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Universal Music & Video Distribution Bows DVD Unit

18 Feb, 2004 By: Erik Gruenwedel

With finalization of the merger between GE/NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment an apparent formality, Universal Music & Video Distribution (UMVD) has initiated a new home video supply channel to distribute third-party DVD releases.

Called UMVD Visual Entertainment, the division has struck a deal with Trinity Home Entertainment; a Westlake Village, Calif.-based distributor of budget rental and sellthrough product featuring such actors as Michael J. Fox, Kirstie Alley, Diane Lane and Treat Williams, among others.

Future projects include distribution deals with independent studios and production companies much in the same way Lions Gate and New Line distribute third-party content, according to a source familiar with the new division.

With the distribution of Universal and related product to be continued through Universal Studios Home Video (USHV) under the auspices of NBC, UMVD, which remains a unit of Universal Music Group and not part of the NBC deal, realized that a business model left to disseminate primarily music videos wasn't much of a business, according the source.

“ What [UMVD president] Jim Urie thought is that with the [UMVD] distribution success of Seabiscuit and Shrek, why don't we continue that and form a new company that will deal solely with DVD and other products, including video games, and other marketing opportunities,” said the source.

“We already have this infrastructure set up and relationships with these key retail people. We've had tremendous success with a number of front-line DVD titles why don't we just continue this. This way will be able to do more than just music.”

At deadline, representatives from UMVD and USHV were unavailable for comment.

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