×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

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.)

More Digital

  • Evan Williams, Twitter founder (R) and

    Twitter Co-Founder Evan Williams Steps Down From Company’s Board

    Twitter co-founder Evan “Ev” Williams is stepping down from the company’s board, Twitter announced in a SEC filing Friday afternoon. Williams will depart from the board at the end of this month, according to the filing. “It’s been an incredible 13 years, and I’m proud of what Twitter has accomplished during my time with the [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Shuts Down Controversial Ovano VPN App

    Responding to a continued backlash over its data collection practices, Facebook pulled the plug on its Ovano VPN app Friday. Ovano, which promised users an added level of privacy while using public Wifi hotspots, was used by Facebook for market research purposes. Facebook removed the app from the Google Play store Friday, and the company [...]

  • Smosh

    Smosh Acquired by Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment

    UPDATED: Smosh, the long-running YouTube comedy brand, has been acquired by Mythical Entertainment, the company formed by Rhett & Link, hosts of comedy show “Good Mythical Morning.” As first reported by Variety last week, Mythical emerged as the leading candidate to buy Smosh, which was left stranded after parent company Defy Media shut down without [...]

  • China Video Streaming Giant iQIYI Loses

    Chinese Video Giant iQIYI Loses $1.3 Billion in 2018

    Chinese video streaming firm iQIYI lost over $1.3 billion in 2018, as revenues and subscriber numbers ballooned. The deepening losses reflected ever higher spending on original content production. Announcing its first full-year financials since a March IPO that launched it onto the NASDAQ, iQIYI said that it lost $1.3 billion (RMB9.1 billion) last compared with [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Aims to Top $1 Billion in Revenue in 2019, Beats Holiday Quarter Earnings Expectations

    Roku wants to become a billion-dollar company in 2019, and invest more in its ongoing international expansion. The streaming-device maker told investors on Thursday that it expects to generate between $1 billion and $1.025 billion this year, and that international growth was one of its key investment areas for 2019. Roku made these announcements as [...]

  • Vice Media

    Vice Media Taps Joe Simon as Chief Technology Officer (EXCLUSIVE)

    Joe Simon has been tapped as chief technology officer at Vice Media. The newly created role will include oversight of data analytics, engineering, information technology, media operations, media technology, post production, and systems management. Prior to Vice, Simon spent three years as Encompass Digital Media’s chief operating officer. Previously he held the chief technology officer [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content