Fragen gets to Summit


The newly revamped independent film studio Summit Entertainment has beefed up its executive ranks with the hiring of Paramount Pictures exec Alex Fragen as president of domestic television distribution.

Fragen will oversee Summit's distribution efforts for free and pay television, VOD, pay-per-view and hotel and airline sales across the domestic television marketplace. He also will be involved in developing the new-media distribution strategy for Summit's home entertainment division.

Fragen spent 14 years at Paramount, where he most recently was senior vp domestic television distribution, responsible for all aspects of television distribution for the Paramount Pictures library in the U.S. and Canada.

At Summit, he will report to Bob Hayward, COO at the production and distribution studio.

"Alex has a tremendous track record in the television arena, and it is a real win for our studio that he is joining us for this important position," Hayward said. "As consumer viewing habits continue to evolve on television and via the Internet, Summit will look to Alex to put us in business with the right partners to maximize viewership and the financial returns on our films."

Summit was relaunched in April after Robert G. Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger closed a financing deal led by Merrill Lynch, along with a consortium of investors, that gave Summit access to more than $1 billion for development, production, acquisition, marketing and distribution of filmed entertainment across all media. Summit, which handles marketing and distribution of its own internally developed motion pictures as well as acquired films, aims to release 10-12 movies a year.

Friedman and Wachsberger serve as co-chairman of Summit, with Friedman as the CEO and Wachsberger as president and also CEO of Summit International.

"Summit is perfectly positioned to take advantage of all of the opportunities that are now available in both the traditional and new-media channels," Fragen said. "With a tremendous track record of international distribution expertise, I am excited to have the opportunity to lead the studio's transition into the domestic marketplace. Rob, Patrick and Bob have an impeccable reputation in the industry, and I am proud to join such an elite group of executives."

Among other roles at Paramount, Fragen also worked in the company's domestic pay television department, serving as senior vp for the ancillary market group. During this time, he created the business-to-consumer marketing division for the VOD and PPV group, increasing annual revenue in this area by 50% in two years. He also rebuilt the ancillary market group, which led to the group exceeding revenue goals by 15%.

Before Paramount, Fragen held positions at investment bank Putnam Lovell Inc. and Petry Television. He began his career at NBC with the television stations group.