Anchor Bay Entertainment, a big distributor of independent feature films and home entertainment product sealed a multi-year agreement with Byron Allen’sEntertainment Studios, Inc. that gives Anchor Bay Blu-ray, DVD, EST and transactional PPV/VOD distribution rights in the United States to all theatrically released motion pictures produced, acquired, owned, and/or controlled by Entertainment Studios.
The deal is significant in that ES plans to release a full slate of films every year over the next five years — they say 15 to 20 films per year. While that seems ambitious, it is a company that has been very aggressive through the years as is Allen. The comedian who launched his TV career as a host of Real People is estimated to have a net worth of about $300M and is building a major company, block by block.
The studio was founded in 1993 and has since grown to offices across the country. It currently owns seven 24-hour HD cable television networks serving about 80M subscribers. Those include Pets.TV, Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV, Cars.TV, ES.TV, MyDestination.TV and Justice Central.TV. It also produces, distributes, and sells advertising for 40 television programs, making it one of the largest independent producers/distributors of first-run syndicated television programming for broadcast television stations.
Last year, it acquired Freestyle Releasing, the distributor behind such faith-based films as God’s Not Dead and Woodlawn. Freestyle also has an output deal with Netflix.
This year, it added to that by purchasing the video-centric news community platform TheGrio, which provides African-American news and opinions. That service was originally launched in 2009 and then bought by NBC News in 2010. In 2014, TheGrio founders purchased their company back from NBC News and has since tripled its traffic rate. The digital platform remains focused on curating exciting digital content and currently has more than 20 million annual visitors.