WWE Signs Exclusive Distributor For All DVD Titles

Ryan Gray

The following press release was sent out early this morning:

Genius Products and World Wrestling Entertainment Form New Tag Team

Tuesday October 17, 4:00 am ET

McMahons and Bob and Harvey Weinstein Form a Powerful Entertainment Partnership

SANTA MONICA, Calif.–Genius Products, LLC. has entered into a multi-year agreement with World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (WWE), to be the exclusive home entertainment distributor of all WWE DVD titles, effective November 1, 2006, a partnership that lays the foundation for a “Smackdown” on the entertainment industry.

The announcement was made today by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, Co-Chairmen of The Weinstein Company, the majority owner of Genius Products, and Vince McMahon, WWE’s Chairman, along with Genius Products’ Trevor Drinkwater, President and CEO, Genius Products’ Stephen K. Bannon, Chairman, and WWE’s Shane McMahon, Executive Vice President, Global Media, and Donna Goldsmith, Executive Vice President, Consumer Products.

“Home entertainment is a major part of the WWE’s business, and we believe we have found in Genius a company that understands our brand and will help us continue to drive our company’s growth,” said Vince McMahon. “Bob and Harvey Weinstein have a tremendous track record. We’re excited about this partnership and its long-term potential.”

WWE has successfully used its core businesses of live events, pay-per-view, and producing television content for broadcast and cable networks to establish a vibrant global brand with a presence in more than 130 countries. The company has significantly expanded its line of popular licensed consumer products, such as video games, toys, books and magazines, to territories around the world. WWE is focused on spreading its sports entertainment content to new media platforms, and has experienced success with subscription video on demand, broadband and mobile services, online advertising and ecommerce. It also has created a film division focused on the production of feature films, and other film and television projects.

Bob Weinstein noted, “WWE is not simply a brand; it is an American Icon. Harvey and I very much relate to Vince McMahon’s entrepreneurial style and entertainment philosophy. We love what Vince has done in making WWE the leading sports entertainment franchise in the world, and we are very interested in expanding our relationship beyond DVD distribution to other facets of WWE’s global entertainment empire. We view our relationship with WWE as a major alliance with great growth potential.”

Shane McMahon added, “The entrepreneurial spirit of our two organizations is very similar. We look forward to the potential of working together on a wide array of future projects to include a line of co-produced direct-to-video movies.”

WWE has seen particular success in offering its content in the DVD format, and its home entertainment business has successfully bucked the industry trend of flattening DVD sales. In 2006, 10 of WWE’s DVD releases achieved the No. 1 position on the Sports DVD charts, according to Nielsen VideoScan. WRESTLEMANIA® 22 debuted at No. 5 among all DVD releases in the U.S. and is now the No. 1 best-selling WWE DVD of all-time. Home entertainment revenue accounted for $42 million, or 10 percent, of WWE’s revenues for fiscal year 2006, more than double from the prior fiscal year.

Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Genius will be the exclusive U.S. distributor for all WWE DVDs. New releases will include content from WWE’s 90,000-hour video library, the largest of its kind in the world, featuring content from RAW®, SmackDown!® and ECW® (Extreme Championship Wrestling(TM)), pay-per-view events, including WrestleMania, and past and present Superstar profiles, among others. The deal was negotiated by Trevor Drinkwater and Mitchell Budin, EVP Sales for Genius, and Joel Satin, Senior Director, Home Entertainment and Publishing, for WWE.

Genius assumes distribution for WWE’s titles on November 1, 2006. The first title to be distributed features one of WWE’s greatest legends, BORN TO CONTROVERSY: THE RODDY PIPER(TM) STORY (November 14, 2006, street date). This will be followed by THE SPECTACULAR LEGACY OF THE AWA® (November 21, 2006, street date) and the RAW brand’s pay-per-view, WWE CYBER SUNDAY(TM) 2006 (December 5, 2006, street date). Genius will release a minimum of 25 new titles in 2007, with additional plans to exploit WWE’s DVD catalog of more than 100 titles.

In making the announcement, Drinkwater noted, “The WWE has transformed sports entertainment into a cultural phenomenon through broadcasting, live events and the Superstar icons they create, which are brands unto themselves. We are honored to be associated with a global brand such as WWE. The company continues to expand its presence in the marketplace through creative programming and brand-building, which, in turn, helps provide for unique, high-quality DVD programs.”

Added Donna Goldsmith, “Our DVD titles continue to dominate the sports category and to grow in popularity. With Genius and its team of savvy, experienced industry veterans, we will continue this track record of performance and expand upon it.”

The momentum behind the WWE further strengthens Genius’ rapidly growing library of sports and entertainment content. Over the past year, Genius has been strategically expanding its position in the industry through the introduction of new brands and strategic content provider partnerships across key power alleys such as Sports and Fitness and Lifestyle, now complemented by WWE and ESPN.

Steve Bannon added, “Our partnership with WWE validates our thesis of building a company with major studio infrastructure/supply chain and independent studio attitude and aggressiveness. WWE has demonstrated its confidence in Genius’ ability to achieve broad retail distribution with a ‘best in class’ philosophy. Partnerships with this caliber of company will enable Genius to deliver long-term shareholder value.”

About Genius Products

Genius Products, Inc. (OTCBB: GNPI), along with The Weinstein Company, jointly own Genius Products, LLC, a leading independent home-entertainment distribution company that produces, licenses, and distributes a valuable library of motion pictures, television programming, family, lifestyle and trend entertainment on DVD and other emerging platforms through its expansive network of retailers throughout the U.S. Genius handles the distribution, marketing and sales for such brands as Asia Extreme(TM), Baby Genius®, Dragon Dynasty(TM), Dimension Films, ESPN®, IFC®, NBC News®, Sundance Channel Home Entertainment®, Wellspring(TM) and The Weinstein Company®. Genius Products, Inc. is the managing member of Genius Products, LLC, in which it holds a 30% equity interest.

About World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE:: WWE), is an integrated media and entertainment company headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto and London. Additional information on the company can be found at wwe.com (http://wwe.com/) and corporate.wwe.com (http://corporate.wwe.com/) .

All World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. programming, talent names, images, likenesses, slogans, wrestling moves, and logos are the exclusive property of World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. ECW is a trademark owned by WWE Libraries, Inc. All other trademarks, logos and copyrights are the property of their respective owners.

Safe Harbor Statement

Except for historical matters contained herein, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements reflect assumptions and involve risks and uncertainties that may affect Genius Products’ and WWE’s business, forecasts, projections and prospects, and cause actual results to differ materially from those in these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the anticipated number of releases, timing and financial performance of releases from WWE, including, but not limited, to titles such as “Born to Controversy: The Roddy Piper Story,” “The Spectacular Legacy of the AWA,” “WWE Cyber Sunday 2006,” “WrestleMania 21,” and “WrestleMania 22,” and any other statements relating to new or potential releases that are not historical statements of fact and Genius’ ability to successfully position itself as a leading home entertainment distributor. Actual results could vary for many reasons, including, but not limited to, the unpredictability of audience demand, the effect of technological change and the availability of alternative forms of entertainment and the ability to acquire and keep valuable content or expand the number of distribution partnerships. Other risks and uncertainties include matters described in Genius Products Inc.’s and WWE’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Neither Genius Products Inc. nor WWE assumes any obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this press release.

Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report? Submit it now!
monitoring_string = "851cc24eadecaa7a82287c82808f23d0"