Genius makes first profit

Weinstein video distributor nets $2.1 million

Genius Products LLC, the video distributor controlled by the Weinstein Co., posted its first profit during the quarter ended June 30, showing $2.1 million in net income.

That stemmed the red ink that had been flowing since July 2006, when TWC finalized its 70% ownership of Genius LLC. Seven-year-old specialty video distributor Genius Products Inc. owns the remaining 30% of the venture.

Although no year-to-year comparisons are available, Genius LLC generated a $2.4 million net loss in its first quarter 2007.

Boosted primarily by DVD releases of such TWC features as “Hannibal Rising,” “Bobby” and “Arthur and the Invisibles,” Genius also scored record revenue of $113 million for the period, a 36% rise vs. the prior quarter. Sales of World Wrestling Entertainment, Sesame Street, Discovery Kids and Veggie Tales-branded DVDs were other highlights.

“The big influence for the quarter is that we are now fully releasing titles from WWE, Sesame Street and Classic Media (home to popular faith-based line Veggie Tales), where this is the first quarter we have all of these deals fully operating,” said Genius CEO Trevor Drinkwater. “The rights to these branded titles were all acquired last year.”

Based on its upbeat performance, Genius has adjusted upwards its full-year revenue range to $750 million-$800 million.

Genius Inc., meanwhile, continued to tally a quarterly loss, posting a $1.3 million net loss for this second quarter. Yet strengthening returns from its stake in Genius LLC narrowed that loss from $17.9 million in red ink during the comparable 2006 period.

Genius LLC is currently releasing about 75-80 DVDs per quarter, representing a mix of non-Weinstein brands and TWC films and properties.

The second half of the year will see Genius release DVDs of such high-profile TWC theatricals as “1408,” “Sicko,” “The Nanny Diaries” and “Last Legion.”

Additionally, Genius secured a three-year, $70 million credit facility, provided from a consortium of banks including Societe Generale. This facility will help diversify Genius’ portfolio, and will be used to provide working capital to finance content acquisition, production and distribution of non-TWC properties.

(Susanne Ault is a reporter for Variety sister publication Video Business.)

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