CAV Warner Home Entertainment, a joint entertainment distribution venture between Warner Home Video and China Audio Video, announced that its aggressive market strategy, in conjunction with the Chinese Ministry of Culture's anti-piracy initiatives, has enabled unprecedented distribution reach for the DVD of Superman Returns. The international blockbuster hit will be released on competitively priced, Mandarin language only DVDs today in China - two months ahead of the rest of the world. The title will be widely available in more than 8,000 outlets, thousands of which had previously only sold pirated Hollywood films.
"The efforts of the Ministry of Culture to cultivate a viable, legitimate home video market in China are invaluable to CAV Warner Home Entertainment. The government's 100 Day Campaign is clearly having an impact on the legal market," said Mark Horak, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Warner Home Video, Asia Pacific and Latin America. "We are achieving significant increases in sales through our current retail network and, with the close support of government anti-piracy initiatives, are building a wide distribution network of new retail partners."
In June, the Chinese government launched the "100 Day Campaign Against Piracy," a joint effort by ten ministries and national departments including the Ministry of Culture. The campaign has resulted in significantly increased anti-piracy actions, raids and public awareness programs. Additional measures have included intensified patrols and searches of pirated materials at stores, warehouses, railway stations, harbors and airports; an anti-piracy hotline to report the production or sale of pirated materials; and strict enforcement of existing anti-piracy laws.
"Fighting piracy and protecting intellectual property rights are imperative not only for growing a domestic audio-video industry, but also for developing a knowledge based economy and establishing a harmonious society," said Mr. Zhang Xinjian, Deputy General Director of the Audio-Video Market Administration Bureau of the Ministry of Culture. "The fight against piracy requires a supportive environment from the entire society. Only with determined cooperation across government administration, civil law enforcement and criminal law enforcement can we effectively drive away the pirates and cleanse the market."
In June, the Chinese Ministry of Culture sent official letters, including specific identification of Superman Returns, to provincial governments to heighten the prevention of, and enforcement against, illegal distribution of DVDs. In conjunction with local Ministry of Culture enforcement officials, CAV Warner Home Entertainment has focused its anti-piracy efforts in five key cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing, Chengdu and Jinan. In Nanjing and the surrounding area, more than 670 raids have been conducted against stores selling pirate DVDs and in Chengdu, more than four times the usual level of counterfeit raids have taken place.
"Our strategy to build the legitimate video business in China through affordable consumer prices, early availability of titles and expanded retail distribution is providing the Chinese mass market with unprecedented access to high quality, legal DVDs," continued Horak. "The strong efforts by the Ministry of Culture allow us to distribute Superman Returns and future titles into stores that previously only carried pirated versions of international films. This is another important step in developing the potential of the legitimate video business in China."
As the first Hollywood direct operation in China, CAV Warner Home Entertainment is leading the effort against in-market piracy. In addition to early release timing and competitive pricing, Superman Returns will be priced at RMB 14 and RMB 22, with an encryption technology which will make it very difficult for pirates to produce a DVD quality copy of the film.