Homevid distrib Rentrak takes offers

PPT biz on the block; Warner likely suitor

Rentrak Corp., the middleman distrib that created a revenue-sharing model in the 1980s that has been adopted by nearly every major studio and retailer in homevideo, has hired a consultant to find a buyer for “part or all” of its core pay-per-transaction biz.

Company could be purchased by a studio, and Warner Home Video is believed to be a likely suitor.

Warner, which is to begin direct distribution to retail accounts Sept. 1, has backed rev-sharing as its preferred model. It has delayed an anticipated announcement of how data collecting and auditing of direct revenue-sharing accounts will be handled, presumably while in negotiations for such deals with Rentrak and SuperComm.

Warner could not be reached for comment.

In a preliminary proxy statement filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission last week, the Portland, Ore.-based company said it intends to sell its PPT distrib and information-processing business “to one or more major motion picture studios.”

To this end, Rentrak signed Stephen Roberts, prexy of entertainment consulting firm S. Roberts Co., to assist with a possible sale. Roberts, a member of Rentrak’s board, signed a contract that began in April and expires Dec. 31. If a deal is consummated, he will be paid 2% of the sale price or a minimum of $200,000, according to the filing.

Rentrak CEO Ron Berger could not be reached for comment and Rick Nida, Rentrak’s VP of investor relations, would not expand on the type of deal that is under way or which studio or studios are interested in Rentrak.

Berger acknowledged during a May shareholder conference call that the company “routinely entertains indications of interest from various companies or individuals about one or every part of our business.” He said, however, “We have not had an offer that we would consider anything other than an expression of interest.”

He added that Rentrak planned to move forward with a three-year plan to grow Web fulfillment subsid 3PF.com and expand its data-processing services for studio revenue-sharing programs.

Rentrak also said it has postponed its annual shareholder meeting from Aug. 21 to Sept. 19.

Company is expecting final SEC approval this week of proxy statements for its annual shareholders meeting and board election procedure. In the past month, several preliminary proxies have been filed both by Rentrak and a dissident shareholder group that is seeking control of the board.

In their voting proxies, shareholders will be asked whether to change the company’s bylaws to reduce the number of directors from nine to five and to approve a slate of candidates proposed either by distributor or by the competing group, the Committee for the Achievement of Rentrak Excellence.

When SEC approval is granted, a period of about 45 days is necessary to notify shareholders, mail proxy cards and return ballots, a process that required delaying the meeting.

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

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • T.J. Dillashaw, right, kicks Cody Garbrandt

    Disney Plans UFC Broadcast for FX

    UFC matches will return to FX  – but not on a permanent basis. ESPN has been showing preliminary bouts to UFC pay-per-view events for the last while on ESPN and ESPN2, and then showing the main card on its ESPN+ subscription video service. In September, the early lineup will air on FX, which the UFC [...]

  • fundo logo

    Google‘s Area 120 Is Testing Fundo, a Crowdfunding Service for Creators (EXCLUSIVE)

    Google’s skunkworks lab Area 120 has been quietly testing an events-centric crowdfunding service for YouTubers, Variety has learned. Called Fundo, the service allows creators to invite their fans to virtual meet & greet sessions and other paid online events. A Google spokesperson confirmed the testing in a statement provided to Variety: “One of the many [...]

  • Telling Lies - Logan Marshall-Green

    Sam Barlow's 'Telling Lies' Government-Surveillance Thriller Game Sets Release Date

    After more than two years in the works, “Telling Lies” — the investigative thriller from acclaimed game creator Sam Barlow — is ready to take the stage. The game, produced with and released by Annapurna Interactive, will be available next Friday, Aug. 23, via Steam and Apple’s Mac and iOS app stores. “Telling Lies” will [...]

  • YouTube logo

    YouTube Will Stop Letting Copyright Holders Seize Revenue via Manual Claims on Very Short Music Clips

    YouTube is pushing back against overzealous copyright policing by music companies. Starting in mid-September, the video giant will forbid copyright holders from making manual claims to commandeer revenue generated by YouTube videos that include very short music clips (e.g., five seconds of a song) or “unintentional” music (like music from passing cars). “One concerning trend [...]

  • Chelsea Handler memoir book buy online

    Chelsea Handler Bonds With Alexa in iHeartRadio Smart Speaker Promo

    iHeartRadio has teamed up with Amazon to promote Chelsea Handler’s podcast “Life Will Be The Death Of Me.” Beginning this Thursday, users of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and other devices with Alexa built-in can opt to get their mornings started with Handler cracking jokes and exchanging banter with the smart assistant. Users simply have to [...]

  • David Messinger, Activision Blizzard

    Activision Blizzard Hires CAA Veteran David Messinger as CMO

    Activision Blizzard tapped David Messinger, a former 15-plus-year veteran of CAA, as its first corporate-wide chief marketing officer. Messinger, based in Santa Monica, reports to Coddy Johnson, Activision Blizzard’s president and COO. It’s the first time the video-game company has appointed a CMO who will oversee the global marketing operations across all of Activision Blizzard [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content