Distributor profiles

MCV offers an insight into each of the following video game distributors.

Koch Media

Established: 1994
Members of staff: 330 (around 66 in the UK)
Based: Basingstoke, Hampshire
Key territories: UK, Benelux, Nordic
Contact: 01256 385200
Website: www.kochmedia.co.uk

Koch has a lot more strings to its bows than a traditional distributor. The firm has its own publishing label, Deep Silver, and gaming accessories brand Blue Ocean.

But arguably the firm’s biggest shift was made last year when it entered the film market. As well as distributing DVDs to retailers, Koch has partnered with a number of firms to further cement itself in the world of movies.

The synergy is clear,” says UK MD Craig McNicol. We have sales and marketing services that film labels can take advantage of, and direct access to all of the key DVD stockists.

We have additionally continued to build a strong partner network, working with the BBC, Fremantle and ITV where we represent them on a physical distribution basis.”

Koch has also seen some exciting new developments in its publishing division. Last month a trailer for zombie game Dead Island – published by the firm’s Deep Silver division – sparked debate across the world. It also publishes big licences such as Prison Break and Doctor Who titles.

Dead Island is as far away from a licence as you can get,” adds McNicol.

But as we also work for large corporations that require their licences to be on the market, we are the most experienced distributor for handling such valuable commodities.

Our biggest challenge is to continue to remain visionary. We want to service the requirements of our partners.”

Gem Distribution

Established: 1984
Members of staff: 450+ (around 250 in the UK)
Based: Raunds, Altham, Northamptonshire, Harlow, Stoke, Hong Kong, Paris
Key territories: UK, Europe
Contact: 01279 822800
Website: www.gem.co.uk

After acquiring Trilogy Logistics and opening a new warehouse facility in Raunds last year, Gem is stronger than ever.

The company has its own logistics and in-house marketing departments as well as a gaming accessory brand – Exspect.

It has delivered a range of hit games and products to retail including Halo: Reach, Red Dead Redemption and most recently Xbox 360 Kinect, which has topped 8m sales worldwide.

But after these expansions, its always-strong relations with Microsoft and recent appointment of Alex Croft as group strategic development director, Gem says it’s focus now is to maintain a leading position.

The most important aspect of our business, other than our people, is delivering and sustaining the highest possible levels of service to all of our suppliers and customers,” says Gem’s UK general manager Darren Houghton.

In these difficult times we will continue to put a greater emphasis on delivering a broader range of products, as well as offering a diverse range of revenue stream opportunities for our customers.”

The firm emphasises the strength of the tailored solutions it provides its exclusive partners with.
We work very hard for our exclusive partners, investing heavily to make sure that product launches are as successful as possible,” adds Houghton.

Exclusive distribution has also allowed us to put in place street date agreements with our customers that have helped level the playing field for everyone concerned.”

Other benefits of choosing Gem include a single point of contact, enhanced marketing programmes to support new releases and an Xbox Portal for independent retailers which offers exclusive products, competitions, bundles and other promotions.

Realtime Distribution

Established: 1989
Members of staff: 120-plus
Based: Huntingdon, Warrington
Key territories: UK
Contact: 01480 435881
Website: www.realtimeonline.co.uk

Realtime Distribution has expanded heavily in the space of a year. The firm has increased its sales presence with six new positions while working on a range of impressive new products.

These include the high-end Razer-branded accessories which consist of the pro gaming Onza Xbox 360 controller, DeathAdder mouse and official StarCraft II Marauder keyboard, to name a few.

Realtime has demonstrated the value that we see in the games market with additional staff, a growing product portfolio and stronger marketing presence,” says sales director Richard Marsden. This investment has enabled us to develop in this area.

Console accessories are a new area for Realtime and we are part way through a long-term plan. Our current portfolio has performed well, but the launch of the Razer Onza and Chimera will give us a better understanding of the consumer demand in this market.”

Realtime Distribution provides a bespoke stock management service to all of its customers, which it says is a significant part of its business.

Our stock management service ensures that all our customers receive stock based on their run rates, that all of their products are listed correctly, that they are kept informed of new products and are helped to correctly set them up online,” adds Marsden.

Realtime is proud of the wide range of enthusiast gaming components and peripherals it provides, and plans to ensure this remains strong throughout 2011. The firm says products such as the TwistDock PS3 stand, charger and cable management system are ideal for indie retailers.

Creative Distribution

Established: June 2003
Members of staff: 45
Based: Croydon, Surrey
Key territories: UK, Europe
Contact: 020 8664 3456
Website: www.creativedistribution.co.uk

Creative Distribution supplies retailers with a huge assortment of games, consoles and accessories.

But far from being just another distributor, the firm publishes its own games and has a stake in Reef Entertainment. It also offers next day delivery and recently increased its warehousing by around 50 per cent to establish additional growth.

All of this has helped Creative to achieve record turnover of 68m in its latest fiscal year ending June 2010. And for this year the company hopes to introduces a warehouse management system, publish its first PS3 game and increase its DVD and Blu-ray offering.

Having seen massive growth over the past few years, we are expanding both the services we offer and also expanding the product range to keep our existing customers satisfied and to attract new ones,” says Creative’s commercial director Craig Lewis.

Creative’s first published game is Real Heroes: Firefighter which hit stores last year on Wii. It followed this up by distributing the Reef-published game Sniper Elite, which has sold around 100,000 units to date.

Lewis adds: Having a publishing company allows us to understand and become a part of another area of the video gaming industry. This is important to ensure we constantly grow and adapt to move with the times.”

The firm is also aiming high in years to come by increasing its product offering even further.

Expansion is our goal this year,” says Lewis. We aim to become an entertainment distributor able to offer a wide range of prod

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