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UPDATE: Image Inks Playboy Deal

4 Oct, 2001 By: Henrique Rivero

Returning to a former distributor, Playboy Home Video has signed a multiyear exclusive distribution agreement with Image Entertainment.

Under the terms of the licensing and distribution agreement announced this week, Image will distribute all Playboy product on videocassette and DVD in the United States and Canada. The deal runs through 2004, with two automatic one-year extensions.

The move marks a break with Universal Studios Home Video, which distributed Playboy VHS cassettes for the past nine years. About a year ago, Universal took over distribution of Playboy DVD titles from Image, which until then had a relationship with Playboy going back to laserdisc, according to the companies.

Tony Borg, director of sales and promotions for Playboy Home Video, says Playboy chose to return to Image because the Chatsworth, Calif.-based supplier is smaller than Universal and can effectively promote Playboy product.

“We’re getting back to our business partners and old friends at Image and we’re excited about that,” Borg says.

Playboy catalog titles should be available to retailers through Image beginning the week of Oct. 15, Borg says. New releases will street beginning Nov. 13.

The deal with Image includes the launch of two new product lines: “Playboy TV,” which Borg described as “edgier and provocative” fare that’s “theme-oriented, non-Playmate driven,” and “Playboy Exposed,” a reality-based series.

“Between the end of the Universal deal and the beginning of the Image deal we’ve been busy making changes we think the market is going to be happy to see,” Borg says.

With the new agreement with Playboy, Image has distribution rights to video product from the two biggest publishers of men’s magazines. Image has a long-standing relationship with Penthouse Video.

Image v.p. of marketing Garrett Lee says Playboy is one of the world’s most recognized brands and its video product sells well.

“The Playboy catalog consistently sells and Image is always looking for programming that does that for us,” says Lee, adding that they sell well as new releases and stay strong once they hit catalog. “The catalog has legs.”

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