Hearst Entertainment and Worldvision Homevideo have inked their first “label” output deal for domestic rights on 21 telefilms. All pix, in the $ 2.5 million range, will have had network or cable exposure before homevid release.
Deal was negotiated by Hearst Entertainment prez Tom Devlin and Robert Sigman , exec veepee and general manager of Worldvision, a unit of Spelling Entertainment.
Devlin said the venture was triggered by Worldvision’s homevid success with first outing in the package, “Wildflower” (directed by Diane Keaton), which was released in November. Next up is the Louis Gossett Jr. vehicle, “Sudie & Simpson.”
In the increasingly popular “label” deal structure, the buyer doesn’t give a minimum guarantee against a royalty upfront. Companies essentially act as partners until revenues start rolling in.
“Hearst starts seeing revenues after they’ve concluded their deal with (the 12 U.S homevid product) distributors who sell to retailers,” Devlin added. Worldvision pays out-of-pocket marketing expenses and the Hearst label/logo will appear on cassette boxes, Sigman confirmed.
“It’s not exclusive, but Worldvision will probably have an option on future (Hearst) titles as well,” Sigman added.
The contract is seven years, but Worldvision “wants to get them out there day and date,” or as “soon as they’re off network or right after cable,” Sigman said.
In a separate interview, Devlin said such deals involve a lot of trust because of the shared risk. Noting he was a former Worldvision partner, Devlin said that company was an obvious choice.
“We’re going into this with our eyes open,” according to Devlin, who is in discussions with homevid distribs in the U.K. and South Africa for similar deals.