Here's an update on their program coutesy of Home Media Magazine
With a film catalog the envy of most studios, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. recently bowed an Internet-based platform that allows retailers to order one-off DVDs of select classic titles never before released at retail.
Spearheaded by Eric Doctorow, GM of MGM Home Entertainment Worldwide, the manufacturing-on-demand format is designed to help retailers virtually stock hundreds of rare movies without encroaching on valuable shelf-space during tough economic times.
Doctorow is the longest-serving studio chief in the home entertainment market. He became president of worldwide video for Paramount Pictures in 1994 and has held numerous senior executive positions. He has been at his current post at MGM for three years.
Home Media Magazine talked to Doctorow shortly after the studio filed a 30-day pre-packaged bankruptcy to find out how the venerable studio plans to use the Internet to market its more obscure films.
HM: How important is the manufacturing-on-demand option to retailers?
Doctorow: This is one of those classic win-win-win situations. It’s a win for the consumer because movie titles and TV shows we normally would not have brought to retail, due to their niche appeal, are now available for purchase. Retailers these days are much more selective about what they are carrying, what they support and what they merchandise. These MOD selections are titles we felt wouldn’t get the proper support from retail and get the distribution pattern we would like for a traditional release. For the studio, we get to unlock incremental value and release pictures that we otherwise would not have been able to economically.
HM: How does the Internet help MGM sell classic movies?
Doctorow: The idea is that you can make content available to consumers that might normally be a niche title. But a niche title, by definition, doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of people who want to buy it. You just don’t know where these consumers are. This program makes these titles available to a lot of people without mandating a normal demographic retail distribution setting. We’re going to try to release 15 to 20 titles a month, including a combination of movies and TV shows.
HM: How does this help the retailer?
Doctorow: We are giving the retailer, through their website, a way of being able to offer product to the consumer without having to make an inventory investment in that product. The content is effectively custom-manufactured, packaged and shipped. We make the discs one at a time based on actual orders, which are shipped within 48 hours. This way the retailer doesn’t have to spend time and resources tracking down a title through third-party distributors such as Ingram, Baker & Taylor, etc. It’s a timely consumer process when retail doesn’t actually have to have the inventory in their physical possession. Also, we don’t have to worry about returns on the titles.
HM: Would MGM ever apply this strategy to newer titles?
Doctorow: The MOD business model is a complement or supplement to our normal packaged-media retail business. I don’t envision a time when we would do this on major new releases. This is an opportunity for us to unlock value from deep libraries.
HM: Will there be a digital or Blu-ray Disc component in the future?
Doctorow: Maybe in the future, but right now this is a DVD play only. We’re walking before we run. We’ve been doing MOD with Amazon’s CreateSpace on-demand disc production (involving about 50 MGM titles) for about the past 10 months. Based on the success we had with CreateSpace, we realized that this was good business model if we put it together correctly. Those 50 titles will port over to our Allied deal, and all the titles that we bring out through Amazon will be available through this deal. It’s going to be a level playing field.
HM: What does MOD partner Allied Vaughn bring to the equation?
Doctorow: We will offer direct access to retailers we deal with on a regular basis. Allied Vaughn will act as a third-party provider to retailers who want to sign up but aren’t traditional customers of ours. The company is headquartered in Minneapolis, and their disc manufacturing facility is in Chicago.