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Third Format Finds French Amis

16 Apr, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

New Medium Enterprises, the London-based marketer of an alternative high-definition optical disc format to HD DVD and Blu-ray heretofore shunned by the major studios, April 16 announced it has inked deals with two major French content distributors.

The companies, Seven Sept and Metropolitan FilmExport, starting in September each will release 20 titles in HD VMD (versatile multilayer disc) with five more slated monthly thereafter.

HD VMD is a 40 Mbps red laser-based format that claims 1080i/p resolution, up to eight information layers per side and can be played on an NME player.

Similar to Toshiba's offer in the Unites States of five free HD DVD titles with the purchase of any HD DVD player, NME has partnered with MCA Technology to offer in France five free HD VMD titles with the purchase of a $400 Chinese-made HD VMD player.

“It is our duty to be open and receptive to new products,” said Michel Poirier, founder of Seven Sept. “High-definition is set to be the future standard and we are willing to support all players of this new market.”

In addition to French content, Seven Sept and Metropolitan have distributed several U.S. movies in France, including Army of One, with Dolph Lundgren, Cyborg 2 (Angelina Jolie) and His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig), War (Jet Li), Resident Evil: Extinction and Lord of the Rings, respectively.

In February, NME announced it had secured a three-year U.S. distribution deal with online retailer PC Rush.

Last November, NME unveiled a list of Hollywood movies it claimed would be released this year in Germany in HD VMD.

The titles included Hostage (Miramax), Wu-Jii: The Promise (Warner Home Video), Reefer Madness and Paparazzi (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment), Sleepy Hollow (Paramount Home Entertainment), Gospel of John Descent (Buena Vista Home Entertainment), Hitters (Hanover House), Shockwave (released in the United States as The Arrival) from Lionsgate, and Island of Beasts.

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