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Genius Products and Sesame Workshop Announce Distribution/Co-Production Agreement

Discussion in 'Sesame Merchandise' started by MuppetDanny, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. MuppetDanny

    MuppetDanny Well-Known Member


    Deal Solidifies Genius Position as a Leader in the Family Entertainment Category

    Exclusive North American Home Video Distribution and Certain Digital Rights of Original Sesame Workshop Programs and Catalog

    Library Includes over 100 Titles

    NEW YORK, NY and SANTA MONICA, CA - February 20, 2007 -- Genius Products, LLC, The Weinstein Company, LLC (TWC) and Sesame Workshop of New York, NY announced today that they have entered into a long-term distribution and co-production agreement. Sesame Workshop, the non-profit educational organization that created Sesame Street, has chosen Genius to be the exclusive North American home entertainment distributor of Sesame Workshop's library of content.

    The announcement was made by Harvey Weinstein Co-Chairman and Co-CEO of The Weinstein Company, Gary E. Knell, President & CEO, Sesame Workshop, Genius CEO Trevor Drinkwater, and Chairman Stephen K. Bannon.

    Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Genius will be the North American home entertainment distributor for Sesame Workshop's library of more than 100 titles. Included are Sesame Street, Sesame Beginnings, and Elmo's World. The agreement also includes Pinky Dinky Doo, which premiered April 2006.

    "This agreement with Genius Products provides the opportunity to strengthen our ability to reach millions of kids in America with one of the fastest growing entertainment content distributors," stated Gary E. Knell, CEO, Sesame Workshop. "Genius Products' experienced management team, robust infrastructure and marketing expertise will ensure that we help children reach their highest potential and we believe by working with the multi-talented team at The Weinstein Company on current properties and future productions, we will continue to deliver the leading children's educational and entertaining content in the industry."

    Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company said, "Sesame Workshop has been a major fixture in homes since it first premiered in 1969 and is one of the most highly regarded and well known brands existing today. We are extremely proud to be partnering with the unbelievably talented team at Sesame Workshop and look forward to collaborating with them both on their current properties and future productions."

    Genius Products will maintain home video and certain digital distribution rights for the term of the agreement. The transaction will automatically increase the Genius Products library to over 100 titles and further solidifies their emerging role as leaders in the growing family market.

    "This partnership enhances our position as an aggressive leader in the family vertical," said Trevor Drinkwater, CEO of Genius Products. "By adding award winning Sesame Street and Pinky Dinky Doo to our current offering of children's entertainment, including beloved children's characters such as Big Bird Elmo, Zoe and Sesame Street's newest member, Abby Cadabby. We now have one of the world's leading portfolios of contemporary, classic and new children's product."

    "We are very excited about this new partnership with Sesame Workshop. It will greatly enhance our position in the family/faith categories and is an overall strong fit for our long-range business goals," said Stephen K. Bannon, Chairman of Genius Products. "We have made tremendous strides in the entertainment industry through the introduction of new brands and content-provider partnerships such as ESPN, Discovery Kids, and RHI Entertainment, across our four leading verticals of Sports, Family/Faith, Lifestyle and Independent Film product segments, and look forward to many additional potential announcements in 2007."

    About Genius Products
    Genius Products, Inc. (OTCBB: GNPI), along with The Weinstein Company Holdings LLC, together owns Genius Products, LLC, a leading independent home-entertainment distribution company that produces, licenses and distributes a valuable library of motion pictures, television programming, family, lifestyle and trend entertainment on DVD and other emerging platforms through its expansive network of retailers throughout the U.S. Genius handles the distribution, marketing and sales for such brands as WWE®, Asia Extreme(TM), Baby Genius®, Dragon Dynasty(TM), Dimension Films, ESPN®, IFC®, NBC News®, Sundance Channel Home Entertainment®, Wellspring(TM), RHI Entertainment and The Weinstein Company®. Genius Products, Inc. is the managing member of Genius Products, LLC, in which it holds a 30% equity interest.

