MGM chucks Canuck vid distrib Warner

VP of sales Wragg to lead 14-member staff in Toronto

MGM Home Entertainment Group said Wednesday that it will distribute its own DVD and VHS product in Canada beginning with April 2003 titles, ending its Canadian distribution deal with Warner Home Video.

“We are extremely pleased to expand our distribution operations in Canada, which is such an important market,” MGM group president David Bishop said in a statement. “We look forward to building a strong foundation with the Canadian retail base and in providing them with the same outstanding service that we have worked diligently to deliver to our retailers in the U.S. and the U.K.”

MGM in 2000 began self-distribution in the U.S., ending a decadelong U.S. distribution deal with Warner. MGM paid Warner $225 million and relinquished the video distribution rights early to nearly 1,000 pre-1986 MGM titles to extricate itself from that deal.

MGM is establishing a 14-member staff in Toronto to be led by newly promoted VP of sales for Canada Martin Wragg. Wragg was previously director of East Coast sales. With physical distribution being handled through Toronto-based Cinram, the sales force will begin selling directly to trade outlets on Jan. 1 for April street titles.

MGM’s day-to-day Canadian marketing operations will continue to be supervised by Blake Thomas, exec VP of worldwide marketing. He is based at the company’s Santa Monica HQ.

MGM also recently began distributing its own product in Germany and France.

(Magiera is a reporter for Daily Variety sister publication Video Business.)

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