Koch Entertainment (now Entertainment One) was a North American film, television, & music distribution company. It was purchased by E1 Entertainment in 2005 and as of 2009 now operates under the name Entertainment One.
The company began in 1975 as part of Koch International originally of Tirol, later of Munich. Founded by Tirolean banker Franz Koch, Koch was an independent Austrian record label, recording studio and music distribution company that specialized in German Folk Music and later popular classical music recordings. For over 20 years, the international arm of the company operated under the name Koch Entertainment, a music, film, and television distribution company that was started in 1986 by Franz's son Michael in New York. In 1988 the parent Austrian company Koch acquired Schwann Records from Schwann Verlag.
By 1991, Koch had become one of the first national independent distributors of domestic labels in the U.S. by offering an alternative to the traditional system of regional independent distribution or national major label distribution. In 1992, Koch was ranked #315 on Inc. Magazine’s list of America’s 500 fastest-growing private companies, and has since grown into an entertainment conglomerate. It acquired the specialist German label Schwann, Koch expanded into the Canadian market in 1995 by forming the Toronto-based Koch Entertainment Canada. In 1996 Koch International took over Discover, a budget label which had been set up by conductor Alexander Rahbari to challenge the dominance in the budget classical sector of Naxos. The new Koch Discover International was to be jointly controlled by Franz Koch and Rahbari. The Austrian parent Koch divested Schwann to Deutsche Grammophone's parent Universal Music GMbH in 2002.
It was announced in 2005 that Koch was acquired by Canadian company Entertainment One (eOne) (initially "Records on Wheels, then "ROW Entertainment Income Fund", next "Entertainment One Income Fund", afterwards eOne, & finally "E1 Entertainment" before returning to eOne) for a purchase price of approximately $80 million. As of January 2009, Koch has been rebranded under the name Entertainment One.
- Encyclopedia of recorded sound - Volume 1 - Page 583 Frank W. Hoffmann, Howard Ferstler - 2005 "KOCH INTERNATIONAL (LABEL) Founded in 1986 by Franz Koch, Koch is the largest independent recording distributor in the U.S. and Canada, and its Koch Entertainment unit is also an important record producer. With headquarters in New ..."
- Musical opinion - Volume 115 Page 396 1992 "At the same time Koch bought the highly respected specialist label Schwann, based in Dusseldorf, to add to distribution arms in Switzerland and "
- Michael Koch interview in Billboard Jul 4, 1992
- Michael Koch interview Billboard Mar 15, 1997
- BBC music magazine - Volumes 4 à 5 - Page 57 1996 "Koch International has taken over Discover, the budget label which was set up by conductor Alexander Rahbari to challenge Naxos. Koch Discover International will be jointly controlled by Franz Koch, chairman of Koch, and Rahbari. Future releases will include deletions from the main catalogue of Munich-based Koch Schwann as well as original material.