BBC Worldwide, the BBC’s commercial arm, has announced that it now fully owns the DVD distributor 2|entertain, the company that has for six years been closely associated with Doctor Who DVDs.
The company’s fate had been uncertain since BBC Worldwide’s partner, Woolworth, went into administration in late 2008.
The CEO of BBC Worldwide, John Smith, said: “I am pleased that we have finally concluded these negotiations, and have secured the future of 2|entertain. This comes as good news for a variety of stakeholders.
“2|entertain’s retail partners know it is now backed by a stable owner. Consumers can continue to enjoy BBC content on DVD in their own homes. The independent production sector already works closely with 2|entertain. And [BBC] licence fee payers will continue to benefit from 2|entertain’s contribution to BBC Worldwide, which helped us return a total of £153 million to the BBC in the last financial year.”
The CEO of 2|entertain and managing director of BBC Worldwide Home Entertainment, Paul Dempsey, added: “The 2|entertain business has not been distracted by the events of the past 18 months, continuing to deliver impressive results. Under full BBC Worldwide ownership, it now looks forward to a more settled period and playing an important role in BBC Worldwide’s future plans.
2|entertain began life in September 2004 as a 60:40 joint venture with Woolworths. It publishes popular DVD titles such as Gavin & Stacey, Doctor Who, Beaufitul People, Top Gear and the hit seventies comedy series Fawlty Towers, and distributes products in more than 60 territories worldwide, including North America, Australia and Japan.
“The global appeal of natural history series Planet Earth saw the company sell almost seven million units of the title globally, becoming the biggest-selling factual HD DVD in the US along the way,” says BBC Worldwide.
Its statement continues: “The agreed price of £17m for the purchase of an outstanding 40% minority stake in 2|entertain has been funded from existing cash at BBC Worldwide, which has no access to licence fee income. This consideration represents the fair value of the stake as agreed between BBC Worldwide and the administrators of Woolworths, following the insolvency of Woolworths and the subsequent exercise by BBC Worldwide of its right to acquire the outstanding shares in 2|entertain.”
2| entertain sold 14.6 million DVDs in 2009, which equates to 28 sold every minute.