Beeks, Hastings, O’Brien will be inducted December 3 Proceeds to benefit Variety – The Children’s Charity of Southern California

By Wendy Wilson — Video Business, 9/17/2007

SEPT. 17 — Lionsgate president and chief operating office Steve Beeks; Netflix founder, chairman and CEO Reed Hastings; and Bill O’Brien, co–founder of Video Business and the Video Hall of Fame, will be recognized for their roles as champions of new business models and creativity in content when they are inducted into the Video Business Video Hall of Fame on Dec. 3.

The three executives will be recognized together at VB’s 27th annual fundraising fête, to be held at the Beverly Hills Hotel, a new venue. To date, the Video Hall of Fame benefit has raised more than $3 million for Variety–The Children’s Charity of Southern California. (no relation to VB’s sister publication Variety).

Inductee Beeks is credited in large part with building Lionsgate into an industry leader with laser focus on profitability for the studio and its retail customers and savvy marketing of library product and genre features. Under his direction, Lionsgate is recognized as a leader in the transition to high–definition DVD formats and Internet movie downloads. Beeks also is expanding the studio’s international operations.

Appointed president of Lionsgate shortly after the company acquired Artisan in 2006, Beeks has overseen operations as the company has grown to almost $530 million in annual revenue and committed to digital delivery of content. He had served Artisan as president prior to the Lionsgate acquisition.

Beeks also started Hallmark Home Entertainment for the Hallmark Card Company in 1994 and was president of Republic Pictures’ home entertainment group.

Hastings changed the way movies come home with customers with the launch of Netflix’s subscription service in 1999. Under his leadership, the online rental retailer set a new standard for customer service and selection to which online and bricks–and–mortar retailers now aspire. The company also created a significant new outlet for specialized films and is playing a role in leading the industry into electronic distribution of feature films.

Netflix currently counts more than 6.7 million subscribers, with Hastings still at the helm as chairman and CEO.

Computers have always been at the heart of Hastings’ business ventures. Before Netflix, he founded Pure Software. His expertise is widely acknowledged: Earlier this year, Hastings was appointed to serve on Microsoft’s board.

O’Brien currently serves as chairman of Reed Data Services, a company that provides circulation, fulfillment and research services to VB parent company Reed Business Information. His history in publishing is long and marked by the ability to identify new markets and develop the right content for them.

With the video industry exploding into a bona fide business phenomenon, O&rsqup;Brien helped launch both Video Review (a consumer magazine) and Video Business in the early ’80s. From 1984 to 1990, O’Brien was VB publisher, transitioning the publication from a feature monthly to a news weekly format in 1988.

O’Brien co–founded the Video Hall of Fame in 1981 as a way of recognizing outstanding contributors to the emerging home entertainment industry while benefiting children in need.

Long considered the “Heart of Show Business,” Variety – The Children’s Charity finds its roots in the entertainment industry when it was established in 1927 by eleven Vaudeville showmen. It continues on today for one reason – to help care for children in need. In its 7–decade legacy of caring for children, Variety has become the largest and most effective children’s charity in the world.