WMA taps Gersh to lead IP


Former Disney/ABC business development executive Bruce Gersh has joined WMA, where he will focus on the development of intellectual property on behalf of the agency's clients.

Gersh has been named senior vp strategy and operations, IP, at WMA, which he joins after creating and overseeing the business development group for ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios for the past eight years. As senior vp business development, Gersh was involved in pioneering several business development initiatives for such programs as "Lost," "Desperate Housewives," "Dancing With the Stars" and "Grey's Anatomy" across digital and traditional arenas.

Those initiatives included putting full episodes of shows on ABC.com and iTunes, developing and launching ABC Mobile, establishing the business model of bringing ABC series to DVD and developing product lines, video games, soundtracks and books.

Gersh said his approach involved working directly with producers and creative executives to come up with new ideas. For example, Gersh and his team worked closely with "Lost's" producing team to craft plans that had their "stamp of approval," including video games, novelizations, DVDs, magazines, trading cards, action figures and digital initiatives.

Another initiative Gersh oversaw was a fragrance tie-in for the daytime soap "All My Children." A story line featured the characters working on a fragrance, dubbed Enchantment, which became available at Wal-Mart stores the same day it launched in the show. Two more fragrances have followed: Fusion and Charm, the latter of which launched Monday at Sears.

At WMA, Gersh will be working with clients across every area of the business, reporting to John Fogelman, executive vp and worldwide head of motion pictures.

"Bruce's ability to generate ancillary opportunities for our artists will create new revenue streams that will ensure their artistic and economic sustainability," Fogelman said. "Bruce is a visionary, having built his division at ABC to become a major source of development, growth and sustainability for their most popular franchises."

Added Gersh: "The beauty of William Morris is there is a vast array of creative people in every sector. I will be working with a large majority of them to try to craft business ideas. There's a very large sandbox to play in."