Panasonic Disc Services Corporation and Universal Music & Video Distribution today announced the formation of a joint venture company to manufacture DVD optical discs and music CDs in North America.
The joint venture company, Matsushita Universal Media Services of LLC of
America , will install major DVD production capabilities within Universal
Music Group’s existing CD manufacturing facility in Pinckneyville, Illinois.
The facility is strategically located near Panasonic’s major customers’ DVD
disc distribution centers. Panasonic and Universal expect the new company to
begin producing DVD discs this fall. In addition, the joint venture company
will continue to manufacture audio CDs for the Universal Music Group.
With this new manufacturing operation coming on line, Panasonic plans to
further expand its leadership role in DVD disc manufacturing by doubling its
existing U.S. DVD production capacity from the current 2.5 million units per
month to 5 million units per month by the end of 1999.
The Los Angeles-based DVD Video Group estimates that first quarter 1999
DVD disc sales for the entire industry were 10 million units and will continue
to grow substantially this year. More than three thousand movie titles have
been released on DVD to date, and it is expected that the format growth will
further increase with the introduction of DVD-Audio this year.