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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Filling the Void After the Oscars With Nothing But Hot Tips, Stories and Rumors

4 Apr, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Generally the week after the Oscars is Dullsville for news, but that's certainly not the case this year.

Hot tips, stories and rumors that have floated into my ears just today include:

--AOL Time Warner chief Gerald Levin confirmed speculation that Warner Bros. is in talks with DreamWorks about nabbing film and video distribution rights away from Universal. Rumors have been buzzing for some time that such a deal is in the works, but this is first official confirmation.

--One-time mail-order titan Columbia House, besieged by Internet music and video sellers, says it will close its huge compact disc and video distribution center by the end of the year and hand pink slips to all its 500 employees. Columbia House is co-owned by AOL Time Warner and Sony.

--A new study from Centris, the consumer research firm, confirms what Video Store Magazine's own Consumer Survey has discovered: That DVD owners are also the most active VHS users. Centris' latest "DVD Profile Report" also finds that DVD rentals are soaring, with the percentage of DVD households renting at least one disc a month up 40% from year-ago figures, and that DVD penetration is particularly high among digital cable homes and households that buy through the Internet.

--Distributors are snapping that Universal Studios Home Video's upcoming Grinch junket to Orlando is the latest slap in the face to traditional distribution. The dates of the junket, to which key retailers are being invited, coincides with the upcoming National Association of Video Distributors (NAVD) confab in Indian Wells, Calif., an event it now appears certain Uni execs will not be attending.

--Speaking of the NAVD, DreamWorks' Ann Daly will be getting the Larry Hilford award this year, but there was reportedly quite a bit of dissent.

That's because Daly was nominated by one of the NAVD board members who was shut out of the Universal wholesale network, and he felt she should be honored for not following Uni's lead even though the two companies are distribution partners. Apparently two other distributors vehemently disagreed. Can we guess which ones?

Remember, you read it here first!

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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