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Online onslaught victims, VDC, Sound Performance call the administrators

Barely two weeks after launching a digital platform, NtertainU, The Video Duplicating Company (VDC) threw the towel. The UK's largest independent CD/DVD replicator called on the administrators, FRP Advisory, on 22 December, when the company directors reportedly failed to secure new investment or a buyer for the business as a going concern.

It was no Christmas treat for the 157 employees affected by the untimely winding down. The move saw 105 staff made redundant with 52 kept on at sites in Wembley and Park Royal in London to help manage the closure process and disposal of assets.

Founded in 1982, VDC emerged as a key independent player during the early years of CD and DVD production. The installation of a Singulus BLULINE II and CrystalLine mastering system in September 2010 made it the first company in the UK with in-house Blu-ray Disc mastering and replication facilities. It supplied all the major supermarkets as well as independent retailers.

At its peak, VDC was producing and despatching over 250 million discs a year. However, this figure had fallen to less than 50 million in the last year.

"Sadly the demise of all these [disc] formats has been equally rapid as the world has moved at an even faster pace online thanks to the digitisation of all forms of content," FRP Advisory partner Glyn Mummery told the Press Association. "VDC was one of the last big replicators to survive that change to digital formatting, but there is only so long a business can continue to trade when its core market shrinks and changes beyond recognition."

It's not the end of the road for over 40 employees who now work for VDC Trading. The newly-established company will act as brokers for Sony DADC. VDC Trading is headed by Ashwin Bedi, with Mike Seaman as head of sales, positions both men occupied at VDC.

Telford, Shropshire-based Sound Performance bit the dust around Christmas as well. Helping produce the X-Factor's winner's CD single did not guarantee a lease of life for the optical disc replicator as it plunged into liquidation.

Established in 1994, Sound Performance employed over 90 staff as recently as 2012. Today, the number is reportedly around 40. Dozens of staff were made redundant over Christmas. Director Chris Marksberry, terse redundancy letter to the employees reads "The company, due to its financial position, is unable to continue operations and your employment will cease. [...] This is due to a decline in business which has resulted in the company having to cease trading."

Insolvency practitioners BDO LLP have been brought in and will hold a creditors meeting in Birmingham on Wednesday, 21 January, when they will be officially appointed as liquidators for the stricken company.

Like VDC Trading, Sound Performance is reportedly transforming itself into another Sony DADC broker.

Cinram is the other replicator left to service UK customers.

Story filed 19.01.15

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