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Cinedigm, Universal Sign Home Entertainment Agreement

14 May, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Multiplatform movie distributor Cinedigm and Universal Studios Home Entertainment May 14 announced they have entered into a multiyear supply-chain agreement to distribute the former’s DVD and Blu-ray library of 5,000 independent films, documentaries, TV programs and other content.

Cinedigm’s sales force will continue selling directly to customers.

Los Angeles-based Cinedigm, which cut its teeth transitioning movie theaters to digital screens, last year acquired home entertainment distributor New Video.

Its content portfolio includes documentaries from Docurama Films, indies from Flatiron Film Co. and festival picks through partnerships with the Sundance Institute and Tribeca Film.

Cinedigm also distributes several award-winning and Oscar-nominated films including The Invisible War, Hell and Back Again, Gasland, Waste Land and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.

The distributor also entered the independent film business with upcoming and recent multiplatform releases, including Craig Zisk’s The English Teacher, Jared Moshe’s Dead Man’s Burden, Dante Ariola’s Arthur Newman, Geoffrey Fletcher’s Violet & Daisy, Malika Zouhali-Worrall and Katherine Fairfax Wright’s Call Me Kuchu, Jimmy Loweree’s Absence and Shaul Schwarz’s Narco Cultura.

“Having worked with Craig Kornblau at both Disney and Universal, I’m thrilled to be working with him and the entire Universal Studios Home Entertainment team again,” Cinedigm CEO Chris McGurk said in a statement. “We look forward to rapidly expanding our home entertainment business and are certain that more opportunities to work together will develop as this partnership evolves.”

USHE president Craig Kornblau said Cinedigm represents an “excellent complement” to its evolving portfolio of distribution partners.

Cinedigm made news recently when it entered into a controversial agreement with infamous file-sharing platform BitTorrent to distribute clips of Newman, which stars Colin Firth and Emily Blunt. BitTorrent has long been associated with music and film piracy. The Universal deal could be seen as an olive branch to studios.

B. RIley & Co. analyst Eric Wold isn't so sure.

"In my opinion, [the Universal agreement is] merely a physical distribution deal,” Wold wrote in an email. “While most of the attention around Cinedigm has been on the digital downstream channels (especially following the acquisition of New Video), the physical disc market remains a significant opportunity and this provides an entry with limited infrastructure or expense spend on Cinedigm’s part.”


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