|Public limited company|
|Industry||Video and Music Publishing|
|Founded||1980 (As BBC Video)
1984 (As Video Collection International)
2006 (As 2 Entertain)
2012 (As BBC DVD)
Chief Executive Officer
2 Entertain is a British video and music publisher formed through the merger of BBC Video and Video Collection International in 2006. Under CEO Richard Green and MD Stuart Snaith, the company operated as a highly successful joint venture between BBC Worldwide and the Woolworths Group until BBC bought out Woolworths' share following the latter's administration in 2008.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (August 2015)|
BBC Video was established in 1980 as a division of BBC Enterprises (later BBC Worldwide) with John Ross Barnard as head.
At launch, the BBC had no agreement with British talent unions such as Equity or the Musician's Union (MU), so BBC Video was limited in the television programming it could release. Initially videocassette and laser-disc releases were either programmes with no Equity or MU involvement, such as natural history and other documentaries, or material licensed from third parties, including feature films such as High Noon and the first video release of Deep Purple's California Jam concert.
For the first few years, videos were produced on both VHS and Beta-max formats. The BBC also worked with Philips on early Laser-disc releases, including a notable ornithology disc called British Garden Birds, presented by David Attenborough. This disc was published in 1982 and included digital data in the form of teletext, which could be read by any suitably-equipped television. This pioneering use of a data channel on a consumer video led directly to the development of the BBC Domesday Project in 1984–1986. Since videos could have stereo soundtracks, BBC Video produced stereophonic versions of many programmes that had been broadcast in mono. These included The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy (although release was delayed due to the lack of an Equity agreement) and the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer.
The label established itself in 1984. The label grew significantly from £13 million turnover in 1989 to nearly £39 million in 1994. In 1991, BBC Video was the number 1 video label in the UK when more pre-recorded videotapes were sold by value and units than any other company, including all of the Hollywood studios.
BBC Video was well known for its releases of Fawlty Towers, Doctor Who, and Monty Python's Flying Circus, as well as the children's programs Postman Pat, Fireman Sam and Pingu. Titles released in the United Kingdom were released through 3M and the company itself, while in North America titles were released through CBS-Fox (from the 1980s–1990s, originally through the children's subsidiary Playhouse Video for Doctor Who until unedited releases began) and more recently Warner Home Video (2000–present) and in Australia through Roadshow Entertainment and ABC Video/DVD.
Video Collection International
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (August 2015)|
Video Collection International was a video company based in the UK. It was formed in 1984 and established in 1985. Originally part of the Prestwich Group, based in New Southgate, London, the company was subject to a management buyout headed by Steve Ayres CEO and Paddy Toomey (ex Woolworths) as MD. The vision of 'Sell Through Video' was born with the strong Woolworths association driving the retail sales.
With these individuals at the helm, the company expanded rapidly, securing the market lead in retail video sales throughout the mid to late 1980s and into the early to mid-1990s.
The company mainly served as a home video label for ITV television programmes which later launched the Central Video, LWT Video, Granada Media, Thames Video, and Channel 4 Video labels in the process. In the early 1990s, it launched the Cinema Club label, which mainly consisted of re-releases of films from the late 1960s/early 1970s.
After suffering financial losses in 1995, the company changed its name to VCI and the Central Video label was discontinued. The Cinema Club label was discontinued in 1999 and was re-established under the FilmFour name, though the Cinema Club logo would still be used for occasional budgeted titles after that. In 1998, FilmFour began releasing DVDs. The company split into two arms; publishing (VCI) based in Dean Street, London, and VCI Distribution, which also handled third party distribution for 'labels' outside its own stable, based in Watford and the old premises in New Southgate.
Soon after, Thames Video was discontinued and the Granada Media label was introduced and would soon appear on most VCI titles, whereas Channel 4 Video (or also called 4 DVD) became a separate company.
Following the formation of ITV plc in 2004, the Granada Ventures division was created. In 2006, Granada Ventures launched the ITV DVD label in place of Granada, LWT London, this was subsequently rebranded in 2010 as ITV Studios Home Entertainment. VCI, by now, had become part of the Woolworths Group. BBC Worldwide and Woolworths Group merged VCI with BBC Video to create 2 Entertain Video, part of their new joint venture company 2 Entertain.
VCI are perhaps most well known as the main home video distributor for the iconic children's TV programme Thomas and Friends.
Some confusion often arose between this UK-based company, and the Tulsa, Oklahoma-based home video label VCI Entertainment, founded in 1976 by Bill Blair. At the height of the UK label's popularity, the U.S.-based label rebranded themselves as United Home Video; however, they returned to the VCI name in the mid-'90's and have retained it ever since.
VCI's parent company, the Woolworths Group, entered into administration in 2008. At the time of Woolworth's collapse, BBC Worldwide owned 60% of 2 Entertain and Woolworths' owned the remaining 40%. On 26 November 2008, BBC Worldwide revealed that it was in talks to buy the remaining 40% in the company. On 21 December 2008, The Daily Telegraph reported that the BBC had offered £40 million for the 40% stake in 2 Entertain and that the board of Woolworths agreed that BBC Worldwide should negotiate on the purchase direct with its bankers, GMAC and Burdale, rather than through the board. However The Daily Telegraph noted that the BBC had offered £110m for the 40% stake a month earlier. On 4 March 2010, BBC Worldwide announced that they had bought the remainder of the company for £17 million.
2 Entertain has been fully integrated into BBC Worldwide's consumer products division and now operates solely as a publishing label for non-BBC releases, as the BBC logo is used for BBC releases.
In April 2010, Banana Split Productions, part of the business, was sold to its Managing Director Laura Traill.
- "Contact us". 2 Entertain. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- "About Us". Vcientertainment.com. Retrieved 2015-08-23.
- "2 entertain Awarded Royal Seal of Success" (PDF). 2 entertain. 21 April 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009.[dead link]
- Mark Sweney (2008-11-26). "Hope for BBC-Woolworths as 2entertain avoids administration | Media". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 2015-08-23.
- "Woolworths suspends share trading". BBC News. 26 November 2008. Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. Retrieved 26 November 2008.
- "Woolies' banks meet BBC over publishing arm". Telegraph. 2008-12-21. Retrieved 2015-08-23.
- "BBC Worldwide buys remainder of DVD firm 2Entertain". BBC News. 2010-03-04. Retrieved 2015-08-23.
- "Welcome". 2entertain. Retrieved 2015-08-23.