Image Makes New Discovery4 Oct, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold
Image Entertainment, battling a hostile takeover bid from Lionsgate, announced Wednesday it will start releasing Discovery Channel programs on DVD beginning in March 2007.
The independent supplier has signed a multiyear home video license agreement with Discovery Commerce for new and existing programming from various Discovery television networks, including the flagship Discovery Channel.
The first release is Discovery Atlas: China Revealed, which made its worldwide television premiere Oct. 1 on the Discovery Channel and Discovery HD Theater. Last month Discovery announced the program will be released to Discovery's 100-plus retail stores in late October on standard DVD as well as both next-generation disc formats, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc.
Image will release China Revealed in December, and is working with Discovery Commerce to plot out a schedule for subsequent releases, beginning next March.
“Discovery has a tremendous library both in terms of quantity and quality of programming, and its breadth and diversity cater to a variety of enthusiast audiences,” said Barry Gordon, SVP of worldwide programming at Image. “We will be working with Discovery to cultivate each of their brands, as well as expand their presence and build distribution throughout traditional and non-traditional retailer locations.”
Image is known for its far-reaching retail network, which is what observers say makes the supplier attractive to potential suitors like Lionsgate. With the DVD business flat, suppliers are scrambling to expand their retail presence.
The agreement with Discovery Commerce gives Image unique distribution rights to all previously unreleased existing and new programming produced or acquired for, and broadcast on, the Discovery Channel, Discovery HD Theater, the Science Channel, the Travel Channel, the Military Channel and Discovery Atlas.
Carol LeBlanc, VP of licensing for Discovery Commerce, said the agreement with Image “allows us to extend the breadth of programs in the consumer market and provides retailers with a greater choice of television and special-interest programming.”