CBS/FOX Vid Revamped As Parents Extend Deal

As expected, Twentieth Century Fox announced Feb. 15 a restructuring of its homevideo interests, including CBS/Fox Video, its joint venture with CBS Inc. (VARIETY, Jan. 28). The changes are effective March 1.

The restructuring creates an umbrella sales and distribution company called Fox Video, wholly owned Twentieth Century Fox, to handle three labels: Fox Video, CBS/Fox Video and CBS Video.

The Fox Video label (also owned by Fox) will be used for releases of 20th Century Fox theatricals as well as the studio’s catalog reissues. Fox Video also will handle Media Home Entertainment releases.

In addition, Fox Video will release features owned by the joint venture, and features owned by CBS, for a distribution fee.

The CBS/Fox Video joint venture, formed in 1982, was extended, with each a 50% partner. The venture changes from a distribution company to a label that will be used for nontheatrical programming. That includes all National Basketball Assn. releases and repromotions of CBS/Fox owned catalog, such as the Barbra Streisand collection, Billy Joel and Huey Lewis releases.

The reconfigured CBS/Fox operation also will be an acquisition arm for Fox Video worldwide. Acquisition efforts will focus on international markets, though domestic rights will be sought selectively.

The CBS Video label, a unit of CBS Enterprises, will be used for tv product, including the “I Love Lucy,” “The Honeymooners” and “Garfield” series as well as movies-of-the-week and some sports programming.

The labels and the sales/distribution operation will be staffed with current CBS/Fox workers wherever possible, according to one top exec. They’ll be reclassified as employees of one of the various units and put on that unit’s payroll.

CBS/Fox’ existing sales force becomes Fox Video’s sales force on March 1. There may be some positions added in sales, but overall, exex said there will be no large-scale hirings or firings.

Strauss Zelnick, president and chief operating officer of 20th Century Fox, said announcements would be made in the next several weeks about management assignments.

No decisions have been made about where the various units will be headquartered, except for CBS Video, which remains in New York.

George Krieger, prez and CEO of CBS/Fox Video, commented, “Speculation about people’s jobs and the geography of these jobs is terribly premature and unfair because it’s not decided.” CBS/Fox currently employs about 100 people in New York.

Krieger stressed there will be no disruption to CBS/Fox customers, saying, “For our customers this will be easy and seamless.”

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