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Studio Distribution Services (SDS) is the home video distribution subsidiary of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The company was formed on April 23, 2021 and operated only in the North American countries.

Background

In 1981, Warner Home Video signed a deal with NBC Enterprises to release its titles under the NBC Home Video label.[1] The same year, UA licensed foreign video rights to Warner Home Video, in a deal that was set to expire in 1991.

Universal previously distributed its films on video internationally through CIC Video (a division of Cinema International Corporation, later United International Pictures) alongside Paramount Pictures. In Japan, releases from both Universal and Paramount appeared on CIC-Victor Video Ltd. (a joint venture between CIC Video and JVC) for VHS and on Pioneer LDC, Inc. for Laserdisc. Following Universal's acquisition of PolyGram in 1999, PolyGram Video (which had international operations) was dissolved into Universal.

In 1990, Warner Home Video acquired the worldwide home video rights to the MGM/UA catalog. The $125 million purchase was used to finance MGM/UA's acquisition by the Pathé Communications Corporation.[2] The intended 12½-year-long deal was cut short in February 2000, with MGM paying Warner Bros. $225 million to regain video rights to a number of its films. In exchange, Warner Bros. gained full control over the video rights to MGM's pre-1986 library, an asset the studio acquired outright from Turner, but due to a pre-existing licensing deal with MGM, was expected to expire in 2001.[3] With the acquisition of Fox's parent company 21st Century Fox by Disney in 2019, MGM announced in their 2019 report that it would not renew its deal with Fox after the current agreement expired on June 30, 2020, and would search for a new distributor afterwards.[4] In the studio's 2020 financial report, MGM named Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as their new home media distributor[5], while Universal already began distributing some of UAR's other releases beginning with Operation Finale on December 4, 2018.

In 1996, Warner Home Video had reached a deal on releasing Twister, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Maverick, The Fugitive and three Batman films in China through Shenzen Advanced Science Enterprise Group.[6] In 2005, Warner Home Video also operated a joint venture distribution unit in China with China Audio Video (CAV) known as CAV Warner Home Entertainment to distribute Warner Bros.' films along with Universal & Paramount titles in Region 6 DVD format in China.[7][8]

In 2011, MGM launched the "MGM Limited Edition Collection", a manufactured-on-demand (MOD) DVD service that issues unreleased and out-of-print titles from the MGM-owned library.[9] Its releases are sold through the Warner Archive Collection.[10]

Since 2013, Universal's international operations are a joint venture with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, a carryover from the PolyGram days, but more often than not, both UPHE and SPHE operate a joint venture in Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia called Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In October 2012, Paramount Home Media Distribution and Warner Home Video signed a distribution deal, allowing Warner Bros. to gain U.S. and Canadian DVD, Blu-ray, UltraViolet, Flixster, and DVD-manufacturing-on-demand distribution rights to over 600 Paramount Pictures titles as well as new Paramount titles. The deal went into effect on January 1, 2013,[11] and expired in 2017.

At the start of 2015, Paramount Home Media Distribution signed a distribution agreement with Universal, whereby the latter will distribute the former's titles overseas, particularly the territories where Paramount holds an office. The deal began on July 1, 2015 in the United Kingdom. Universal will continue distributing Paramount's DVDs and Blu-rays out of the United States and Canada. With the distributor change for Universal's titles in the UK, Paramount Home Media Distribution signed a new UK home entertainment distribution deal with StudioCanal and Lionsgate UK's Elevation Sales in July 2020 that began in January 2021.

