Universal Int'l teams with Paramount Int'l

Five-year deal will see PHEI distribute UPIE product in Spain

MADRID -- Universal Pictures International Entertainment (UPIE) and Paramount Home Entertainment International (PHEI) announced a five-year agreement that will see Paramount distribute the entire Universal home entertainment product slate in Spain, UPIE President Eddie Cunningham and PHEI Worldwide President Dennis Maguire announced Wednesday.

The agreement, which starts January 2011, covers all film and TV products from Universal Pictures and its partners, as well as the operations, finance, sales and marketing functions for all UPIE product distributed in the territory.

The first titles to be released under the new arrangement include "Despicable Me" and "Get Him to the Greek."

"Despite challenges in the home entertainment market in recent years, Spain remains an incredibly important territory for us," Cunningham said. "We are keen to create a customer-focused distribution agreement with PHEI in order to invigorate growth potential in the local home entertainment market."

Spain has proved particularly challenging to the home entertainment market, clocking some 20% of all illegal downloads worldwide. Translated to money, the film industry lost some 2.4 billion euros due to pirating, while the music industry missed out on 2.3 billion euros in sales thanks to illegal downloads last year, according to an IDC consulting firm study.

"We are pleased to launch this distribution agreement with UPIE. We have an extremely efficient organization in place in Spain that will be able to seamlessly integrate the addition of Universal's home entertainment products," Maguire said. "Universal has a diverse array of quality content that complements our existing portfolio, allowing our Paramount Spain team a wider breadth of opportunity in the marketplace."