×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Homevideo Biz Showing Signs of Growth for Indies (EXCLUSIVE)

Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment locks down new deals with WWE, National Geographic, Discovery Communications as disc sales pick up.

Despite all the reports that the homevideo industry is in a decline, there are signs the biz is actually on an upswing.

Just this week, DreamWorks Animation surprised industryites when disc sales and downloads of “Rise of the Guardians” doubled internal expectations. Paramount Home Video released the film for the toon studio.

Now Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment, one of the industry’s largest independent homevid distributors, is seeing more demand for its titles, signaling a potentially lucrative year for the entertainment biz outside of theaters.

Its top-selling title last year was the Canal Plus-produced toonpic “A Turtle’s Tale: Sammy’s Adventures,” which was released direct-to-video and features Melanie Griffith among the voices for the U.S. release. Pic has shifted almost 500,000 discs. Its sequel is also performing well since its release at the end of the first quarter.

GVE said sales across all its labels rose 15% in 2012, without revealing specific numbers. This comes despite the homevid biz ending 2012 flat with 2011 at $18 billion, according to the Digital Entertainment Group.

GVE’s sales are up again during the first quarter, “tracking more closely to the industry’s growth” so far this year, according to GVE prexy Bill Sondheim.

The uptick in sales come as GVE locks down new multiyear distribution deals with a number of its largest clients, including WWE, National Geographic, Salient Media, Sonar Entertainment, Televisa and Discovery Communications, with deals running three to five years. It’s also released product for Hallmark Channel, Jillian Michaels, NFL Films and Marvel Animation in the past.

GVE handles the physical and digital releases throughout the U.S., although some companies broker their own streaming deals with services like Netflix.

Its largest partner is WWE, for whom GVE distributes “WrestleMania” and other pay-per-views, as well as compilations from its library. WWE has pacts with 20th Century Fox and other distributors for titles, including its direct-to-video movies or theatrical releases like “The Call,” “Dead Man Down” and the upcoming “No One Lives.”

“WWE has been a true partner for us in every sense of the word,” Sondheim said. “With this deal, we are excited to continue our focus on building exciting cross-promotional and merchandising opportunities with our physical and on-line retailers and key WWE partners.”

GVE’s new deal with Sonar runs through September 2015. Companies have worked together since 2009, with GVE distributing 1,000 titles, including the “Lonesome Dove” miniseries, “Merlin” and “Gulliver’s Travels.”

GVE ended last year as the No. 1 independent and distributor of childrens, family, comedy, sports documentaries and special interest titles; and No. 2 among suppliers of non-theatrical titles (behind Warner Home Entertainment).

The extra shelf space and promotion of independent titles by Walmart and Target — eager to keep disc sales healthy — has helped prop up sales. But GVE also is seeing increases in revenue from Redbox and other rental ventures, as well as Amazon, where it’s improved how it promotes its titles to consumers through the e-tailer’s technology.

While digital is growing for GVE and the major studios (up 30% in 2012), “it’s still a significant minority of our business,” Sondheim said.

Digital sales grew 50% last year for the company, but it only represents 20% of GVE’s total business.

“It’s less sexy to talk about but the physical business continues to be vibrant and is making a slight recovery based on the broader industry data,” signaling a healthy outlook for the short to mid-term, Sondheim said.

Gaiam and Vivendi Entertainment merged in 2012, when Gaiam purchased the homevideo division from Universal Music Group Distribution.

Since then, “we’ve created a new culture that is working and response to the studios we represent and the retailers we distribute to,” Sondheim said.

More Biz

  • Adele Haenel Adèle Haenel

    Accusations Against Roman Polanski and Other Filmmakers Propel France's #MeToo Movement

    When the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke two years ago, the news was mostly met in France with a Gallic shrug. Screen icon Catherine Deneuve even denounced the #MeToo movement as creating a “totalitarian” environment. But bombshell accusations this month from actors Adèle Haenel and Valentine Monnier may finally have turned the tide in the local film [...]

  • Subhash Chandra Chairman of the Zee

    Another 16% Slice of India’s Zee to be Sold by Essel

    The Essel Group is to sell a further 16.5% stake in Zee Entertainment Enterprise Limited, India’s largest private sector broadcast group. The debt-reduction move comes just months after Essel auctioned off an 11% tranche of ZEEL. “The Group seeks to sell up to 16.5% stake in ZEEL to financial investors, in order to repay loan [...]

  • Frank Cicha

    Listen: Why Fox Television Stations Embraced Trial and Error in Daytime

    Frank Cicha, head of programming for Fox Television Stations, saw the future coming nearly a decade ago when Fox’s TV station group committed many millions to land syndication rights to “The Big Bang Theory” back in 2010. Even then, it was clear that big hits on the scale of “Big Bang” were going to be [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Jussie Smollett Files Malicious Prosecution Counterclaim Against City of Chicago

    Jussie Smollett has filed a counterclaim against the city of Chicago, several Chicago Police Department officers, and brothers Abimbola Osundairo and Olabinjo Osundairo claiming that he was the victim of a malicious prosecution that caused him “humiliation, mental anguish and extreme emotional distress.” The filing document, obtained by Variety, alleges that the Chicago P.D. “obtained false and [...]

  • Anna-Kendrick-Frito-Lay-ad

    Christmas Crunch: Frito-Lay Bets on Anna Kendrick to Catch Holiday Snackers

    Anna Kendrick’s newest role puts her through what may be some of the most delicious torture of her career. Kendrick, known for films like “Up In The Air” and “Pitch Perfect,” recently found herself on the set of a three-day shoot surrounded by bowls, bowls and bowls of chips, popcorn and other salty snacks that [...]

  • CJ-CGV Cinemas

    CJ CGV Sells $286 Million Stake in Asian Cinema Businesses

    CJ CGV, the Korean movie theaters giant, is to raise $286 million from the sale of a slice of its Indonesian, Vietnamese and Chinese businesses. The company, which has its own stock market listing and is affiliated to the CJ Group, which includes CJ E&M and CJ Entertainment, said this week that it had sold [...]

  • Alibaba offices

    Hong Kong Share Sale Brings Alibaba an Easy $13 Billion

    Chinese e-commerce and entertainment giant Alibaba was easily able to sell all the shares it put up for sale in a secondary listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The company is selling 500 million new shares, which on Wednesday it announced would be priced at HK$176 apiece, or roughly US$180 per New York-traded ADR, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content