Warner Bros. and Paramount reach home video, Flixster deal
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Warner Bros. home video unit reached a deal to distribute more than 600 films including "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" from Paramount Pictures' film catalog, the companies said on Thursday.
Paramount also will support the Warner Bros. Flixster movie website by providing new releases and older films for sale in the UltraViolet digital streaming format.
Under the deal, Warner Bros. will pay a licensing fee to Viacom-owned Paramount for exclusive U.S. and Canadian rights to distribute DVD and Blu-ray discs of the catalog titles.
Financial terms were not disclosed. The agreement will run for three years starting in January and includes an option for an extension, said Ron Sanders, president of Warner Home Video.
Paramount also gained a seven-year option to buy a stake in any Flixster profits, a source familiar with the transaction said. The option lasts for as long as Paramount is providing films to Flixster during the seven-year time period.
Hollywood studios are trying to revive home video sales. Industry figures through June showed a slow turnaround as consumers streamed more movies online and bought more high-definition Blu-ray discs while DVD sales declined.
UltraViolet is a studio-backed format that allows viewing on multiple Internet-connected devices. Warner Bros., the largest home-video distributor and a unit of Time Warner Inc, is promoting UltraViolet sales on Flixster, a website and app that offers movie information, reviews and sales.
The DVD decline has studios searching for ways to increase profits on physical disc sales. While Warner Bros. will distribute most of its older titles, Paramount will retain home-video rights to big franchises including "Transformers," "Star Trek" and "Indiana Jones."
Paramount is "making our product available in as many ways as possible, as efficiently as possible, to give consumers choice," said Rob Moore, vice chairman of Paramount Pictures.
Warner Bros. hopes to create new film packages by pairing its titles with Paramount's, Sanders said. For example, Warner Bros. movie "Casablanca" could be sold with "The African Queen" from Paramount.
The studio also has an "aggressive plan" to release various Paramount library titles on Blu-ray for the first time, Sanders said. Warner Bros. "gets to add to its already huge library and hopefully create new packages of films we've never been able to release before," he said.
Other titles in Paramount's library include "The Ten Commandments," "Ghost," "Saturday Night Fever," and "Airplane
(Reporting By Lisa Richwine)
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