You Can't Put All Your Eggs in the Grand Theft Auto Basket
One of our significant strategic imperatives was to diversify the product base, so the company built up other franchises to create an enterprise that could be and would be profitable year in, year out.
Strauss Zelnick currently serves as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., producers of the Grand Theft Auto videogame series.
In 2001, Zelnick co-founded ZelnickMedia, a partnership of experienced media executives and investors. The firm manages and owns interests in an array of media enterprises, including video games and interactive entertainment, television advertising, wireless network enabling software, business information, tradeshows and media-related business services.
Prior to forming ZelnickMedia, Mr. Zelnick was President and Chief Executive Officer of BMG Entertainment, a $4.7 billion music and entertainment company with more than 200 record labels and operations in 54 countries.Before joining BMG Entertainment, Mr. Zelnick was President and Chief Executive Officer of Crystal Dynamics, a producer and distributor of interactive entertainment software. Prior to that, he spent four years as President and Chief Operating Officer of 20th Century Fox, where he managed all aspects of Fox Inc.’s worldwide motion picture production and distribution business. Previously, he spent three years at Vestron Inc., two as the company’s President and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Zelnick also served as Vice President, International Television at Columbia Pictures.
Mr. Zelnick is a director of Starwood Property Group, Inc. and served previously on the boards of Reed Elsevier NV, Carver Bancorp, Inc., Insignia Financial Group, Inc. and Moviefone Inc., among other companies. He is a Trustee Emeritus of Wesleyan University and holds a BA from Wesleyan University, an MBA from The Harvard Business School and a JD from The Harvard Law School.
One of the challenges when our team joined Take-Two was the company had had a very volatile set of results. In the year in which they released a Grand Theft Auto title, they’d make a lot of money, and in years in which they didn’t, they would typically lose a significant amount of money. And that’s not a recipe for a very successful company over the long haul either in terms of risk or reward.
So one of our significant strategic imperatives was to diversify the product base, so the company built up other franchises to create an enterprise that could be and would be profitable year in, year out. And obviously with the caveat being that any entertainment business has ups and downs. And you can have a bad year just as you hope to enjoy very good years.
By encouraging our creative teams to focus on building new franchises and encouraging our market teams to support those new franchises with creative and frankly, expensive campaigns, we were able to deliver a slate of titles that actually allowed us to achieve that goal.
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