Universal & Warner Bros. Form Home Entertainment Joint Venture

Savage Clown

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via deadline.com

Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. are entering into a North America ten-year joint venture with regard to their home entertainment arms. Separate from that deal, both studios are committing to license each other’s disc products in certain offshore markets.

The new domestic j.v., which is subject to regulatory approval, will distribute Blu-ray, DVD and 4K UHD for new releases, library titles and television content in U.S. and Canada and combine sales, retail marketing and distribution ops for both majors. Leadership from Universal and Warner Bros. will be involved in this new partnership and be presided over by industry veteran Eddie Cunningham.

The announcement was made today by Peter Levinsohn, President and Chief Distribution Officer, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, and Ron Sanders, President, Worldwide Theatrical Distribution & Home Entertainment and EVP, International Business Operations, Warner Bros.


Even though streaming drove 63% of 2019’s $25 billion home entertainment revenues, the demand for physical product titles remains solid having earned $5.9B on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD and digital per the Digital Entertainment Group’s recent report. From what I understand, Universal and Warner Bros. share the same mission in regards to maintaining this revenue stream, not only through operational efficiencies, but also through innovation. Their goal is to sustain the longevity of the physical category in a global marketplace where consumers’ viewing habits are continually evolving. In addition, from what I’ve heard, even with the shiny introduction of Disney+, that Burbank studio isn’t abandoning their DVD arm as consumers continue to scoop up Marvel, animation and Star Wars titles following their theatrical release.

Universal and Warner Bros. home entertainment j.v. will be up and running by Q1 2021. Under the proposed structure, the studios will continue to operate their digital distribution businesses independently and retain content and consumer marketing for both physical and digital.

Under their new home entertainment license arrangements, Universal will distribute Warner Bros.’ physical home entertainment products in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan, with an anticipated start date of Q3 this year. Warner Bros. will oversee the distribution of Universal’s physical home entertainment products in the U.K., Italy and Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) starting Q1 2021.


“As the home entertainment landscape evolves, we are continuously working to deliver the best entertainment range and value to our fans,” said Sanders. “The physical business is still an important and active category for the industry. This proposed joint venture with Universal gives us the best opportunity to foster innovation in this business, optimize the physical offering and extend the lifespan of the format for our fans and consumers.”

“With market conditions and consumer viewing behaviors continuing to evolve, we wanted a partner who shares in our commitment to deliver the best consumer proposition going forward,” said Levinsohn. “This proposed JV presents a significant opportunity to continue to work with our retail partners to ensure the format’s strength and sustainability for years to come.”

On the appointment of Eddie Cunningham, Levinsohn said, “For more than two decades Eddie has been an expert in understanding the evolution of the physical home entertainment landscape. He’s been a dynamic leader in shepherding business innovation and operational effectiveness.”


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Sigill

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Looks like this could be the way of the future. I never expected two studios this big to combine but the declining market isn’t a good sign. If this helps keep physical media afloat then I’m all for it. It isn’t great news when this happens though, If big studios need to do this to maintain revenue what chance do smaller ones have.
 
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Savage Clown

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Looks like this could be the way of the future. I never expected two studios this big to combine but the declining market isn’t a good sign. If this helps keep physical media afloat then I’m all for it. It isn’t great news when this happens though, If big studios need to do this to maintain revenue what chance do smaller ones have.
Yeah I never expected it to happen, at least physical media is sealed in though.
 
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The studios do some JV's quite often tho. Just this was more publicly announced. It'll be interesting what happens to smaller labels who were only working say one studio. Example, Will EverythingBlu have access to WB titles in the future or will they lose out on their Universal stuff including the potential for WB.

Will be some neat box set editions i suppose lol. The Matrix and Jaws!

Fandango owns Rotten Tomatoes , flixster, movies.com etc. Guess who owns Fandango ?

Fandango is a unit of NBCUniversal, which holds a majority interest in the company. Warner Bros. Entertainment has a minority interest in Fandango.

What happens with Zoom ..... its a JV of Uni and Sony.

2020 Universal Pictures (UK) Limited & Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Alliance, a company registered in England and Wales (Company number 01975478) whose registered office is at 1 Central St. Giles, St. Giles High Street, London, WC2H 8NU. Zoom.co.uk is trading through Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd who act under agency agreement on behalf of Universal Pictures Production Limited (Company number 947098). UP(UK) and UPP are wholly owned subsidiaries of the NBC Universal Group, and subsidiaries of Comcast Corporation.

Maybe all of a sudden they get WB titles. However i think the new WB UK Shop would have something to say about that. Maybe things blow up, or maybe mergers happen that allow more creative minds and experience to work together to put out better stuff. *shrug*