Warner Int'l launches vid unit


Warner Music International announced Tuesday the launch of a new video content division, Warner Music Entertainment, aimed at fully exploiting its artists' material across DVD, television, mobile and the Internet.

The new unit will be created through the acquisition of the Rights Co., a U.K. independent DVD and digital production business, which will be merged with WMI's existing DVD sales, marketing and distribution unit, Warner Vision.

The Rights Co. founder and CEO Conrad Withey will head up Warner Music Entertainment as president. Withey, formerly director of home entertainment and acquisitions at Momentum Pictures U.K., reports to John Reid, WMI's vice chairman of music, marketing and content.

Based in London, the new division also will develop new music-related programming formats, acquire content rights from third-party producers and generate programming opportunities around Warner Music's catalog.

The Rights Co.'s existing library of assets, including a host of music, comedy, sport and special-interest properties, also will transfer to the new venture.

"The explosion of new distribution platforms has created an unprecedented opportunity for us to significantly enhance the menu of multimedia content we deliver," said Patrick Vien, CEO of Warner Music International. "This acquisition supports the ongoing transformation of our organization by strengthening our capacity to create rich video material around our core recorded music business as well as allowing us to explore new formats in the pop-culture space."

Separately, Warner Vision said that senior vp Frank Brunger has been let go. Following the departure this year of longtime president Ray Still — now a consultant with Universal Music — Brunger had been the most senior executive at Warner Vision in the U.K.