Michael Lynton Roundtable Breakfast

May 24, 2011
8:15 – 9:30 AM
Los Angeles

This event was exclusive to Media Council members and other invited guests. To find out if you're eligible to join the Media Council, contact Stephanie Kousoulas at 212-621-6732 or mediacouncil@paleycenter.org.

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Michael Lynton
Chairman and CEO
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Michael Lynton became chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment in January, 2004.  He manages Sony Pictures’ overall global operations, which include motion picture, television, and digital content production and distribution, home entertainment acquisition and distribution, operation of studio facilities, and the development of new entertainment products, services, and technologies.

Under the leadership of Lynton and co-chairman Amy Pascal, Sony Pictures’ motion picture division has enjoyed a remarkable run in the past several years, releasing such hits as Hancock, Quantum of Solace, Angels & Demons, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Julie & Julia, District 9, Michael Jackson’s This Is It,  and 2012.  In 2009, the studio had nearly $3.6 billion in worldwide box office receipts, its best year ever. In 2010, the studio had great success with films like The Karate Kid, Salt, Grown-Ups, and The Social Network.

Sony Pictures Television produces such successful shows as Breaking Bad, Rules of Engagement, and The Big C. The division has top ranked game shows and daytime dramas, including Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, The Young and the Restless, and Days of our Lives.  In conjunction with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions, the television studio launched The Dr. Oz Show, which is one of the most popular syndicated programs in America. The Dr. Oz format has also been exported to Russia, Saudi Arabia, and China (where for the first time a Hollywood studio is producing a talk show for Chinese television).

Internationally, the studio’s channel network includes 122 channel feeds in more than 140 countries reaching approximately 435 million viewers worldwide. Sony Pictures Television is also becoming a leader in light entertainment, which includes games, variety, and reality shows. It also operates Crackle, which is one of the top six online video networks.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment continues to be one of the leaders in DVD and Blu-ray Disc distribution in the world, and is rapidly expanding its digital distribution business. Sony Pictures Digital Productions is home to Imageworks, the only major studio Academy Award-winning in-house visual effects unit, and Sony Pictures Animation, which produced the 3D hit, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs.

Sony Pictures has also been an industry leader in the creation and distribution of mobile entertainment, efforts to combat piracy, and the digitization of its large library of entertainment. The studio has helped introduce 3D to the entertainment industry, with 3D productions at Imageworks, 3D Blu-ray Discs distributed by the home entertainment division, the creation of a 3D television channel with Discovery and IMAX, and the establishment of the Sony 3D Technology Center, located on the Sony Pictures historic lot in Culver City, which has trained more than 1000 professionals in the making of quality 3D content.

By focusing on digital transformation, worldwide growth, content diversity, and financial discipline, Lynton has led the studio through an era of innovation and success, putting Sony Pictures on the cutting edge of an industry experiencing rapid technological and global change.

Lynton and Pascal have put a major emphasis on environmental sustainability at Sony Pictures. The studio opened two buildings that were recently awarded LEED gold certification for their exacting environmental standards. This year, Sony Pictures was also honored by the Environmental Media Association and TreePeople for its green productions and volunteerism.

Lynton and Pascal report to Sir Howard Stringer, chairman, CEO, and president of Sony Corporation.

Prior to joining Sony Pictures, Lynton worked for Time Warner and served as CEO of AOL Europe, president of AOL International and president of Time Warner International. During his tenure, AOL expanded into Asia and Latin America and became the world’s largest online Internet service, operating in seventeen countries and eight languages.

From 1996 to 2000, Lynton served as chairman and CEO of Pearson plc’s Penguin Group, where he oversaw the acquisition of Putnam, Inc. and extended the Penguin brand to music and the Internet. He helped lead the Penguin Group to new records in bestsellers, revenues, and profits.

Lynton joined The Walt Disney Company in 1987 and started Disney Publishing, serving as its president.  While there, he launched Disney Adventures magazine.  From 1992 to1996, he served as president of Disney’s Hollywood Pictures, where he helped bring such films as The Horse Whisperer, The Santa Clause, Crimson Tide, and Mr. Holland’s Opus to the big screen.

Lynton graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1978 and attended Harvard, receiving his degree in history and literature in 1982. He worked for a time in an investment banking firm on Wall Street and returned to Harvard to attend business school, receiving his MBA in 1987.

In his spare time, Lynton has worked with Gary Ginsberg and Jay Sanderson to compile an annual list of the “50 Most Influential Rabbis in America,” which has been published in Newsweek since 2007.

Lynton’s involvement in charitable and civic activities includes membership on the Council on Foreign Relation and service on the boards of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, the Rand Corporation, and the Modern Times Group. He serves on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, to which he was appointed by President Barack Obama.

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