Media distributor Hannover House Inc. of Springdale recently shifted its focus to releasing movies direct to theaters instead of DVD.
With its new venture, Medallion Releasing Inc., the company has started to release higher-quality films to theaters, enhancing its sales to home video, streaming services and television, said Eric Parkinson, chief executive officer for Hannover House. He partly credits the sales increase to “the visibility and credibility that theatrical titles enjoy over direct-to-video titles.”
Another strong shift in its business model is the production of original feature films.
“Arkansas has several beneficial ‘rebate’ incentive programs for original feature film productions,” Parkinson said.
Hannover House is working on a major movie, “Mother Goose: Journey to Utopia,” starring Samuel L. Jackson and Shirley MacLaine. Filming is expected to start in Northwest Arkansas in January, and the movie might be released as early as November 2017.
Also, the company started VODWIZ, a channel for streaming media, and will be similar to internet streaming sites such as Netflix or Amazon.
“Our business plan for VODWIZ is to have the largest catalog of independent, foreign, esoteric and art films available for digital streaming,” Parkinson said. The channel is expected to be launched to consumers in January when it will have more than 1,000 titles available.
The company started as a book publisher in 1993, and when it moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2002, started selling independent films on DVD.
“The DVD business was robust from 2002 until 2008, at which time consumer trends started shifting away from ‘independent’ films and DVDs toward bigger-budgeted theatrical titles and alternative forms of delivery, such as streaming directly to homes,” Parkinson said.
The company continues to publish books, but at a more targeted level, selling to retailers such as Barnes & Noble Booksellers Inc., Hudson Group Retail LLC and Books-A-Million Inc. It is slated to release four book titles in 2017.