A bill that requires California‚Äôs optical disc manufacturers to comply with stricter anti-piracy measures has passed in both houses of the state‚Äôs legislature.
Following the California Assembly‚Äôs passage of the SB 550 bill on Wednesday (via California Newswire), the State Senate agreed to the Assembly‚Äôs amendments (PDF of the latest version of the bill here). The legislation, introduced earlier this year by California State Senator¬†Alex Padilla, aims to strengthen an existing law that requires the state’s CD, DVD, and Blu-ray replicators to include source identification information on every disc they manufacture.
A spokesman for State Sen. Padilla told M&E Daily that the anti-piracy bill was now “on its way” to the desk of California Gov. Jerry Brown for his signature. The Governor has not commented on the pending legislation.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been vocal in its support for the bill, which also subjects California replication facilities to warrantless inspections and increases fines against companies that fail to comply with the measures.
Technicolor announced a pair of acquisitions on Wednesday, furthering plans to grow its market position in post-production services as well as digital cinema distribution.
The company says its acquisition of Hollywood-headquartered post house LaserPacific broadens its services for broadcast television series as well as theatrical films. Technicolor said that it would retain key LaserPacific personnel as part of the deal, which is expected to close in August. More on the LaserPacific acquisition at The Hollywood Reporter, which notes the deal coincides with Technicolor‚Äôs inking of a post-production partnership in New York with PostWorks; both deals signify further consolidation of the post-production services sector.
Paris-based Technicolor also is expanding its North American footprint in digital cinema distribution with an agreement to acquire assets of Cinedigm Digital Cinema Corp. With the Cinedigm deal, Technicolor‚Äôs digital cinema satellite network will span some 1,100 locations in the U.S. and Canada.
Company‚Äôs DVD, Blu-ray Volumes Up 50 Percent in First Half
Releasing its first-half 2011 earnings on Thursday, Technicolor said revenue for its entertainment services division increased by 18 percent from the first half of 2010 (on a constant currency basis), thanks to increases in optical disc replication volumes and higher activity levels in Technicolor‚Äôs ‚Äúcreation services‚ÄĚ unit.
DVD and Blu-ray replication volumes increased by 50 percent from the first half of 2010, with DVD volume up by 158 million units and Blu-ray volume up 30 by million units.
Likely a large contributor to the volume gains is Warner Home Video, whose replication and distribution business Technicolor added during the second half of 2010. Warner has continued to release more DVD titles than any other studio in 2011 to date, and is behind only Universal in its number of Blu-ray releases through July 22, according to the DVD Release Report (.pdf here).
Technicolor also recorded 28.5% revenue growth in its technology licensing division during the first half of 2011 ‚ÄĒ driven in part by gains from MPEG-LA licensing deals. However, worldwide digital delivery revenue was down by 7% during the period, with Technicolor noting that volume gains in cable and satellite services failed to offset declines in the telecom segment.
The company said it expects its licensing and entertainment services units to continue compensating for the ‚Äúweakness in digital delivery revenues and margins‚ÄĚ during the second half of 2011.
Entertainment Distribution Company (EDC) has opened a new office in France, as the supply chain services firm ‚ÄĒ which maintains CD and DVD replication operations in Germany ‚ÄĒ seeks to win French software publishers and others as new clients.
The French office is headed by Maxime Hueber, who hails from fellow entertainment distributor Arvato Digital Services (via Digital2Disc).
Studios have long taken stabs at establishing a legitimate home entertainment market in China. But the country‚Äôs market for pirated discs ‚ÄĒ estimated by China‚Äôs state-run media to be worth $6 billion in 2010 ‚ÄĒ continues to impede Hollywood‚Äôs efforts.¬†Moreover, Chinese pirates maintain a sophisticated supply chain: feature-rich DVD editions of new films arrive in shops days after their theatrical release.
The Los Angeles Times profiles the country‚Äôs pirate industry, which the Motion Picture Association suspects of being tied to China‚Äôs military.
The acquisition follows the company‚Äôs establishment of DeringDirect in September 2010, in a bid to develop new markets for its packaged media manufacturing and fulfillment businesses.
ESP, founded in 1979, offers services that range from recording and editing to package design and DVD replication/duplication.
Furnace MFG Taking Orders For Record Store Day 2011; Event Organizers Announce Black Friday Exclusives
Fairfax, Va.-based replicator Furnace MFG is teaming with the organizers of Record Store Day, the annual promotional event for independently-owned music retailers, to offer participating artists and labels its range of vinyl, CD and DVD manufacturing services.
Furnace chief executive Eric Astor says that the company plans to offer discounts on replication orders for artists and labels supporting the spring promotion. The company maintains more than 40 active vinyl record presses; the company is co-owner of Pallas USA, a partnership with vinyl replicator Pallas Group of Germany. (Release here.)
