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Olsens Nab Hefty WHV Advance

28 Sep, 2004 By: Brett Sporich

Warner Home Video (WHV) has cut a new 10-year distribution deal with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's Dualstar Video that calls for WHV to pay the twins an eight-figure advance against future net proceeds from sales of Olsen home videos, Dualstar CEO Robert Thorne said.

“I believe that this upfront payment demonstrates the international growth potential that the mary-kateandashley brand has, not only domestically but overseas,” Thorne said.

The 45-title Olsen home video franchise has generated about $1 billion in gross international consumer spending since 1993, when the twins' videos were first released under the BMG label and transferred to WHV shortly after their first music video, “Brother for Sale,” was released that same year, Thorne added.

Under terms of the 10-year renewal agreement, Dualstar handles home video publicity in close cooperation with WHV, which provides marketing, duplication and distribution services to Dualstar for a fee, plus costs. In turn, Dualstar, which maintains ownership of the library, then pays WHV a fee against net proceeds.

While neither Dualstar nor WHV would disclose exactly what percentage of net proceeds Dualstar would pay to WHV during the next 10 years, it's believed to be a substantial cut of overall gross sales.

The internationally famous Olsen twins have sold about 40 million home video units worldwide to date. The direct-to-video release Our Lips Are Sealed leads the list with about 3 million combined VHS and DVD units sold worldwide since its November 2000 release, followed by Winning London, which has sold more than 2 million combined VHS and DVD units since its March 2001 release, several industry sources confirmed.

Thorne said he believes that about 85 percent of additional home video sales on both VHS and DVD formats will be realized in such overseas markets as Japan, Germany and Spain, the latter of which is expected to begin offering Olsen home videos by year's end.

“While we believe that there is still good growth potential, especially with regard to compilation DVDs, in the U.S., the vast amount of sales growth will come from developing markets overseas where Mary-Kate and Ashley represent entirely new product,” Thorne said.

The mary-kateandashley brand is one of the top performing girl brands in the United States and in Canada, England, France, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Germany and Japan, with video, fashion, dolls, books, health and beauty, and lifestyle products expected to top $1 billion in global gross consumer spending by year's end.

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