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CNN/Warner will rush video of Y2K’s dawn onto shelves

Tapes/DVDs will be edited, copied and in stores by Jan. 4

Warner Home Video and CNN hope audiences will want to revisit the dawn of Y2K just days after the turn of the millennium.

The two Time Warner divisions have set up an elaborate plan to distribute the two-hour video “CNN Millennium 2000 — Incredible Moments from the Worldwide Celebration” to stores in 25 countries on Jan. 4.

The video will be made up of clips from CNN’s 32-hour “Millennium 2000” coverage, which begins at 5 a.m. (ET) Dec. 31. Producers and editors from Warner Home Video and CNN will be stationed at the news cabler’s Atlanta headquarters, editing footage almost instantly after it appears onscreen.

Producers, execs and Time Warner lawyers (checking the video for any clearance issues) will approve a final two-hour cut around 8 a.m. on Jan. 1. After that, Warner Home Video will feed the video digitally via satellite and over a fiber-optic network to international post-production houses.

Warner execs in countries including the U.S., Australia, Japan, France, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, the U.K. and Canada will supervise creating the video masters, which will then be sent to duplicating houses and immediately shipped as DVDs and videocassettes.

In the U.S., the video will be available on VHS and DVD and will be priced at $14.95.

Warner Home Video prexy Warren Lieberfarb said the project’s production would rely on the “Herculean efforts of thousands of CNN and Warner Bros. personnel around the world.”

The CNN millennium coverage, and presumably the video, will include New Years celebrations in Sydney, Australia; Tokyo; Bethlehem and Jerusalem; Egypt; Greenwich, England; Rio de Janeiro; New York; and Los Angeles.

CNN correspondents reporting from around the world will include Christiane Amanpour, Wolf Blitzer, Lou Waters, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Carol Lin and Jim Moret.

“This tape is going to be the compilation of the most extraordinary 24 hours in our history,” said Rick Kaplan, president, CNN/U.S. “It is a moment in time we shall not see the equal of again.”

Warner Home Video reps will arrive in Atlanta on Dec. 30 to prepare for the event. The video’s producers will have already mapped out a blueprint for which clips might be used and where they may be featured on the tape.

“They’ll have a technique where they’ll try to get shots from as many locations as possible,” said Jeff Brown, vice president of international marketing at Warner Home Video. “One of the ideas we’re trying to push is the worldwide celebration concept. You want to capture every time zone and get a worldwide feel.”

Brown said Warner opted for the quick turnaround in order to sell the tapes while millennium fever was still hot.

“We think long term it’s a collectable video,” he said. “The positive millennium feeling will be top of mind the first two weeks of the new year.”

The CNN millennium video will be marketed via TV spots, national newspaper ads and Internet mentions.

An ABC News spokeswoman said the Alphabet network has not yet announced plans to release a homevideo version of the network’s planned “ABC 2000” coverage.

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