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Paramount Gives ‘Zoolander' Four-Month DVD Window in U.K.

4 Apr, 2002 By: Jessica Wolf

Paramount Home Entertainment will give video rental dealers in the United Kingdom a three-month minimum rental window on VHS and DVD product, England's video industry trade magazine View reported March 21.

Paramount's U.K. managing director, Nigel Hall, told the magazine the rental strategy is in part due to British Video Association estimates that 30 percent of U.K. rentals come from the DVD format.

"With some accounts already purchasing up to 50 percent of their buy as DVD, we need to review how we maintain and grow our support for the rental marketplace for both VHS and DVD," Hall was quoted in the View story.

Paramount Home Entertainment U.S. executives declined comment for this story and said the studio discusses terms of sale with customers only.

According to View, the rental and retail (sellthrough) discs will have the same content and special features, and the DVD rental window began with the March 31 release of Zoolander. The comedy, starring and directed by Ben Stiller, earned £2 million (about $3.4 million) in U.K. theaters.

Zoolander will have a four-month rental window in the country, according to View. Paramount's Hall also told the trade magazine the studio would be evaluating titles on an individual basis to see how long of a rental window is warranted.

A DVD window from Paramount is good news for retailers in the U.K., who, unlike their U.S. counterparts, have long enjoyed a rental window on many studios' DVD releases. Earlier this year, Universal Pictures International raised the ire of many rental dealers there by shortening its DVD window to as little as four weeks, beginning with the January release of Jurassic Park III.

View's Paramount story accompanied coverage of Blockbuster's stance on DVD and VHS rental windows. Blockbuster's U.K. managing director, Alex Sparks, told View the chain supports rental windows "where it makes commercial sense. Likewise, we support titles without a window where it is financially viable."

Paramount also made staffing changes in the U.K. in recent weeks, View reported. Hedley Barnes was promoted to head the studio's retail (sellthrough) sales team after four years with the company. Simon Dutton joins Paramount from British supplier FilmFour as national account manager for the studio's U.K. rental sales staff.

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