Warner Music International is ramping up its activities in the video content field through the acquisition of the Rights Company, a U.K.-based specialist DVD and digital production business.
The deal, unveiled today (Nov. 28), will see the Rights Company incorporated with Warner Vision, WMI’s existing commercial video division, to form a new division called Warner Music Entertainment.
The new London-based unit will be tasked with creating new music-related programming formats, acquiring content rights from third party producers and generating program opportunities around WMI’s catalog. The Rights Company’s existing library of assets, including music, comedy, sport and special interest properties, will transfer to the new venture.
“What we’re looking to do is setting up so we can maximise the opportunities that we have, with our artist in some cases or simply in the pop culture world where music can be integrated to create programming across the growing number of platforms,” WMI CEO Patrick Vien tells Billboard.biz.
Vien declined to disclose financial terms of the deal. “It is a significant acquisition,” he notes. “I think strategically, it holds interesting promise. It’s an important strategic move.”
Conrad Withey, founder and CEO of the Rights Company, becomes president, Warner Music Entertainment. He reports to John Reid, WMI vice chairman, music, marketing and content.
In a statement, Withey said: “We believe that combining music expertise with a wealth of experience in developing and producing new formats creates a powerful proposition that will deliver benefits to artists and consumers alike.”
Prior to establishing the Rights Company in 2003, Withey held such roles as director of programming at Polygram Video, VP of Visual Programming at Universal Pictures and U.K. director of home entertainment and acquisitions at Momentum Pictures.