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Vidmark embarks on new sell-through market plan

Vidmark Entertainment, the homevideo unit of Trimark Pictures, will expand its operation into the sell-through marketplace, a first for the company. The firm has named Don Gold as VP of sell-through programming to helm its efforts in this arena.

Vidmark is the largest independent product supplier, distributing rental titles direct to the retail marketplace using the firm’s theatrically released films.

Gold, who was previously VP of sales for Strand Home Video, will have a mandate to tap catalog titles, and embark on an aggressive schedule of release acquisitions. Gold’s extensive background in releasing fitness, music and children’s titles will be used in acquiring titles in that genre.

While the vid arm has selected its first four titles to kick off the sell-through line in March, it is in the process of determining the ’94 slate. Vidmark execs said they expect to release 45-50 titles each year, about equal to its theatrical release slate.

“We expect sell-through to be a big contributor to our bottom line,” said Tim Swain, Vidmark’s senior VP of domestic distribution. “And with Don’s knowledge of sell-through, it immediately brings us up to speed.”

Vidmark previously relied on sub-licensees for distribution of product to the sell-through marketplace, which it did infrequently. Vidmark scaled back its use of licensees, such as Starmaker, over the past 18 months in anticipation of opening its own unit.

Swain noted that deals involving its licensed titles are expiring, with the rights reverting back to Vidmark, allowing it to re-release them through the new arrangement, providing for additional product flow into the sell-through markets.

The prime motivator for the full-court press into sell-through was the determination by its execs that the move would get the company a larger piece of the homevideo revenue pie.

“The results of our research indicate that in order for the company to exploit the maximum revenue potential of this business, we needed to become primary distributors,” said Mark Amin, Vidmark’s chairman and acting CEO.

The company will also acquire outside theatrical releases, although no budget was announced.

“If it costs two or three million dollars and we think it’s a good fiscal risk — we’ll take it,” Swain said.

Vidmark’s revenues topped $ 62 million in 1992, with analysts estimating the company’s 1993 take at around $ 93 million.

Initial releases will include the critically acclaimed thriller “La Femme Nikita,” joining “The Favor””The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover,””Solar Crisis” and “The Watch and the Very Big Fish.”

The vidtapes will sell for $ 14.99.

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