    About Sesame Workshop
    Sesame Workshop is a nonprofit educational organization making a meaningful difference in the lives of children around the world. Founded in 1968, the Workshop changed television forever with the legendary Sesame Street. Today, the Workshop continues to innovate on behalf of children in 120 countries, using its proprietary research methodology to ensure its programs and products are engaging and enriching. Sesame Workshop is behind award-winning programs like Dragon Tales, Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat, Pinky Dinky Doo and groundbreaking multimedia productions in South Africa, Egypt and Russia. As a nonprofit, Sesame Workshop puts the proceeds it receives from sales of its products back into its educational projects for children around the world. Find the Workshop online at www.sesameworkshop.org.

    Safe Harbor Statement
    Except for historical matters contained herein, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements reflect assumptions and involve risks and uncertainties that may affect Genius Products' business, forecasts, projections and prospects, and cause actual results to differ materially from those in these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements relating to the number of anticipated releases, the anticipated effect on our market position, operating margins and stated mission and any other statements relating to such new releases and/or the effect of this transaction on our business that are not historical statements of fact. Actual results could vary for many reasons, including but not limited to, the success of the strategic alliance between The Weinstein Company, Genius Products and Sesame Workshop, including the ability to co-produce titles, our ability to continue to acquire and keep valuable content or expand the distribution partnership, the unpredictability of audience demand, the success of TWC titles at box office and the popularity of our titles on DVD, especially Sesame Workshop, TWC, ESPN, WWE®, RHI Entertainment, and Discovery Kids titles, our ability to perform under the terms of our agreement with our content providers, especially with Sesame Workshop, TWC, WWE®, RHI Entertainment, Discovery Kids and ESPN, our ability to continue to manage our significant growth, the effect of technological change and the availability of alternative forms of entertainment, and our ability to maximize our operating leverage. Other such risks and uncertainties include the matters described in Genius Products, Inc. filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances occurring after the date of this press release.
  2. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt Well-Known Member

  3. KermieBaby47

    KermieBaby47 Well-Known Member

    Huh. So what happened to their deal with Sony Wonder?

    EDIT: Oops, two threads posted within minutes of each other! :D
  4. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets Well-Known Member

    I hope that this includes some of their other past programming, too!:)
  5. a_Mickey_Muppet

    a_Mickey_Muppet Well-Known Member

    wow cool news... didnt see that one coming! but still cool :smirk:

    Ohhh geezz, some members are GONNA ask "whats gonna happen with Sesame Street Old School Vol 2 and 3 etc?" :rolleyes: lol
  6. Tim

    Tim Well-Known Member

    Weinsteins Land Bert, Ernie, Cookie Monster, Et Al

    The Walt Disney Co. may now own the rights to Kermit and Miss Piggy, but Bob and Harvey Weinstein -- Disney's old nemeses -- now own the rights to distribute the shows featuring Elmo, Cookie Monster and Big Bird. The Weinsteins-controlled Genius Products announced Tuesday that it had entered into a long-term distribution and co-production agreement affecting four Sesame Workshop franchises, including Sesame Street, which premiered in 1969. In a statement, Harvey Weinstein said, "I consider this to be one of the most important acquisitions I've ever been involved with, both on an artistic and commercial level." At the time that Disney bought the Jim Henson Co. in 2004, the companies observed that the transaction did not include the Muppets created for the Sesame Workshop.
  7. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Well-Known Member

    I hope they do right by 'em. Maybe we can start seeing season sets? So, 38 seasons multiplied by the usual $30 USD per set equals a miniscule $1140. Pocket change...

    I WISH!

    Still, good news merchandise wise, eh?
  8. The Count

    The Count Moderator Staff Member

    Huh? $1140 for all 38 seasons? That all Kev? Yeah, I got that covered.
    Will consider it as good news merchandise wise if we get a decent action figure line of Sesame Street finally, equalling Palisades once heralded Jim Henson's Muppets line. Full scale and fully detailed, matching the love and spirt of the collection we already have.

