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Koch in Content Partnership With ABC

11 Mar, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf

Koch Entertainment and ABC News have teamed up in a long-term partnership to bring some of the network's in-depth news programming to the home video market.

The first two releases in the new wave of programming are ABC News Presents: Peter Jennings Reporting: The Kennedy Assassination -- Beyond Conspiracy and ABC News Presents: Peter Jennings Reporting: The Search for Jesus arrive April 6 on VHS and DVD at $19.98 for both formats.

The Kennedy Assassination originally aired in November 2003 to coincide with the 40th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination.

The Search for Jesus follows Jennings as he reports from Jerusalem, investigating the sites and stories associated with Jesus. The special originally aired in June 2000, and its arrival on video was set to coincide with Easter.

The natural connection to the buzz and controversy surrounding The Passion of the Christ was a coincidence, said Koch VP and GM Dan Gurlitz, but a welcome one that should bode well for sales and rentals of the title.

TV viewership for programs like these typically numbers in the tens of millions, Gurlitz said.

“Historically, programs that have been broadcast on TV perform very well on video, provided that the content is strong -- and this content is very strong,” he said.

Two more releases will arrive in June: Peter Jennings: Portrait of America and The War in Iraq, which is a collection of never-before-seen, behind-the-scenes footage following reporters from all major news networks embedded with the American troops in Iraq.

“This was never aired,” Gurlitz said. “ABC somewhere along the line had elected not to broadcast it, so this is the first time people can really see this.”

Koch has worked with ABC in the past, in its news archives business.

“[ABC] has these great standalone documentary programs, and we were very strong in documentaries. We have been for a while. So we said, ‘You're selling these with a tag at the end of the program. Why not position them and package them for video and sell them at retail?’ said Tim Hinsley, VP of acquisitions and development for Koch. “Then it just kind of went from there and snowballed into what we hope is a very long and profitable relationship. It's new territory. None of the news organizations, at least the majors, have been doing this.”

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