Facing the continued decline of physical disc sales, Universal and Warner Bros. are pooling their DVD distribution resources as part of a major new deal.

Courtesy of Variety, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment have entered into a pact to form a new joint venture to distribute DVDs in North America for new releases, library titles and TV content for up to 10 years.

The companies expect the proposed JV to be operational by the first quarter of 2021 and will be headed up by longtime Universal exec Eddie Cunningham, who is currently president of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The moves come amid the long, slow decline of physical disc sales — which show no signs of reversing — and the ascendancy of streaming video. Sales of DVDs in the U.S. fell 9.4% in 2019, to $5.9 billion, down from about $9 billion in the U.S. in 2011, according to trade group DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

The proposed JV between UPHE and WBHE is subject to regulatory approval from the U.S. Justice Department.

While they intend to merge DVD distribution operations, under the proposed structure, the studios will continue to operate their digital distribution businesses independently — and retain content and consumer marketing for both physical and digital entertainment products.

What do you make of Universal and Warner Bros. joining forces in the face of sinking disc sales? Do you think it’s the right move for the studios? Sound off in the comments below and let me know your thoughts!


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