Probert Heads BVHV/Hong Kong

Coming off a record year, Buena Vista Home Video Intl. is intensifying its focus on Asia, the world’s fastest growing region, by setting up a regional headquarters in Hong Kong, headed by Greg Probert.

Upped from the international vid division’s Burbank-based VP finance to senior VP/managing director BVHV Asia, Probert will be installed in the British colony by the end of this month.

Announcing his appointment, BVHV Intl. prexy Michael O. Johnson noted his unit’s revenues shot up by nearly 70% last year, and that the Asian region posted the strongest percentage growth.

He would not divulge overall or territorial revenues but disclosed the record result was driven chiefly by “Aladdin” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” which each sold 16 million units overseas. They eclipsed the company’s previous high mark of 15 million units set by “Jungle Book.”

Marveling at the “huge” sell-through biz in Japan, Johnson said “Aladdin” became the first title ever to top two million units in that market.

Probert’s new mandate includes expanding the company’s banner into the new markets of China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan; aggressively acquiring local product to feed the rental business; and pursuing pay-per-transaction options.

Probert will be responsible for all aspects of the company’s Asian homevid business, spanning subsids in Australia, Japan and Korea, and licensees in Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. He’ll also focus on utilizing BVHV’s sell-through distribution for other Disney home entertainment products, including interactive and audio.

As for the timing of BVHV’s launch in India, Probert foreashadowed it would be releasing sell-through product there by this fall. He added that a deal is being closed in Pakistan, and that Indonesia still is in the exploratory stage. China is on hold until the U.S./Chinese dispute over copyright protection is resolved.

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