Well Go Attributes Quality Content to Success21 Oct, 2013 By: Ashley Ratcliff
Well Go USA Inc. since 1994 has acquired and released more than 2,000 titles worldwide, and it plans to continue doing what it does best.
“Our strength lies within our distribution prowess,” said Jason Pfardrescher, Well Go’s VP. “On the packaged-media side, it’s a challenging time with shelf space shrinking and disc sales declining, but we continue to have a record year, and I think that speaks to the content.”
According to Pfardrescher, Well Go is the “leader — if not the No. 1 buyer — in North America for Asian cinema,” focusing on action films.
“We have had some success with dramas and comedies, but for the most part, we like to keep it closer to the action genre, [which allows us to cross] over to a wider audience than just a Chinese- or Korean-speaking audience,” he explained.
Recent acquisitions include Iceman, starring Donnie Yen; Badges of Fury, starring Jet Li; McCanick, starring David Morse and the late Cory Monteith in his final role; and Rigor Mortis, a martial arts-vampire film that just had its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Well Go releases eight to 12 titles theatrically each year, including the conclusion to the popular “Ip Man” franchise, Ip Man: The Final Fight, Sept. 20, and upcoming release Commitment (Nov. 21). It also boasts an annual direct-to-video release slate of 30 films, with retail partners for its DVD and Blu-ray releases including Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Costco, Barnes & Nobles, K-Mart and f.y.e., among others.
The Plano, Texas-based distributor has direct relationships with major VOD and electronic platforms such as Dish Network, DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS, iTunes, Netflix, Walmart’s Vudu, Best Buy’s CinemaNow and Xbox 360.
Pfardrescher said Well Go’s content is right at home on digital platforms, which resonate with its audience demographic.
“It is a younger demographic, specifically 18 to 35, male-driven, and those tend to be the early adopters to technology, so we’ve been able to make the transition to digital quite well,” he said.
Pfardrescher said UltraViolet is another avenue the company is interested in pursuing for delivering its content.
“In terms of our position on UltraViolet, we definitely believe in it,” he said. “We’re just not quite there yet. In 2014, that’s definitely a platform that we want to take a closer look at and really explore the pros and cons and make a decision. Cloud-based technology makes all the sense in the world, so we’re definitely a supporter of it and just finding the right time to jump into that game.”
Well Go in 2005 began acquiring content for North America and handling its own distribution.
“There’s a lot of things that we take on directly where other labels may look to outsource,” Pfardrescher. “All of our post-production [as well as theatrical distribution] is done in house. That’s something we’re really proud of.”