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Paramount, Warner Sign Catalog Distribution Pact

4 Oct, 2012 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Deal includes UltraViolet access to Paramount titles on Warner’s Flixster

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is assuming responsibility for marketing, merchandising and distribution of a big chunk of Paramount Pictures’ movie library.

The studio today announced a strategic alliance with Paramount Home Media Distribution that is centered on more than 600 catalog titles from the Paramount film library. The deal gives Warner exclusive rights to physical Blu-rayDisc  and DVD distribution of those titles in the United States and Canada, and will make Paramount’s UltraViolet offerings available on a non-exclusive basis through Flixster, the Warner Bros. movie streaming and discovery service.

Ron Sanders, president of Warner Home Video, called the arrangement “a good deal for both studios because Paramount can be assured of a revenue stream on their catalog and refocus their resources toward franchises, while Warner can leverage its scale to launch new Blu-ray titles, collections and special editions.”

Dennis Maguire, president of Paramount Home Media Distribution, is equally enthusiastic. “We are bullish on this deal as it firmly supports innovation in a critical aspect of our business, while at the same time it leverages our collective strengths and assets to maximize profits in the present market,” he said. “Flixster provides access to the leading movie discovery application that will promote digital content ownership and aid in expanding our digital business. At the same time, on the physical side, this agreement enables us to manage our profitability in a time of change in the marketplace and to focus more resources on new releases. With its strong infrastructure and track record, Warner will not only safeguard but enhance the long-term value of titles covered by this agreement.”

“We’re delighted that movie fans will now be able to access Paramount titles through Flixster, further expanding the already robust library of UltraViolet-enabled content and making the continued transition to digital much smoother for the consumer,” added Thomas Gewecke, president of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution.

The agreement also grants Warner Bros. manufacturing on demand rights and the ability to include UltraViolet Digital Copy bundled with packaged media. Paramount will retain all digital rights for their titles, including electronic sell-through (EST), video-on-demand (VOD) and subscription video-on-demand. Flixster will offer, on a non-exclusive basis, Paramount titles for sale in UltraViolet EST format, UltraViolet Disc-to-Digital and VOD. Flixster will also act as an UltraViolet Locker Access Service Provider for all Paramount UltraViolet titles, and as a redemption site for Paramount UltraViolet Digital Copies.

The three-year deal, which takes effect January 1, 2013, covers U.S. and Canadian rights only and includes titles such as Braveheart, Gladiator, Ghost, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Chinatown, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Forrest Gump, The African Queen, The Ten Commandments, Hugo, Fatal Attraction, Rango, Terms of Endearment, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Airplane!, according to studio and retail sources.

The agreement excludes approximately 100 cornerstone Paramount titles, including the Transformers, Star Trek and Indiana Jones franchises. Warner also will gain access to select new titles after the initial 26-week release period.

Paramount will receive licensing fees from Warner Bros. and be entitled to various benefits under a long-term strategic cooperation agreement with Flixster.

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