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Universal City, California - Columbia TriStar Home Video (CTHV) and Universal Studios Home Video (USHV) today jointly announced the signing of a DVD distribution agreement outside North America for USHV DVD product.

The agreement between USHV and CTHV represents a milestone in the international expansion of DVD. CTHV, the first major Hollywood studio to release films on the DVD format outside the United States (ie, in Europe, Latin America and Japan), is joined by USHV as one of the few major studios releasing its movies on a consistent basis internationally.

"Without the early commitment of CTHV, USHV, and Warner Home Video, the home video industry in North America would not be experiencing the exponential growth of this new exciting format. We hope that the USHV/CTHV announcement will foreshadow the entry of other studios into the international market as quickly as possible," said Benjamin S. Feingold, president of CTHV.

"The availability of new films from Universal and one of the best catalogs in our industry will stimulate future sales of DVD machines and software purchases for rental and sale," added Mr Feingold.

"We are happy to be partnering with CTHV as both companies share a high level of commitment to the format. We think this arrangement will significantly facilitate the rapid growth of the format outside North America," added Bill Clark, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Universal Studios Home Video. "Whenever possible, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Panasonic) will continue to provide worldwide authoring, compression, mastering and replication services for Universal titles."

Both USHV and CTHV have agreed that wherever possible, new release product will be day and date with VHS rental and VHS direct-to-sell through and that catalog titles will be released at the earliest possible moment to build a successful international DVD business.

The agreement includes such DVD titles as the recent theatrical hits "Patch Adams" and "Shakespeare in Love", as well as other prominent Universal titles, such as "Out of Sight", "Apollo 13", "Daylight", "Liar Liar", "The Nutty Professor" and "Dante's Peak". Additional titles include "Psycho", "Meet Joe Black", and the original "Babe".

The DVD hardware format was launched in April 1997, with software becoming readily available in 1998. By the end of 1998, 1.2 million players were installed in US homes, excluding DVD-Rom personal computers. To date, DVD hardware penetration has surpassed historical rates posted by both CD and VHS formats.

CTHV is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company. Sony Pictures' global operations encompass motion picture production and distribution, television, programming and syndication, home video acquisition and distribution, operation of studio facilities, development and implementation of new entertainment products, services and technologies and distribution of filmed entertainment in 67 countries.

Universal Studios Home Video is a part of Universal Studios (, a unit of The Seagram Company Ltd. (NYSE: VO), a global entertainment and beverage company.

SOURCE Tristar Home Video

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