CP Digital to grow DVD shop base


MOSCOW -- CP Digital, the DVD sales and distribution wing of Russian production shingle Central Partnership plans to invest up to $4 million in growing a network of multimedia shops in Moscow in the coming year, the company said Tuesday.

CP Digital is re-branding and expanding its network of 12 existing Imperiya DVD shops in Moscow to increase a market share -- currently about 18%-20% of Russia's legal DVD sales.

Central Partnership titles -- and those of partners including top distributor Paradise and television channels RTR, NTV and CTC -- have been sold through Imperial DVD outlets since 2000, which until last year consisted of just four shops.

The company increased its outlets to 12 this year and plans to add a further 15 by the end of 2008 as part of an investment and re-branding program of between $2 million and $4 million.

The program should help CP Digital increase its sales of DVDs and related new media products, including CDs, by between 30% and 40% a year, Norair Guzalyan, CP Digital general director said.

"By the end of the year, we want to completely change our network of shops -- and a new name is currently under consideration. By the end of next year, we plan to open no fewer than 15 shops in Moscow," Guzalyan said.

He added that the network will feature large and small shops of either 80 square meters or 150 square meters and that CP Digital's investment could go above $4 million depending on the quality and location of sales space for new outlets.

The company plans to continue to market films on DVD made by Central Partnership and other titles from its 1,500 strong inventory and is in talks with other DVD content owners to expand the range of titles it offers.

Current titles include such Hollywood blockbusters as "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" and Russian hits like "Wolfhound" and "Paragraph 78."

It also will offer a range of music CDs, computer games and other new media content.

CP Digital's plans are part of Central Partnership's wider growth strategy signaled earlier this year when it embarked on corporate restructuring it billed as a bid to take better advantage of the country's booming film, distribution and TV market.