The fourth-annual Record Store Day, set for April 16, 2011, looks to build on an event whose most recent outing saw shops in the U.S. and 18 other countries market more than 200 exclusive releases.
Separately, the Record Store Day organizers announced that affiliated shops will be stocking a variety of exclusive releases for this season‚Äôs Black Friday (Nov. 26). Titles include new live recordings from U2 and Metallica, and 180-gram vinyl reissues of albums from the likes of George Harrison and The Doors.
The DVD6C, a group of key patent holders for DVD products, has revised its worldwide patent licensing program beginning on and after January 1, 2010, offering a new license agreement with additional licensing options.
Royalty rates on prerecorded DVD discs remain set at $0.04 per disc ‚ÄĒ the same rate that the licensing group has charged since January 2008.
But the group has reduced royalty rates on a number of hardware products, including DVD players and DVD recorders, in addition to offering a shortened initial term of the license (now running to the end of 2012).
Blu-ray Disc products are not covered by the new license, irrespective of whether they include DVD functionality, the group says.
DVD6C member companies include Hitachi, Ltd., Mitsubishi Electric Corp., Panasonic Corp., Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd., Sharp Corp., Toshiba Corp., Victor Company of Japan, Ltd. (JVC) and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc.
The Los Angeles Business Journal profiles the efforts of several service providers that prospered during DVD‚Äôs peak years to survive in today‚Äôs marketplace. DVD distributors are adding licensed T-shirts, books, and other entertainment-related products to their mix. Disc replicators once reliant on studio work to feed their manufacturing lines are taking on corporate training and marketing projects. Meanwhile, on the content side, direct-to-video producers are gaining footholds in television distribution.
Cinram says it posted a first-quarter profit of $7.9 million thanks to higher DVD and Blu-ray shipments as well as favorable currency exchange rates. Among the takeaways: the company replicated 243.6 million DVDs in the quarter, a 13% increase over the 2009 period. Blu-ray revenues, meanwhile, doubled year-over-year to $8.9 million.
As The Hollywood Reporter notes, Cinram‚Äôs first quarter comes ahead of Warner Bros. shifting its replication work to Technicolor. By The Hollywood Reporter
GreenDigitalPrinting.com — a brand of Canadian CD/DVD replicator Precision Disc Manufacturing ‚Äď employs waste-reducing digital printing processes, recycled paper and board substrates, and inks that are compliant with environmental standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other governmental organizations. Via PR Web
As part of its effort to add new studio customers, Cinram has hired home entertainment veteran Jeffrey Fink as EVP of Studio Development.
Fink, who currently runs his own consultancy, held executive home entertainment posts at Miramax/Dimension Films and Artisan Entertainment. He has also served as a board member and CFO of the industry‚Äôs Digital Entertainment Group.¬†Based in Los Angeles, Fink joins Cinram effective April 5.
Cinram CEO Steve Brown said that the replication and distribution company is also planning to introduce a new set of products and technical services for studios and other LA-based clients. Via PR Newswire
CD, DVD and vinyl replicator Furnace MFG is courting independent musicians with a new set of services for disc manufacturing, order processing, and merchandise distribution. The company receives an endorsement from ‚ÄúAmerican Idol‚ÄĚ finalist Anoop Desai, who recently used Furnace‚Äôs Merch Select services to build and host an e-commerce store. Via PR Web
Scottish printer Thomson Litho has been acquired by the Czech Republic‚Äôs GZ Digital Media for an undisclosed sum. Thomson, which claims to be Scotland‚Äôs oldest independently owned printing company, also has a manufacturing presence in the Czech Republic, and has worked with the CD, DVD and vinyl replication company in a partnership agreement since 2003. By PrintWeek
Cinram reported a 15% decrease in revenue for the year ended Dec. 31, 2009, as a result of lower DVD unit sales and selling prices, combined with lower revenue from CDs, wireless and its Ditan business. In leaving behind the year that was¬† ‚ÄĒ along with Warner Home Video‚Äôs decision not to extend its contract with the replicator ‚ÄĒ Cinram CEO Steve Brown says that ‚Äú2010 will hold its challenges, but will also provide us with opportunities.‚ÄĚ Cinram
Sony DADC plans to move all DVD production efforts at its Pitman, NJ plant to its facility in Terre Haute, IN, where a majority of DVD manufacturing is already taking place. The Pitman plant will remain open in other manufacturing capacities, continuing to produce CDs and videogames. By NJ.com
Dow Europe GmbH and Targray Technology International have signed an agreement appointing Targray as the exclusive distributor for the plastics giant‚Äôs optical media-grade polycarbonate in Europe, India, Middle East and Africa. Under the agreement, Canada-headquartered Targray will sell Dow‚Äôs Calibre 1060 DVD and Calibre 1080 DVD to replicators and other customers as of Jan. 1, 2010. Via PR Web