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Universal to Bow First NBC Product in July

21 Jun, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Universal Studios Home Video (USHV) July 20 (prebook June 29) will bow NBC television product on home video with the release of NBC News Presents: Ronald Reagan.

The DVD ($19.98) and VHS ($14.98) releases are being distributed by USHV as the result of last fall's $3.8 billion acquisition of Vivendi Universal Entertainment (VUE) by NBC parent General Electric (GE).

The new media company, called NBC Universal, which would have had $13 billion in revenue in 2003, has estimated assets of about $43 billion, with GE owning 80 percent, and 20 percent owned by VUE shareholders.

NBC distributes its home entertainment properties through a variety of third-party vendors, including Warner Bros., Lions Gate Home Entertainment and Artisan Home Entertainment.

Some observers expect that many of those deals could be taken over by Universal Studios Home Video, which has a greater distribution network and could use the product to distribute in the exploding TV DVD market.

The merger is expected to result in up to $500 million in unspecified cost reductions and revenue growth, according to company statements.

The Reagan release, hosted by “Dateline NBC's” Stone Phillips, outlines a biographical, entertainment and political recap of the nation's 40th president.

Requisite bonus material includes segments on Reagan's long-time pen pal (DVD only); love letters to wife Nancy; 50th wedding anniversary; greatest speeches; day-in-the-life of President Reagan (DVD); The GE Theatre (hosted by actor Reagan) and his nationwide commemorations on the week of his death.

“Our unprecedented access to … the NBC News archives now allows [USHV] to offer consumers comprehensive, intriguing and entertaining DVDs on a range of timely and compelling topics,” said Craig Kornblau, USHV president.

Exact release dates and titles for future NBC News releases have yet to be released, according to a USHV spokesperson.

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