EXCLUSIVE: Deadline hears that Steve Buck, Comscore’s SVP of Business Relations and Jim Zak, SVP of International Theatrical have departed the show business data corporation as it seeks to reduce 8% of its workforce expenses before the end of the quarter in an effort to chop costs by $20M.
Buck and Zak are giants in the box office data sphere, having built Comscore up from when it was Rentrak with Ron Giambra, to absorbing box office data rival Entertainment Data Inc, to being acquired by Comscore.
Buck, a vet of Gramercy and Savoy Pictures distribution, was involved in getting Comscore into the moviegoer exit polling business with the creation of PostTrak, a joint venture with Screen Engine. PostTrak became a hot competitor to Las Vegas-based CinemaScore, which is the Friday night exit pollster for major studios. PostTrak upped what CinemaScore did by polling throughout the weekend, and into films’ second weekends of play. He was also key in launching PreAct, a social media assessor of film titles’ online buzz which helps distribution and marketing execs in positioning their films. Buck oversaw strategic initiatives, client relations, and new revenue opportunities for Comscore. His responsibilities included liaising with various verticals within film studios, theaters, talent agencies, trade bodies, media groups, independent film companies and digital publishers.
Zak, who began his film career in P&A finance at Orion Pictures, and flourished in distribution at that studio and PolyGram, led the international efforts of Comscore. Buck and Zak built a global box office data system which is the middle man means where exhibitors report their hourly ticket sales, and studios make projections and account for grosses on their releases. Together they took the system to accounting box office at over 25K theaters in 70 countries.
Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore’s Senior Media Analyst and spokesperson, remains at the company.