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Industry Veteran Baruc Starts New Video Company

16 Nov, 2001 By: Anne Sherber

Video industry veteran Robert Baruc has launched Screen Media Entertainment, a new video label. The company is a division of Screen Media Ventures, LLC, a privately held firm that syndicates films to the domestic and international television markets.

Baruc says the new company will release to the home video market Screen Media's existing supply of product. "We'll distribute to video and then sell to the cable and television markets," he says. He notes that his new division will also purchase films independently.

The company's first releases will be Looking for an Echo, a drama about a doo wop group from the 1950s that stars Armand Assante; and The Street King, a Latino gang drama with John Seda and Mario Lopez. The films will have April release dates and will preorder in March.

Baruc says he is close to closing a distribution deal with a "mini-major studio" rather than hiring a sales force and that he's inclined to keep his company's pricing policy as simple as possible.

"I am leaning toward doing a single unit flat price," he says. "I can't say yet exactly what that price will be. I'm leaning away from prepacks and free units and I'm leaning away from quantity discounts."

As for why Baruc has chosen to helm a company that will specialize in releasing nontheatrical films when so many similar companies have crashed and burned over the past few years, Baruc says that means there's more room for his product.

"I have always been a big believer in the idea that studios don't serve all the needs of video rental companies. There is a need and an appetite for independent genre films that fill the niches that the studios don't."

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