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Image Licenses Urban Catalog to BET

30 Mar, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel


Image Entertainment March 30 said it has signed a multiyear deal with BET (Black Entertainment Television) International to repurpose its entire urban catalog for broadcast in the United Kingdom and Africa.

The deal, which also calls for 30 new urban titles per year, was finalized at the International Content Market for Interactive Media (MIPTV) in Cannes, France.

Titles, which range from feature films, documentaries and comedies, include Jamie Foxx Unleashed, Letter to the President, Notorious B.I.G. Bigger Than Life, Love for Sale and Tupac Shakur: The Life of an Outlaw.

“BET is in the midst of an impressive and ambitious global expansion,” said Steve Saltman, SVP of worldwide television for Chatsworth, Calif.-based Image.

BET International is a subsidiary of BET Networks, which is owned by Viacom Inc., and claims to reach 98 million households worldwide.

In addition to distributing cast-driven feature films that have flown under the radar of most major studios, Image has aggressively sought to increase distribution via digital and television channels both domestically and globally.

The strategies appear to be working as Image Entertainment defied conventional wisdom and the realities of a challenging economy in the most recent quarter when it reported net income of $304,000, compared to a loss of $2 million during the prior-year period.
The distributor posted a 43% revenue growth to $39.2 million, compared to revenue of $27.3 million during the prior-year period.

Separately, Image remains on schedule to close its purchase by Nyx Acquistions on April 6 for $100 million in cash.

Image stock closed March 30 up 7 cents to $1.33 per share.

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