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Ventura to Distribute Univision Latino Video Label

16 May, 2005 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Seeking to establish a foothold in the burgeoning Spanish-language home entertainment market, media giant Univision Communications today announced the creation of Univision Home Entertainment and DVD label, Unicine.

Univision Home Entertainment will be headed by Michael Wortsman, president of Univision Television Group, and based in Los Angeles.

Univision, which claims 98 percent market penetration of U.S. Hispanic households, encompasses feature films, radio, music and TV programming, the latter broadcast through 61 company-owned television and cable stations in the U.S., including TeleFutura Network, Galavisi?n and an ownership stake in pay-per-view Televisa.

The Unicine label will be marketed, packaged and distributed by Studio Latino, the Spanish-language home entertainment unit of Ventura, Calif.-based Ventura Entertainment Enterprises.

Initial Unicine releases (DVD $9.95) slated for May 24 include 10 action, comedy and drama titles from the 1980s and '90s shown theatrically in Mexico and regionally in the United States in select Latino neighborhood theaters.

The titles — which include Verdugo de Traidores, Asalto en Tijuana, Compadres a la Mexicana, Corazon de Tequila, El Fisgon del Hotel, Escuadron del Muerta, La Diosa del Puerto, Secuestro, Sinaloa Tierra de Hombres and Taquito de Ojo — will be earmarked for sellthrough at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Tower Records and Circuit City, and rental at Blockbuster, among other rentailers, according to Studio Latino.

“Univision's stature among Spanish-speaking consumers elevates the entire Latino DVD category for the industry and will be a catalyst for even more growth in this genre,” said Chris Lynch, EVP/GM for Ventura. “It just makes the job so much easier when you talk about their share of the [Latino] TV audience.”

Lynch said Univision would gauge the initial DVD releases as a barometer to see “what makes the video market tick,” prior to exploiting their expansive TV programming.

“[Univision] is relying on us as their video experts,” Lynch said. “This is their [first] dip in the water.”

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