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Genius Paying ESPN $22.5M for DVD Rights

29 Sep, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Genius Products Sept. 29 revealed in a regulatory filing it guaranteed ESPN Enterprises Inc. a minimum of $4.5 million annually over the course of its exclusive five-year North American DVD distribution deal with The Walt Disney Co. unit.

Santa Monica, Calif.-based Genius, which is 70% owned by Bob and Harvey Weinstein's The Weinstein Co. (TWC), in July announced it would distribute at least 15 ESPN Original Entertainment titles per year through Dec. 31, 2011.

ESPN original programming includes 3, Four Minutes and The Junction Boys, along with Sports Century, ESPN Classic, ESPN Outdoors, X Games, ABC Sports, and college sports fare.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment had previously distributed ESPN DVD product.

Last month, Genius announced plans to release between 250 and 300 DVD movies in 2007, including about 30 theatrical features, 24 from TWC and six from producer Bauer Martinez. The release schedule also includes about 30 platform releases from the Independent Film Channel (IFC).

Separately, Disney announced it would shutter ESPN's nascent sports-themed cellular phone service, Mobile ESPN, by the end of the year.

The shutdown would reportedly result in layoffs to more than 60% of Mobile ESPN's 100 employees.

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