Warner, Universal hatch home video deal for China, Russia

MUMBAI: Warner Home Video (WHV) and Universal Pictures International (UPI) have agreed to distribute each other’s titles in China and in Russia respectively.



The reciprocal agreement looks to capitalise on both companies’ distribution expertise and is intended to provide a legitimate alternative to pirated product in both markets. CAV Warner Home Entertainment, a joint entertainment distribution venture between Warner Home Video and China Audio Video, will use its continuing relationships with retailers throughout China to distribute Universal home entertainment titles, whilst UPI will distribute WHV titles in Russia through its existing operating company based in Moscow.

The collaboration allows both studios to strengthen and build distribution processes in these new markets and offer consumers in both countries affordable, high quality product as an alternative to inferior illegitimate goods. In the next several months, UPI will release 20 new WHV titles in Russia and will continue to exploit hundreds of WHV catalogue titles already available in Russian.



WHV president Jim Cardwell says, "China and Russia are two expanding economies and we hope by offering consumers high quality, affordable product we can take a bite out of piracy. We are honoured to work with Universal and to help expand legitimate home entertainment markets that will benefit Hollywood, local retailers and movie fans”.

In November, CAV Warner will initially release about 15 Universal films and will continue to release between 20 to 30 new films every few months for the next two to three years. Currently, more than 200 WHV titles are already on shelves at over 1500 retail locations throughout China.

Retail partners in both countries will soon offer their customers Universal titles like Ray, The Interpreter and The 40 Year Old Virgin as well as WHV titles including blockbuster new releases such as Batman Begins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

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