New French vid distrib may mean NMV closing

French video distribbery NMV looks likely to close following the decision of two of its main shareholders, Studio Canal Plus and AMLF, to form a new French video distribution company with Fox Video France.

The new entity, PFC Video, will distribute pix from the three partners and will be available for use by other NMV shareholders. Titles from Canal Plus Video, which previously passed through NMV, will now be distributed by Gaumont Columbia TriStar Home Video.

Only films

PFC insiders told Daily Variety that the company will only distribute films; NMV also handled documentaries and TV shows. As the Canal Plus Video catalog is made up principally of non-films, the decision was made to team the subsid with Gaumont Columbia TriStar Home Video.

According to a statement from the PFC partners, Fox Video France topper Olivier Philippon will head the new distrib outlet, which is expected to have yearly revenues in excess of 300 million francs ($ 52 million). That compares with yearly NMV revenues estimated to have been less than 150 million francs ($ 26 million).

Revenue difference

The considerable revenue difference, PFC sources say, is due to the arrival of the Fox Video catalog and the fact that the three partners will distribute their product exclusively via PFC Video, whereas shareholders had a choice whether or not they wanted to use NMV.

Although the statement did not confirm the move, it is widely anticipated that NMV will shutter. The company was set up in 1990 and consisted of four main partners: pay-TV channel Canal Plus; producer/distributor Renn/AMLF; CCV, a group of indie producers; and 40 members of authors/directors/producers org ARP.

Despite a catalog that included pix from most big names in French cinema (Luc Besson, Claude Berri, Louis Malle and Jean-Jacques Beineix) and international hits such as “Dances With Wolves” and “sex, lies, and videotape,” NMV has been dogged by financial difficulties. When Canal Plus Video topper Renee Vincent took over NMV in 1992, she admitted inheriting heavy losses.

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