Cookson goes high tech at Sony Pictures


UPDATED 8:28 p.m. PT Jan. 2, 2007

Christopher Cookson has his eye on the future as the new president of Sony Pictures Technologies.

"We need to take a look ahead, three, five, seven years and put ourselves in the best position we can for the future," said Cookson, who was named to his post on Wednesday after spending 15 years at Warner Bros. Entertainment (HR 12/21). "It is critical that we think about the long-term value of what we are putting into the vault and that we not put in less than we did historically with film."

In this new position, Cookson, who was chief technical officer as well as president of the Warner Bros. Technical Operations division, will oversee the development and implementation of the studio's technology policy and processes. Significantly, he also will serve as Sony Pictures' chief liaison with other Sony Corp. businesses in the area of technology.

"I'm going to be working with the folks at Sony to find ways to protect the value of what we are producing," Cookson said, "and that means working out the methods and costs involved in getting (archiving) done in 4K. ... I will continue to keep that as a focus, but that is one of many things that we will work on."

Sony Pictures CTO Mitch Singer and his team also will operate under the new Sony Pictures Technologies banner and report to Cookson. Cookson will report to Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and co-chairman Amy Pascal.

Said Lynton: "One key responsibility for Chris is his role as technology liaison with Sony Corp. and its businesses. That is a crucial part of Howard Stringer's vision of 'Sony United,' whereby the people and companies of Sony work closely together to bring content and hardware together as we move from the analog to the digital age."

With Cookson gone, Warners technical operations will be realigned under Darcy Antonellis, executive vp distribution and technology operations at Warner Bros. Technical Operations and senior vp worldwide anti-piracy operations at Warner Bros. Entertainment; and Chuck Dages, executive vp emerging technology in the Technical Operations unit.

Cookson began his career with Warners in 1992 and was named CTO in 1999. Earlier, he was vp and GM of operations and engineering at the CBS Television Network. Before that, he worked 10 years at the ABC Television Network, where he won an Emmy for his work as director of the ABC and International Olympics Broadcast Centers.

Cookson holds more than 30 U.S. patents, including several involving DVDs.