DreamWorks Animation’s distribution deal with Paramount ends next year, and Deadline has already reported that Jeffrey Katzenberg is on the lookout for his next partner — we’ve heard he had zeroed in on Time Warner after talks with Comcast, Disney, Universal, Fox and Sony fell through. So here’s another potential partner for DWA: DWA. Bloomberg is reporting that the animation studio may take over distribution duties for itself and could even act as a distrib for other producers, a source says. Under the plan, DWA would market and distribute its 2-3 films per year, then offset those costs by doing the same for others in an era when digital distribution has made such a plan more cost-effective than paying off an outside output partner. If true it’s the latest digital play for DWA, which this week announced a deal to distribute its movies on Netflix, ending its relationship with HBO — though it remains to be seen how lucrative a tie-up that deal will be (see Spin Cycle: Who Says Netflix Is Paying DreamWorks Animation $30M Per Picture?).
UPDATE: Cinedigm Plans Major Effort To Reshape Movie Theater Entertainment After Selling Distribution Biz To Technicolor
Cinedigm shares are up 8.7% in after hours trading following the announcement of a deal that clarifies the company’s growing focus on digital entertainment that exhibitors can show at times when many have trouble filling seats. Cinedigm will continue to help theaters install digital projectors, CEO Chris McGurk tells me. But it’s turning over to Technicolor the part of the business that delivers digital entertainment to theaters via satellite or hard drives. ”More and more our focus will be on software and content” says McGurk who ran Anchor Bay Entertainment before moving to Cinedigm in January.
Indeed, over the next two months he says he’ll begin to announce deals with theater owners who’ll let Cinedigm program venues like a TV network. “Monday could be action sports night,” he says. “Tuesday could be opera night. Wednesday could be Broadway night.” He says theaters could sell tickets on a subscription basis. One incentive to sign on: ”We’re going to cut exhibitors in on the downstream VOD, DVD, pay TV and free TV sales from content that debuts in their theaters. I don’t think anyone has ever offered that in exhibition before.” Cinedigm also will continue to offer one-off events similar to the 3D showing in April of a live concert by Foo Fighters.
Meanwhile McGurk says Cinedigm is looking for other deals to help clarify its new direction. “The company is in five different businesses and has had a confusing story to the investment community,” he says. “We’re looking to rationalize our businesses other than software and content.”
Here’s the announcement of the deal with Technicolor:
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