent group of Universal Pictures is not as vertically integrated as media conglomerates Viacom or News Corp. Apart from USA Networks, it doesn't have an array of Web sites, networks or other media.

"You look at the AOL Time Warners of the world and they create this umbrella with their distribution," said Ms. Goss. "We feel it's about our content." Formed last month, Brand Group is responsible for film promotions and related consumer products.

"The question is, how can you marry yourself to our content through all of the avenues that our content are distributed-whether we distribute it or not," she said.

Brand Group will look to create long-term marketing and licensing packages for the studio's franchise theatrical and home-video releases. Universal's big-name movie franchises include "Jurassic Park," "The Fast and the Furious," "E.T. The Extra Terrestial," "American Pie" and "The Mummy."

"This is really about having a dedicated team to focus in this franchise area," said Marc Shmuger, vice chairman, Universal Pictures. "We always found up until now, it was always everyone's eighth job of the day. Now, it's Beth's first, middle and last job of the day."

Ms. Goss was senior VP-worldwide promotions for Universal Pictures, and previously worked for Polygram Films in a similar capacity. Over the last three years, Ms. Goss worked on many film promotional deals, including one for "The Grinch," in which the U.S. Post Office placed a "Grinch" cancellation stamp on millions of pieces of mail around the high-volume Christmas season.

"She has a incredibly well-rounded perception of the marketplace, including, promotion placement and strategy," said Peter Graves, president of CineMarket, a Los Angeles entertainment-marketing firm, and former president-marketing, Polygram Filmed Entertainment. "In two years, she never failed me."

`fast and furious' again

One of her first projects is to build Universal's "Fast and Furious" movie franchise with next summer's sequel. In addition to many consumer-product tie-ins, Universal will create a music tour.

"Kind of like Lollapalooza," Ms. Goss said. "You bring the cars, and there are opportunities for all licensees to show product to the car audience. We are also talking about different ways to use "Fast and Furious" in television as well-not in a narrative format-but perhaps, reality, interstitial or anime."

Ms. Goss will work closely with Stephanie Sperber, senior VP-global alliances, Universal Pictures, to put together long-term consumer-product deals.

Fast Facts

Name: Beth Goss

Now: Exec VP, Universal Pictures' Brand Group

Challenge: Creating opportunities for marketers to tie-in with its movie franchises


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