MGM Home Entertainment takes control of key territories

CALIFORNIA: In a move that underscores the strength of its worldwide home entertainment business, MGM Home Entertainment Group has assumed full control of international operations in several key territories. These include Australia, France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

An official release informs that the decision to recapture distribution in these territories is consistent with MGM's contractual option to reclaim back-room functions as part of its international distribution agreement with Rupert Murdoch's 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The two companies are currently in advanced negotiations to have Fox continue to distribute and market MGM's home entertainment product in the remaining international territories.

MGM Home Entertainment Group president and COO David Bishop said: "This is an inflection point in the growth of worldwide home video. DVD player penetration in the international marketplace is 12-18 months behind the US, and growth within our newly self-distributed territories is expected to double by 2006. With this move, we now control 75 per cent of international sales, marketing and distribution. This puts us in an excellent position to fully leverage our film and television library -- the largest and most modern in the business -- as well as MGM's new film and TV content."

In India, MGM has a 50:50 JV with the Subhash Chandra broadcaster Zee. Bishop continued elaborating on the new arrangement thus, "As our distribution partner, Fox has been particularly supportive of our international strategy from the outset, knowing our intention all along was to expand MGM's self-distribution operations. We extend our sincere appreciation to Fox for helping facilitate this pivotal transition and look forward to further building upon our alliance going forward."

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