A Rising Star: Summit Entertainment’s Robert Friedman Named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2010 Winner in the Media, Entertainment and Communications Category
Palm Springs, 14 November 2010 – Robert Friedman, Co-chairman, CEO, Summit Entertainment LLC was named the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2010 national winner in the Media, Entertainment and Communications category. Now in its 24th year, EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year™ is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.
Friedman was recognized for establishing Summit Entertainment LLC as a worldwide theatrical motion picture development, financing, production and distribution studio. Friedman was honored at the Entrepreneur Of The Year™ gala, the culminating event of the EY Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs. The Forum is the nation’s premiere gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. Awards were given in nine additional categories. All EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from approximately 300 regional award recipients.
“Summit Entertainment’s success can be attributed, in part, to the environment created by Robert Friedman, which encourages employees to explore creative ideas without fear of failure,” said Bryan Pearce, Americas Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year, Ernst & Young LLP. “Friedman has also put into place a well-managed system that enables the ideas to be vetted and pursued, which is critical for entrepreneurial success. As a result, he has significantly grown the business and filled a gap in the motion picture market with a more efficient and cost-effective model. Robert Friedman very much deserves to be named the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2010 national winner in the Media, Entertainment and Communications Category.”
Taking a risk on a new kind of studio
Working from the time he was young and with no formal degree, Friedman rose from the mailroom at Warner Brothers to Vice Chairman, COO of Paramount Pictures. In 2005, in the midst of a down year for the box office, he made the decision to step down at Paramount and take a calculated risk.
Friedman saw an opportunity to create a different kind of studio – one made for the future that would work with changing markets, run on lower overhead and capitalize on emerging technology.
Twilight phenomenon paves road to success
In December 2006, before the deal was finalized, discussions began around developing a film based on the Twilight novels. At the time, fewer than 15,000 copies had been sold, but Friedman and his team took a chance on what has turned out to be a worldwide phenomenon. In just three years under Friedman’s leadership, Summit Entertainment has grown one of the most successful film franchises in the business with the Twilight series and the Oscar-winning Hurt Locker, competing with the major studios that have dominated the market for decades.
Today, Summit Entertainment develops, finances, produces and distributes on average 8 to 12 major motion pictures per year. With a billion dollars of operating capital, the idea behind Summit remains simple: develop targeted product in both audience and price point that can be distributed worldwide at a fraction of the cost of the major studios.
With the studio clearly established, Friedman is now looking to extend Summit’s platform to include media beyond film, such as television and emerging forms of entertainment.
Supporting special causes
Since the early days of his professional career, Friedman has donated time and personal resources to support causes and initiatives he is passionate about. He sits on the board of governors for the Southern California Special Olympics and held a seat on the board of directors of the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. He is also an active supporter of the Salvation Army and Hearts of L.A.
Summit Shares is a volunteer program that Friedman started in 2007, the same year Summit Entertainment launched. The program has encouraged involvement within the community from employees of all levels.
Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2010 National Finalists in the Media, Entertainment, and Communications Category
In addition to Robert Friedman, The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ national finalists in the Media, Entertainment, and Communications category are: Jeffery Gardner, President, CEO of Little Rock, Ark.-based Windstream Corporation (NASDAQ: WIN), a company that provides phone, high-speed Internet and high-definition digital TV services to customers in 21 states; Matthew O’Connell, CEO, President, Director of GeoEye Inc. of Dulles, Va., a premier provider of superior satellite and aerial imagery, location information products and image processing services; and Andy Ory, CEO, President, Co-Founder of Burlington, Mass.-based Acme Packet (NASDAQ: APKT), the leader in session border control solutions for delivering trusted, first-class unified communications and collaboration.
Overall Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2010 National Winner
Howard W. Lutnick, Chairman and CEO of BGC Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: BGCP), was named the Overall EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2010 national winner.
Video and Photos
To view video clips of all the Entrepreneur Of The Year™ winners, please visit the EY YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/ErnstandYoungGlobal. Photos of the winners are also available by request.
Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year™ awards are pleased to have the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and SAP America as national sponsors.
About EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year™
EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year™ is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 135 cities in 50 countries.
About EY's Strategic Growth Markets Practice
EY's Strategic Growth Markets (SGM) practice guides leading high-growth companies. Our multi-disciplinary team of elite professionals provides perspective and advice to help our clients accelerate market leadership. SGM delivers assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services to thousands of companies spanning all industries. EY is the undisputed leader in taking companies public, advising key government agencies on the issues impacting high-growth companies, and convening the experts who shape the business climate. For more information, please visit us at www.ey.com/us/strategicgrowthmarkets.
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 141,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.
For more information, please visit www.ey.com.
EY refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity.
This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a member firm of Ernst Young Global Limited located in the US.