Fox out of Korea retail DVD game


SEOUL -- Twentieth Century Fox Home Video has become the latest foreign major pulling out of Korea's anemic DVD retail market.

Beginning Dec. 1, Fox began licensing retail marketing and distribution of its titles through local DVD distributor Bitwin Co.

About four people at Fox Korea will lose their jobs due to the deal.

A spokesman said that Fox will continue to be responsible for DVD rentals in Korea (a small market, but about equal in size to retail), though he declined comment on the reason for the split between retail and rental, saying only "It's kind of a political issue."

Although Korea's rental market has been in sharp decline for several years now, retail sales have never filled that void, as the rapid adoption of broadband Internet instead led many people to switch to online piracy.

Bitwin has been Fox's local distributor in 2000, and also has distributed for MGM, Columbia Tristar and several local movie companies.

Paramount moved its home video distribution to CJ Entertainment in June, and Universal licensed its contents to Sony Pictures in April. Sony and Buena Vista Home Video also merged their operations in November.