Paramount Home Media Distribution
Paramount Communications (1989-1994)
Paramount Home Media Distribution (PHMD, formerly Paramount Home Entertainment, Paramount Home Video and Paramount Video) is the home video distribution division of Paramount Pictures (a subsidiary of Viacom, Inc.) dealing with home video founded in late 1975.
PHMD distributes most of the programming assets owned by Viacom parent National Amusements. This not only includes films by Paramount Pictures themselves, but also the back catalog of DreamWorks (including releases made prior to the Viacom acquisition, and those distributed by Paramount, among other acquisitions), shows from MTV Networks, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and BET Networks, and, through CBS Home Entertainment, most of the holdings of Viacom sister company CBS Corporation – this includes the libraries of CBS Television Studios (including predecessor companies like Paramount Television), CBS Theatrical Films (and predecessor companies like Cinema Center Films), and Showtime Entertainment.
PHMD also had agreements with DreamWorks Animation, PBS, Bagdasarian Productions, and Hasbro for DVD/Blu-ray distribution of various programs that the former aired, and several films and TV series based on franchises owned by the latter. By-products of the latter deal are the series of films based on the Transformers toy line, and the 2009 film based on the G.I. Joe toy line, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (which has a sequel, G.I. Joe Retaliation).
In 1993, Paramount launched a deal with fast food restaurant McDonald's to release several of its movies at participating restaurants. Charlotte's Web and The Addams Family were two of the films available.
Films from Republic Pictures, Paramount's other subsidiary, are not distributed on video and DVD by PHE (with some exceptions), but are distributed on video and DVD by Olive Films. Prior to 2012, these films were distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment, which was acquired from previous rights holder Artisan Entertainment (which merged with Lionsgate in 2003). This deal later expanded to include some of Paramount's own post-1949 films, typically lesser-known or lesser-performing titles. Also, as a result of this deal, Lionsgate has released in 2007 "triple features" of their own library of films on DVD using the package design originated by Paramount. With Republic's folding, Lionsgate's duty has been transferred to Olive.
PHMD have developed a trademark by giving their Special Edition/Director's Cut editions different names rather than the usual "Special Edition," or "Director's Edition". Paramount Home Entertainment gives them different names such as Grease: The Rockin' Rydell Edition, Beavis & Butthead Do America: The Edition That Doesn't Suck and Airplane!: The "Don't Call Me Shirley" Edition.
Internationally, PHMD holds the DVD rights to several shows on HBO. PHE also distributes in Germany the DVD releases of films distributed theatrically by Prokino Filmverleih.
As Paramount Home Video, the company once distributed several Miramax releases on video – the video rights to some of these films (such as Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth) are still owned by Paramount.
In 2008, PHMD launched a direct-to-video label, Paramount Famous Productions (with the "Famous" part of the name a throwback to the days when the company was called Famous Players).
In October 2012, PHMD and Warner Home Video signed a distribution deal, allowing Warner to gain U.S. and Canadian DVD, Blu-ray, UltraViolet, Flixster, and DVD-manufacturing-on-demand distribution rights to over 600 Paramount titles. The deal came into effect as of January 1, 2013.
In February 2015, Paramount signed a distribution agreement with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, whereby the latter will distribute the former's titles overseas, particularly the territories where Paramount holds an office. The deal is expected to begin on July 1, 2015 in the UK.
HD DVD and Blu-ray support
Paramount brands the majority of its HD content under the label 'Paramount High Definition' which is seen both on the title box cover and as an in-movie opening. Films from Paramount subsidiaries such as Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films as well as from former sister studio DreamWorks SKG use no special branding, Paramount Vantage (another subsidiary) releases only select titles under the Paramount High Definition banner such as Babel.
In October 2005, Paramount announced that it would be supporting the HD video format Blu-ray Disc in addition to rival format HD DVD, becoming the first studio to release on both formats. Its first four HD DVD releases came in July 2006, and it released four titles on Blu-ray two months later. In August 2007, Paramount (along with DreamWorks SKG and DreamWorks Animation) announced their exclusive support for HD DVD. However, when other studios eventually dropped HD DVD and players for the technology stopped being manufactured, Paramount switched to Blu-ray. In May 2008, it released 3 titles on Blu-ray and continues to release its high-definition discs in that format exclusively. However, they are not a member of the Blu-ray Disc Association.
- During this period, two companies named Viacom have owned Paramount. The original Viacom owned the studio until 2006, when the new Viacom (spun off from the old one, which was renamed CBS Corporation) assumed ownership of Paramount, along with MTV Networks and BET Networks.)
- Warner Bros & Paramount Announce Home Media Distribution Deal Deadline.com (October 4, 2012).
- "Paramount says yes to both Blu-ray and HD DVD – Engadget". Engadget. Retrieved January 7, 2010.
- "Historical HD DVD Release Dates | High Def Digest". Hddvd.highdefdigest.com. Retrieved January 7, 2010.
- "Historical Blu-ray Release Dates | High Def Digest". Bluray.highdefdigest.com. Retrieved January 7, 2010.
- Barnes, Brooks (August 21, 2007). "Two Studios to Support HD DVD Over Rival". New York Times. Retrieved August 21, 2007.
- "Blu-ray releases on May 20, 2008 – Engadget HD". Engadget HD. Retrieved January 7, 2010.