History

On January 14, 2020, Universal and Warner Bros. announced that they would partner on a 10-year multinational joint-venture, merging their physical operations in North America. Universal will distribute Warner Bros.' titles in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Japan; while Warners will distribute Universal's titles in the U.K., Italy and Benelux.[12] On April 7, 2020, the European Commission approved the merger.[13] The company was later named Studio Distribution Services, LLC.[14] Since June 1, 2021, SDS' logo took the WBHE's logo and UPHE logo's place on the back covers of the home releases.[15]

Catalog

Mainstream

The company currently releases titles from the film and television library of Warner Bros. as well as programs from other WarnerMedia companies, including WarnerMedia Studios & Networks, WarnerMedia News & Sports, HBO, New Line Cinema, DC Comics, Telepictures, Hanna-Barbera, and Turner Entertainment Co., and titles from Universal Pictures, as well as properties from NBC Universal companies, including Focus Feathers, DreamWorks Animation, Amblin Partners, Illumination and Working Titles Films.

Most of titles from Warner Bros. and Universal are not handled by SDS, and certain titles license to other companies, such as The Criterion Collection and Shout Factory. Most of cult and classic properties owned by WarnerMedia are currently distributed by WBHE, through Warner Archive Collection. While most of Universal's titles currently license to Kino Lorber and Mill Creek Entertainment.

North America deals

Both companies, and SDS, have distribution deals with MGM Home Entertainment, Bleecker Street, The Film Arcade, Mattel Creations (Until 2021, when distribution switched to Mill Creek Entertainment and NCircle Entertainment), Aviron Pictures, STX Entertainment, 101 Studios, Open Road Films, Blumhouse Tilt, DreamWorks Classics (via DreamWorks Animation), Big Idea Entertainment, Neon, Entertainment One (in Canada, UK, Australia, Spain, Germany and USA), Amazon Studios (starting with Brad's Status), Samuel Goldwyn Productions,[16][17] Viz Media,[18], WWE, and former Warner Bros.' sister company Picturehouse.

References

  1. "Monitor", Broadcasting (1981-11-09). 
  2. Lev, Michael (October 24, 1990). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Pathe Settles Time Warner Dispute" (in en-US), The New York Times. 
  3. Peers, Martin (March 16, 1999). "MGM presses stop on WB homevid deal". (en) Variety.
  4. https://d20qidnmpnrwiu.cloudfront.net/cdn/ff/2EkRrs42qi5_owbYV38OTEhAVmft8wf4qe0Gy3rzkcU/1585084775/public/2020-03/YE%202019%20Financial%20Report.pdf
  5. [1]
  6. "Warner reaches Chinese home-video deal", United Press International (July 30, 1996). 
  7. "Warner Home Video Announces Historic Joint Venture With China Audio Video", Warner Bros. (February 4, 2005). 
  8. "A Guide to Chinese DVDs (authentic, bootleg and grey zone)", DVD Compare (October 20, 2007). 
  9. "MGM on MOD: The MGM Limited Edition Collection"..
  10. "MOD Movies for Intrepid Cineastes". 
  11. Giardina, Carolyn (October 4, 2012). "Warner Bros. to Distribute 600 Paramount Movies on Home Video". The Hollywood Reporter.
  12. "Universal & Warner Bros. Form Home Entertainment Joint Venture". (en) Deadline (15 January 2020).
  13. "European Commission Approves Warner, Universal Home Entertainment Joint Venture – Media Play News"..
  14. Hunt, Bill (April 23, 2021). "BILL'S ON THE LATEST HOME THEATER UNITED PODCAST, PLUS AN APPLE DIGITAL PURCHASE LAWSUIT & WARNER AND UNIVERSAL COMBINE THEIR PHYSICAL MEDIA OPERATIONS". thedigitalbits.com.
  15. Animaniacs: Season One DVD, retrieved 2021-08-10<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Warner Bros Licenses Samuel Goldwyn Titles For Home Video Push". Deadline (March 30, 2012).
  17. "Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Acquires Rights To 70 Films From The Samuel Goldwyn Library". Blu-ray Movie Discussion, Expert Reviews & News.
  18. "VIZ Media and Warner Home Video Forge Distribution Alliance – WarnerMedia". www.warnermediagroup.com.


External links


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