    Also... Methinks it's a bit of sadness when the JHC no longer owns two-thirds of the majority of the Muppet Family, two of the bigger and well-known branches.
  9. somethingofafan

    somethingofafan Well-Known Member

    $30 per average set
    *2 half-hours per hour (SS episodes are longer than sitcoms)
    /24 episodes (the norm for sitcom seasons of a certain vintage; earlier shows have more, later ones have fewer)
    *4134 episodes (as of the end of season 37)

    = a third of my gross annual salary.

    Besides, if you did nothing else, including eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom, it would take you six months nonstop to watch all that.

    I don't see full-season releases happening, at least for the more distantly-past seasons.
  10. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Disney didn't buy the Jim Henson Company. Disney only bought the Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House characters and productions.

    I wonder if the current DVD releases will be re-released. Ditto with old releases that were only released by Random House.
  11. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    uhhhhh... That is a major concern, actually. If this means that old school is just a one volume wonder, it is a smack in the face to the fans who pressured and pleaded with SW till they finally got them.

    Sony Wonder has been doing great things with the license, dispite the fact they could have easily doubled or tripled up importing VHS's to DVD format (I.e. they could have put Sing Yourself silly and Sing Yourself Sillier at the Movies on one $10 disk.) If we wind up losing the prospect of more old school related sets, it will be terrible.

    And does this mean SW is running out of money? I thought the TMX Elmo was doing well...
  12. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    Does anybody know when Sony Wonder's contract to release Sesame Street DVDs and CDs ends? I know that the TV Fun Packs were released today, though I didn't see them in stores, and I suspect that Sony Wonder released them. I also hope that this doesn't affect the chances of having new Sesame Street DVDs featuring material with Kermit the Frog. Does anybody know how much controll Sesame Workshop has over it's home video releases?
  13. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    I wonder if all current releases will suddenly go out of print, or if Sony will be allowed to continue releasing certain DVDs up until a certain point, or if the current releases will continue to be released but with different labels and logos on the packaging.
  14. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member

    I don't know the details of this deal, but I can tell you I work for a photo archive here in NYC, and one of our clients used to be Genius. Now that they've gone big time, they no longer use our services...I would've LOVED to have worked on upcoming Sesame DVDs as I work in the DVD division of my company. Not meant to be I guess...
  15. TotallySpiesFan

    TotallySpiesFan Well-Known Member

    I hope Genius would take over rights to various direct-to-video compilations and "Sesame Street Old School" episodes owned by Sesame Workshop.
  16. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt Well-Known Member

  17. ISNorden

    ISNorden Well-Known Member

    In the words of Snuffy: "Oh, dear!"

    I'm praying that this deal with Genius doesn't put the kibosh on any future "Old School" DVD releases. :concern:
  18. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets Well-Known Member

    I'm just going to do like it said and "stay tuned".
  19. anytimepally

    anytimepally Well-Known Member

    I don't think this will happen.. though it is a co-production & distribution deal, the co-production aspects will undoubtedly focus mainly on new productions rather than producing dvds of old ones.. much of the work on the Old School DVDs would have been done by Sesame Workshop itself and this seems to me like a simple change in distributors, inasmuch as the old school DVDs are concerned, and not a complete overhaul of productions, so I would expect that if they were going to release a volume 2 at all, that we'll still see it.. it may take a little longer, as they settle in with the new distributor, but we'll get it eventually :p
  20. minor muppetz

    minor muppetz Well-Known Member

    By saying "The co-production aspects will undoubtedly focus mainly on new productions rather than producing DVDs of ood ones...", are you saying that you think that most of the newer DVDs will be mostly new material, as opposed to having inserts included with a newly-produced linking plot? It seems to me like a lot of the most recent DVD releases from Sony were 100% new material (though I have only seen a handful of releases from the last three years).

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