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Paragon: sellers have to be programmers.

"I think if you're a good distributor, you should be a good programmer," said Isme Bennie, president of Paragon International. "Why just be a seller? You have to understand how broadcast stations do their programming. You don't want to waste their time when offering material to them."

"You can also go to stations with innovative programming ideas that make your programs more attractive," the Paragon executive said. For example, I don't know how better to describe the Australian mini series, Tracks of Glory than as a Chariots of Fire piece on wheels, because it's about cycling. When I talk to European companies, I ask if they carry the Tour de France, the main cycle race in Europe. They say yes-and that's the connection."

"I think if you see things in those terms, as opposed to just selling a catalogue, it can make a difference. It's knowing how to program that gives you an edge." Bennie knows what she is talking about: "Besides my background in sales, I also have experience in station acquisitions.

"I've been very careful to keep the quality up, but there are some things that are saleable and fun to sell. I was the first person to sell the Monster Trucks special to Europe. It was wonderful fun, but I'm not sure it fits the definition of quality.

"I want to be known as a boutique where you'll find everything that has a certain saleability, as well as quality."

Besides Tracks, Paragon's main product for sale is Urban Angel, a Canadian-produced series, which is in CBS' late night spot.

At MIP, Bennie is looking to acquire new animated product. "I'm in the process of working with two or three animators on a new series, down the road."

Bennie is very active in various film and TV organizations. "I want to keep my profile up-that's how you attract product. I also believe that you have to give something back to the industry if you want it to work for you." Bennie is also called upon to do speaking engagements."If you help someone understand your business better, it's to your advantage."

"I'm looking for new business opportunities-not just for Paragon International and Distribution, but also to expand into other areas of entertainment, possibly licensing. What I'm thinking of is an 'extra out,' a related opportunity to be met."
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Title Annotation:Paragon International
Publication:Video Age International
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Apr 1, 1992
Words:390
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