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Aussie sell-through biz undergoes realignment

Australia’s sell-through distribution sector has undergone a major rationalization and realignment in response to ongoing sluggish business.

Effective Feb. 8, major player Roadshow Entertainment will take on distribution of product from Comcorp Australia, effectively erasing that company’s extensive sell-through operation, and giving Roadshow more than 50% of the sell-through market.

It also means Columbia/TriStar titles–around 30 this year–will now flow through RE. Col/TriStar uses Comcorp vid division CEL Home Video to distribute its sell-through releases.

Under the arrangement, RE’s sell-through division Video Selection Australia will assume all sales and distribution activities of Comcorp’s video arms CEL and Vision Home Video, which have thousands of titles between them.

Comcorp’s sell-through sales/distrib arm Video Sell-Thru Australia will effectively be dismantled; about 30 staffers are affected. Comcorp managing director Les Lithgow said the rationalization will create a more cost-efficient operation with various logistical advantages for retailers.

RE has been trying to shore up its sell-through catalog since Disney set up shop for itself last year. Col/TriStar Hoyts Home Video managing director Gordon Bobbin said that although the contract with CEL had expired and didn’t permit sub-licensing, he recognizes the economic sense of the move given the current slow retail climate, and won’t pull out.

A similar arrangement has taken place in New Zealand, where Col/TriStar’s sell-through distrib Endeavour has joined with Roadshow-owned Video One.

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