By the time Video Software Dealers Association (vsda) conventioneers hit the glitzy streets of Las Vegas next July for their annual buy-and-sell frenzy, Los Angeles-based GRB Entertainment (Movie Magic, Hollywood’s Greatest Stunts) will be up and running with its own home-video label: GRB Home Entertainment.
Having acquired licensing and home-video expertise in-house in the guise of video vet Mary Ann Fagan three weeks prior to mipcom, GRB launched into phase one of its home-video strategy. The company has 250 hours of programming available for licensing internationally, including 70 hours from master ski filmmaker Warren Miller.
‘We’re starting out by licensing into the international market, to get the titles out there. We’ve been holding back rights on the domestic side for our own use,’ says Fagan. The titles are generally licensed for five years, and the deals usually include rights for sell-through, DVD, direct sale, direct response and even laser disk. GRB retains the copyright on all its titles.
The company is using the titles it has retained to test distribution methods domestically. ‘We need to have the ability to reach consumers directly,’ says Patricia Leonard, a video consultant for grb. ‘Right now we’re testing packaging and promotional tie-ins.’
GRB’s television presence has meant the company has been able to build a significant database of ‘qualified buyers,’ says Leonard. ‘We know people who’ve seen our shows on television are interested in purchasing, because they go to the trouble of finding out who the producer is and finding our number. They call us looking for these videos.’
GRB Home Entertainment plans on using non-traditional methods of navigating the video market, expecting only 10% of revenue to come from rentals. ‘The rental market is definitely slowing down,’ says Fagan.
‘Obviously we’ll be working with mass merchants and video chains, but direct marketing and direct response will be a big part of our business,’ says Leonard. To that end, grb will be producing an informercial.
As for cross-promotion, the company is looking to strike deals with the major studios which would make GRB Home Entertainment product available for sell-through, in other words, packaging grb titles with other releases as a value-added item.
The company has already begun developing direct-to-video product. Building on relationships formed with the Hollywood special-effects community via series such as Movie Magic, Mega Movie Magic and Hollywood’s Greatest Stunts, grb president Gary Benz is developing effects-heavy feature-length projects which would be ripe for merchandising and cross-promotion with major advertisers.