(September 26, 2005 - Burbank, CA) - Warner Home Video (WHV) and Universal Pictures International (UPI) today agreed to distribute each other’s titles in China and in Russia respectively. The reciprocal agreement will capitalize 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. "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,” said Jim Cardwell, President, WHV. “We are honored to work with Universal and to help expand legitimate home entertainment markets that will benefit Hollywood, local retailers and movie fans,” he added. 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. "China and Russia will be significant growth markets for our companies and we are privileged to enter into a collaborative partnership using the expertise of CAV Warner Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures Russia to complement each others’ DVD product distribution,” said Peter Smith, President of Universal Pictures International. “We aim to change the expectations of the millions of Chinese and Russian consumers who have become accustomed to inferior pirated product.” 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. “Adding the distribution of UPI’s new release and catalog film library through our joint venture will significantly increase the number of high quality Hollywood films available to Chinese consumers. Given the choice, we believe consumers in China will chose the better quality legitimate product over poor quality pirated goods,” said Mark Horak, EVP and General Manager, Asia Pacific and Latin America, WHV. 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.” “We are looking forward to working with WHV and building legitimate video businesses in these important new markets,” said Melanie Nicholas, Vice President, Emerging Markets for UPI. “The powerful combination of local experience and distribution expertise that Warner and Universal have built up in these emerging markets will prove a considerable force in the fight against piracy and provide consumers with quality and choice,” she added. “The Russian market is a very challenging one,” added Philippe Cardon, EVP and General Manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, WHV, “and our new partnership with UPI will strengthen our ability to turn this territory into an important growth market.” With operations in 90 international territories, Warner Home Video commands the largest distribution infrastructure in the global video marketplace. Warner Home Video’s film library is the largest of any studio, offering top quality new and vintage titles from the repertoires of Warner Bros. Pictures Inc., Turner Entertainment Company, Castle Rock Entertainment, HBO Home Video and New Line Home Entertainment. Universal Pictures International is part of NBC Universal - one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi Universal.
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