Summary:

Mike Lang has resigned as CEO of Miramax effective immediately, according to the film company. Lang, a former News Corp. (NSDQ: NWS) exec i…

Miramax CEO Michael Lang at Mipcom 2011
photo: Mipcom

Mike Lang has resigned as CEO of Miramax effective immediately, according to the film company. Lang, a former News Corp. (NSDQ: NWS) exec instrumental in forming Hulu, joined Miramax in late 2010 after Disney (NYSE: DIS) sold the 700-title movie library to Santa Monica investor Colony Capital for $663 million.

Lang’s remit was to make that investment pay off by realizing the value of the library built by the Weinstein brothers — Shakespeare in Love, Chicago, Good Will Hunting, No Country for Old Men, Kill Bill, Spy Kids and more — and largely ignored by Disney when that relationship soured. Lang told paidContent last year that Disney managed about $1 million in digital revenue, mostly through electronic sell thru, and he saw the digital rights as fertile ground.

He was aggressive about maximizing the potential of streaming, VOD, international rights and more — and he managed some noteworthy deals, among them:

»  A multi-year agreement with Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) that could be worth $100 million if all the options play out.
»  Opting out of a potentially more lucrative exclusive deal in order to spread digital rights.
»  A separate agreement for Netflix UK and Latin America.
»  Deals with Starz and Hulu.
»  Home entertainment distribution through Lionsgate (NYSE: LGF) and Studiocanal.

Miramax also launched its own streaming rental program on Facebook, the Miramax eXperience, experimenting with Facebook credits as currency and iPad as a platform.

Miramax CFO Steve Schoch will be interim CEO during the search for Lang’s replacement. Lang remains as a consultant. Richard Nanula remains as chairman.

Why now? It looks like a move to operational from entrepreneurial, to delivery from the aggressive deal making needed to put the “new” company on sure footing. The Miramax name also could be valuable on a full studio, given resources and commitment.

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