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Q&A: Premiere Digital’s Michele Edelman Discusses the Company and Her Two Decades in Home Entertainment

Michele Edelman is head of growth at Premiere Digital, a media services and software solutions company. With more than 20 years of executive experience and extensive knowledge of home entertainment, Edelman has been at the forefront of an evolving OTT landscape, from launching TVOD/EST programs at Warner Bros., to spearheading VOD strategies at Vubiquity, to redefining distribution at Premiere Digital.

Before joining Premiere Digital, she served as EVP of marketing and content strategy at Vubiquity, where she oversaw global execution of cross-departmental marketing, corporate communications and creative strategy, as well as the management and merchandising of premium content. Prior to that, she was worldwide VP at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, where she oversaw a variety of departments, including direct-to-consumer marketing, digital distribution marketing, programming and acquisitions.  Her work includes sales and marketing campaigns for some of the world’s biggest studios, including ESPN, Disney and MTV Networks, as well as cross-industry initiatives to promote the growth of emerging digital formats. In October of 2019, Michele joined Premiere Digital to focus on the company’s mission of helping its customers monetize content and streamline operations, as well as on its vision of positioning itself for the ongoing future of digital distribution.

Media Play News asked Edelman about her company’s game plan and about the direction of a home entertainment industry she has been a part of for more than two decades.

MPN: Can you tell us about the history of Premiere Digital and what services it offers?

Edelman: Premiere Digital was founded in 2008 by Erik Anderson who was on the original iTunes video distribution team. We currently have three production facilities located in Los Angeles, Stamford, Conn., and Bangalore, India, and a satellite sales office in Toronto. Erik always had vision and realized the digital supply chain could be “smarter,” so he started Premiere Digital. 

Erik also happened to be my client while I was at Warner Bros. and when he called me to welcome me to Premiere his number came up with the Apple/iTunes co. I felt like I shot back 10 years while at the same time was moving ahead 10.

MPN: Premiere last year launched its first title The Wall. What’s the strategy for getting into content distribution, what other titles has Premiere launched and what others are in the works?

Edelman: The amount of content that does not make it to the marketplace is staggering. Tons of films and TV shows are made and never seen by an audience. We’re giving those projects a chance at making it to screens and aggregating on behalf of the content makers to the marketplace. This project started back in 2019 and The Wall was the first big one to date. We plan to do a number of these a year. One other successful TV show that was distributed by us was “The Chosen” that performed so well on digital platforms, the production company created a season two.

MPN: Premiere has been a champion for women in technology. What steps have you and the company taken to make it a welcoming environment for women and how does it affect company strategy?

Edelman: Premiere is a champion of people and many of them happen to be women. I don’t want to make it sound like I’m skirting the issue but we truly are champions of people and do our part to participate where the need is. For example, we go above and beyond in the social awareness category almost every month, changing our logos color to reflect a necessary cause and making donations where we can. LGBTQ+, Breast Cancer Awareness, Black History, Hispanic Heritage … the list goes on. WiTH is also part of this donation to support Women in Technology in Hollywood. So, to support your statement, we champion women, minorities and whoever needs additional support.

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MPN: As a home entertainment industry veteran, how do you see the evolution of the business, from its early days on VHS to disc to today’s business models What kind of smart tools do companies need to thrive in a constantly evolving digital ecosystem?

Edelman: I love this topic and feel proud to have been on the ground floor of the physical to digital entertainment shift. It was exciting to see how the industry pulled together and then the market just evolved as a result. It was the people that spearheaded it with the original transactional platforms … cable VOD, iTunes, Amazon, Xbox, Playstation and now today it’s pretty much all we know. What sensational times.

MPN: Speaking of this evolution, what kind of smart tools do companies need to thrive in a constantly evolving digital ecosystem?

Edelman: We probably need better tools that manage all assets whether they be video, artwork, languages, data, promos, even text in one location so that companies can build their assets for global distribution. We spend a lot of time looking for components in multiple locations so a central point that includes all asset elements would be the pie in the sky. An individual film title goes live globally with various languages, metadata, promotional assets and creative elements for advertising. Multiple teams develop and store assets in multiple locations. Multiple individuals have access for various reasons in multiple languages. A central location for everything would make everything easier for everyone.

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