WWE Tag Teams With Genius Products17 Oct, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold
Furthering its rise as a DVD powerhouse, Genius Products LLC Oct. 17 announced it has secured exclusive home entertainment distribution rights to the lucrative World Wrestling Entertainment line of DVDs.
The multiyear agreement, which takes effect Nov. 1, will result in Genius releasing at least 25 new WWE titles in 2007, as well as assorted offerings from the wrestling giant's catalog of more than 100 titles. The line previously was distributed by Sony Wonder.
First up from Genius under the deal is Born to Controversy: The Roddy Piper Story, coming Nov. 14, followed on Nov. 21 by The Spectacular Legacy of the AWA and, on Dec. 5, WWE Cyber Sunday 2006, spotlighting the RAW brand's popular pay-per-view event.
Bob and Harvey Weinstein, whose The Weinstein Company now owns 70% of Genius, personally made the announcement, along with WWE chairman Vince McMahon, Genius CEO and president Trevor Drinkwater and other top Genius and WWE executives.
“WWE is not simply a brand; it is an American icon,” Bob Weinstein said. “We view our relationship with WWE as a major alliance, with great growth potential.”
WWE has used its core businesses of live events, pay-per-view and the production of television content for broadcast and cable networks to establish a presence in more than 130 countries. The company has a huge line of licensed consumer products, from magazines to toys, as well as its own film division.
WWE DVDs, meanwhile, routinely top the sports category, drawing on a video library with more than 90,000 hours of programming from the RAW, SmackDown and ECW pay-per-view events, including Wrestlemania, archives of previous wrestling organizations, as well as profiles of past and present wrestling superstars.
McMahon said home entertainment “is a major part of the WWE's business.” So far this year, 10 WWE titles topped the Nielsen VideoScan sports DVD sales chart, while Wrestlemania 22 debuted at No. 5 on the overall DVD sales chart and now ranks as the best-selling WWE title of all time. In fiscal 2006, home entertainment revenue accounted for $42 million, or 10% of WWE's total revenue, more than twice as much as it generated the previous year.
“The WWE has transformed sports entertainment into a cultural phenomenon through broadcasting, live events and the superstar icons they create, which are brands unto themselves,” Drinkwater said. “The company continues to expand its presence in the marketplace through creative programming and brand-building, which, in turn, helps provide for unique, high-quality DVD programs.”