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Warner Launches New Action Sports Imprint

3 Jan, 2004 By: Dan Bennett

Goggles strapped on tight, Rhino Transport has its sights set on a wild ride through the action-sports video market.

Rhino Transport is the new action-sports imprint from Warner Strategic Marketing. The company will release numerous action-sports titles each year, many in tandem with big-name sports partners.

One of those is ESPN, with whom Rhino Transport recently released Inside X: ESPN's X Games IX, a 73-minute DVD priced at $19.95, featuring highlights from the 2003 X Games in Los Angeles.

“This is the first title in our ESPN deal,” said Paul DeGooyer, VP of Warner Strategic Marketing. “A lot of us at Warner had been noticing the cultural transformation that extreme sports was enjoying over the past few years. We knew that action sports often do well in the marketplace, so we sought to create a line that had top-notch titles, sometimes in partnership with the best in the business.”

The agreement with ESPN calls for 12 titles to be released during a two-year period. Six of the DVD titles, all priced at $19.95, will be part of the “Inside X” series, highlighting the X games, Winter X Games and X Games Global Championship franchises. CD soundtracks will be included inside each DVD package.

“Some of the titles in this genre perform so well, we realized we could get them into the mainstream through our built-in retail distribution channels,” DeGooyer said. “Because Warner Music was primarily a music distribution operation, we were uniquely equipped to get into the stores with customers desiring these titles. Then you add the strength of our deal with ESPN, which makes Warner Music the preferred provider of such titles to ESPN, the No. 1 sports brand.”

On Feb. 3, Rhino Transport releases the Spike Jonze-directed Yeah Right!, a skateboard title featuring the Girl Skateboard Team and the Chocolate Skateboard Team.

“We also love some of the titles in this genre simply because these are just great films, and Yeah Right! is a good example,” DeGooyer said. “It's really well done and captures the spirit of skateboarding. We're dialing in on other projects that will work from an acquisition point of view, and stepping forward.”

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