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Retailers Should See Green With Upcoming Earth Day Titles

By : Susanne Ault | