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British Label "Network" goes into liquidation. (1 Viewer)

brynmill

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Network who since the year dot has released hundreds of classic niche TV Series and films on DVD and bluray, has since last week gone into liquidation. Very sad day for us Brits. Among the great blurays released were almost all of the Gerry/Sylvia Anderson series, and various ITC shows. Also a lot of old classic rare ITV and BBC favourites.

 

BobO'Link

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This has been discussed since Wednesday afternoon in this thread:
 

Capt D McMars

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This has been discussed since Wednesday afternoon in this thread:
Sad Fight GIF by Top Rank Boxing
 

Capt D McMars

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My question is how can a large and well respected company like Network go from healthy and thriving to liquidation in 6 months? Rightly, Tim Beddows passing was a major hit, yet the company had just closed a deal with Iconic Hammer Films and was involoved with many restoration and upcoming releases down the road.
And according to the Screen Daily writeup of November 25th 2022, stated that the Network team was "devastated but committed to continuing his (Beddows) legacy and building upon Networks position of strength as a leader in the UK home entertsinment market".
Could COVID have played a part in this cratering effect? Both Jonathan Lack/Director@Network and Steve Rogers/head of Product R&D@Network were working with Beddows on the companies next 10 years....so what happened? We may never know....

Best laid plans...I just hope that all the hard work and planing can be salvaged, and in behalf of both the future of the catalog archives and for all of us that suport it's existence, be able to continue to be able to benefit...where ever it lands!!

 

Keith Cobby

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We don't know much, the ownership structure following Tim's death, whether it is voluntary liquidation following attempts to sell the company. One thing I had noticed was a slowdown/stop in their new/coming section which I thought was odd. It's a great shame for buyers of British television shows even more than films given how much care they put into the work. It's a similar loss to Twilight Time as you know that there will never be as much excitement for releases again. I think it was Frank Tarzi on a recent Cereal at Midnight podcast who said smaller distributors were vulnerable to continuing falls in disc sales.
 

Capt D McMars

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Yeah, who knows why this happened. It does feel like another nail in the coffin for physical media.
At this point I still think it's too early to really know how this will all play out. I hope that who ever aquires the company can restructure it and get get it back on it's feet...if possible? There is much that we don't know that it's frustrating. I quess we'll have to see how it plays out...
 

cineMANIAC

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I liken this to someone who owns a large physical media library, been collecting for years, passes away and no one is interested in his collection so everything gets dumped into a landfill. Maybe no one at Network shared the same passion as the owner. Didn't something similar happen at Twilight Time? For a boutique label to thrive even after the founder(s) pass on there have to be people at the label who share the same level of commitment and love. Maybe sometimes that's not enough?
 

Capt D McMars

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I liken this to someone who owns a large physical media library, been collecting for years, passes away and no one is interested in his collection so everything gets dumped into a landfill. Maybe no one at Network shared the same passion as the owner. Didn't something similar happen at Twilight Time? For a boutique label to thrive even after the founder(s) pass on there have to be people at the label who share the same level of commitment and love. Maybe sometimes that's not enough?
Not according to the November 25th article ~ did you read it? Unless something enormous occured between Novenber 25th and the end of May 2023, there should not have been a "liquidation" of this company.
Plans were left in place - by Beddows prior to his passing, all managment were on the same page -
Network had long standing agreements with ITV, Fremantle, Studiocanal and the BBC.
2021 had just closed a deal with Hammer Films to form a new Hammer Films LTD., with nothing but clear skies ahead!!!

There is missing content in this story that we're not privy to. More will come to light, I'm sure!!!
 

Carl David

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Unless their finances are really bad then it would seem a wise business decision to make an offer for the company as they look for a buyer.

Any potential buyer could possibly get a bargain because if there are not many offers for the company then the alternative to accepting any offer will be bankruptcy and staff forced to find another job etc.

In that scenario the company could be sold for very little.

But if the company is losing money month after month then any potential buyer might want to make an offer with strict conditions such as buying the rights which Network may have on any films and TV shows but not to take on any staff requesting they be made redundant etc.

If they have a lot of debt nobody will touch them.

At the very least it will make sense for other labels to inquire and find out what the situation is.

If I was an owner of a label such as Kino Lorber or Criterion I would be sniffing around now and trying to see if there is a potential bargain to be made.

The potential to absorb the company would significantly strengthen any label and could make them not only a major market player but could also allow them to get a cushion that will enable any label to weather any potential storms on the horizon in the market.
 

Capt D McMars

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Unless their finances are really bad then it would seem a wise business decision to make an offer for the company as they look for a buyer.

Any potential buyer could possibly get a bargain because if there are not many offers for the company then the alternative to accepting any offer will be bankruptcy and staff forced to find another job etc.

In that scenario the company could be sold for very little.

But if the company is losing money month after month then any potential buyer might want to make an offer with strict conditions such as buying the rights which Network may have on any films and TV shows but not to take on any staff requesting they be made redundant etc.

If they have a lot of debt nobody will touch them.

At the very least it will make sense for other labels to inquire and find out what the situation is.

If I was an owner of a label such as Kino Lorber or Criterion I would be sniffing around now and trying to see if there is a potential bargain to be made.

The potential to absorb the company would significantly strengthen any label and could make them not only a major market player but could also allow them to get a cushion that will enable any label to weather any potential storms on the horizon in the market.
Agreed, maybe a more Euro based company like Via Vision/Imprint, Powerhouse/Indicator or Arrow? They work with many of the entities that Network interacted with, and have a lot in common with Network. Not to mention a closer shared history of the more obscure TV series as an example.
 

jayembee

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I liken this to someone who owns a large physical media library, been collecting for years, passes away and no one is interested in his collection so everything gets dumped into a landfill. Maybe no one at Network shared the same passion as the owner. Didn't something similar happen at Twilight Time? For a boutique label to thrive even after the founder(s) pass on there have to be people at the label who share the same level of commitment and love. Maybe sometimes that's not enough?

Pretty much. Nick Redman was the heart and soul of Twilight Time. And I think Julie Kirgo had already left -- or had already been making plans to leave -- by the time of Nick's passing. Brian Jamieson probably didn't want to continue the label by himself. But there was also the point -- I think mentioned by Nick at some point -- that TT was a special project that he and Brian had in mind to release favored titles that appeared to be abandoned by the studios, and it wasn't something they envisioned as running for more than a few years (it ended up running a touch more than eight years, not counting the current iteration of the label).

One of the other factors though, was sales. Nick & Brian were perfectly happy to sell enough copies of each title to finance the licensing of more titles. When they started having sales at Screen Archives, they ended up in a downward spiral where more and more customers would just wait for the sales. Pre-order sales dropped to where it probably wasn't economical to continue, especially with Julie's leaving and Nick's passing.
 

Carl David

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Agreed, maybe a more Euro based company like Via Vision/Imprint, Powerhouse/Indicator or Arrow? They work with many of the entities that Network interacted with, and have a lot in common with Network. Not to mention a closer shared history of the more obscure TV series as an example.

Would probably make more sense for a European label, yes.

Arrow and Indicator could definitely benefit from any potential deal.

But it is hard to know without having access to Network's finances.

The fact that posters mentioned Network recently bought the rights to Hammer horror does raise questions.

If they could afford to purchase the rights then how have they gone to the brink of bankruptcy?

Did they take out a huge loan to buy the rights?
 

Capt D McMars

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Would probably make more sense for a European label, yes.

Arrow and Indicator could definitely benefit from any potential deal.

But it is hard to know without having access to Network's finances.

The fact that posters mentioned Network recently bought the rights to Hammer horror does raise questions.

If they could afford to purchase the rights then how have they gone to the brink of bankruptcy?

Did they take out a huge loan to buy the rights?
Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but the deal with Hammer seemed more like a teaming rather than a rights purchase?
"In 2021, Network closed a deal with iconic UK horror label Hammer Films to form Hammer Studios, managing Hammer’s interests and library of content such as 2012’s The Woman In Black and 1958’s Dracula, as well as rebooting its production arm with Joe Stephenson’s upcoming Doctor Jekyll, starring Eddie Izzard."
...a mutual interaction rather than a one sided over reach issue?
 
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Capt D McMars

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Pretty much. Nick Redman was the heart and soul of Twilight Time. And I think Julie Kirgo had already left -- or had already been making plans to leave -- by the time of Nick's passing. Brian Jamieson probably didn't want to continue the label by himself. But there was also the point -- I think mentioned by Nick at some point -- that TT was a special project that he and Brian had in mind to release favored titles that appeared to be abandoned by the studios, and it wasn't something they envisioned as running for more than a few years (it ended up running a touch more than eight years, not counting the current iteration of the label).

One of the other factors though, was sales. Nick & Brian were perfectly happy to sell enough copies of each title to finance the licensing of more titles. When they started having sales at Screen Archives, they ended up in a downward spiral where more and more customers would just wait for the sales. Pre-order sales dropped to where it probably wasn't economical to continue, especially with Julie's leaving and Nick's passing.
Twilight time feels more like Olive Films but the leader of the band dies. Again, until more information comes to light, and we can gleen a fuller picture of what happened in that 6 months period that changed Everything. It's a wake and waiting game to find out, as Paul Harvey used to say...the rest of the story!!!
 

Tom St Jones

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I believe Via Vision/Imprint out of Australia is the closest thing we have to another "Network" (outside North America, and esp. for those of us Anglophiles/Ozophiles/the like).. Unfortnately, they're just not very widely available outside Australasia & also have yet to really get into releasing classic television, beyond certain cult/genre titles.
 

Capt D McMars

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I believe Via Vision/Imprint out of Australia is the closest thing we have to another "Network" (outside North America, and esp. for those of us Anglophiles/Ozophiles/the like).. Unfortnately, they're just not very widely available outside Australasia & also have yet to really get into releasing classic television, beyond certain cult/genre titles.
Agreed, and that reluctance could easily be overcome by the acquisition of Network. They've (Network) already done the hard work, the inventory already exists. As long as the licensing agreements go along with the sale.
For someone like Imprint it could be a WinWin...I quess we'll see? I'm just hoping that Network can be salvaged in some form.
 

Capt D McMars

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Pretty much. Nick Redman was the heart and soul of Twilight Time. And I think Julie Kirgo had already left -- or had already been making plans to leave -- by the time of Nick's passing. Brian Jamieson probably didn't want to continue the label by himself. But there was also the point -- I think mentioned by Nick at some point -- that TT was a special project that he and Brian had in mind to release favored titles that appeared to be abandoned by the studios, and it wasn't something they envisioned as running for more than a few years (it ended up running a touch more than eight years, not counting the current iteration of the label).

One of the other factors though, was sales. Nick & Brian were perfectly happy to sell enough copies of each title to finance the licensing of more titles. When they started having sales at Screen Archives, they ended up in a downward spiral where more and more customers would just wait for the sales. Pre-order sales dropped to where it probably wasn't economical to continue, especially with Julie's leaving and Nick's passing.
The biggest difference I noted was that in an earlier press release connected to Beddows passing, make clear the difference between Twilight Time and Network. Other than TT focused on film and Network taking a wider view (Film, TV, Music). Added to that your comment on the overall view from TT is that it "was that TT was a special project that he and Brian had in mind to release favored titles that appeared to be abandoned by the studios, and it wasn't something they envisioned as running for more than a few years (it ended up running a touch more than eight years, not counting the current iteration of the label)."
Where as Network was moving forward with even more deals and arrangements, after celebrating thier 25th anniversary, were actively planning on the next 10 years...so what happened?
 

Douglas R

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There have been indications of Network’s financial problems for some time. Looking at their financial statements from recent years (publicly freely available on the UK Government Companies House website), the level of borrowing has frequently been raised in the annual report and accounts as a matter of concern. A typical entry says the nature of the business means that there is considerable variation in timing and amount of cash inflows and that uncertainty on loan repayments may cast doubt on the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern, although that sort of comment does not appear on the most recent statement. I suspect that one or more large loans were called in which Network could not meet.
 

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