Vestron Video was the main subsidiary of Vestron, Inc., a home video company based in Stamford, Connecticut, that was active from 1981 to 1992, and is considered to have been a pioneer in the home video market.


thumbnail|250px|Vestron Video logo, used from 1981 to 1986 Vestron was founded in 1981 by Austin Owen Furst, Jr. (born 1943), an executive at HBO, who was hired to dismantle the assets of Time-Life Films. Furst bought the video rights of the film library for himself and decided to form a home entertainment company with these assets. Furst's daughter suggested the moniker "Vestron," a portmanteau combining the name of Roman goddess Vesta and "Tron", which means "instrument" in Greek. The company held on to its Time-Life Video library, and was also responsible for releases on Video Home System (VHS) videocassette as well as CED Videodisc (CED) of mostly B movies and films from the Cannon Films' library. They also distributed films under The Movie Store banner. The most notable titles Vestron released were ''Dirty Dancing'', ''Monster Squad'', and ''An American Werewolf in London''. In later years, the company began to shift towards mainstream films, including films released through their Vestron Pictures subsidiary, most notably ''Dirty Dancing''. Vestron was the first company to release National Geographic and PBS' ''Nova'' videos in the late 1980s, mostly distributed by Image Entertainment, and was the first to market with a pro wrestling video, ''Pro Wrestling Illustrated Presents Lords of the Ring''. They also released a 3-volume series called ''How to Beat Home Video Games'', which contains strategies for video games of the time. They also handled exclusive US distribution, marketing and sales of VidAmerica releases beginning in 1983. Starting in 1985, they handed these duties to their genre sub-label, Lightning Video. Vestron went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 1985 with what was, at the time, a large market cap initial public offering (IPO) of $440 million, which was oversubscribed. The company enjoyed success for several years, at one point exceeding 10% of the US video movie market. At its high point sales approximated $350 million annually, and the company sold video movies in over 30 countries either directly or through sub-licensing agreements. This was a rights business, built by people who saw the value in video (VCR) rights to films before the major studios did. Eventually they recognized the market potential and film products became increasingly harder for Vestron to acquire. Also, independent producers increased the price of what was available. The company started to make its own films (''Dirty Dancing'', ''Earth Girls Are Easy'', ''Blue Steel''), but when the market's preferences matured, and shifted from watching almost any film to just watching "A" titles, which was the majors' specialty, Vestron was already committed to about 20 "B" to low-"A" projects. The company's financing fell through and it eventually filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11, and was bought out on January 11, 1991, by Los Angeles-based LIVE Entertainment, a home video and music company, for $27.3 million. LIVE acquired Vestron's extensive (3,000 plus) film library; titles continued to be released under the Vestron name until 1992, with LIVE distributing these releases. The International branches were split up and sold off after the bankruptcy during 1991, the UK branch was sold a year prior to Welsh ITV franchise holder HTV and renamed to First Independent Films. Their international divisions itself were the second largest after Warner Bros. Vestron had many direct theatrical, video and TV distribution offices around the world in major markets, and owned a video manufacturing plant in the Netherlands to supply European markets. Today, most of Vestron Video's holdings are owned by Lions Gate Entertainment, which acquired LIVE's forerunner company, Artisan Entertainment, in 2003.


Vestron, Inc.'s subsidiaries included: * Vestron Video (1981–1992) * Vestron Pictures (1986–1990) * Vestron Music Video (1980s) * Vestron International Group * Vestron Television, whose most notable production was a television series based on ''Dirty Dancing''. * Vestron Video International (1987–1991) * Children's Video Library (1983–1987): Children's/family video sub-label. * Lightning Video (1985–1990): genre sub-label. * Lightning Pictures (1987–1989) * Interaccess Film Distribution: Overseas distribution unit, formerly entitled Producers Distribution Organization. Many of its staff were hired from Producers Sales Organization after its bankruptcy.

Vestron Video Collector's Series

On August 1, 2016, Lionsgate Home Entertainment announced its resurrection of the Vestron Video brand as a Blu-ray and DVD reissue label for Vestron and other Lionsgate-owned horror films, similar to boutique labels like Scream Factory and Blue Underground. This line, dubbed the Vestron Video Collector's Series, is branded with an updated version of the first Vestron Video logo from 1982–1986 and began with Blu-ray releases of the cult films ''Chopping Mall'' (an outside theatrical release) and ''Blood Diner'' (released by Lightning Pictures) on September 27, 2016.



External links

* {{imdb company|0030983 * ''Dirty Dancing'', The E! True Hollywood Story, first aired September 3, 2000 Category:American companies established in 1981 Category:Companies based in Stamford, Connecticut Category:Mass media companies disestablished in 1992 Category:Defunct companies based in Connecticut Category:Home video companies of the United States Category:Lionsgate subsidiaries Category:Mass media companies established in 1981 Category:Home video companies established in 1981 Category:1992 disestablishments in Connecticut Category:1981 establishments in Connecticut Category:1991 mergers and acquisitions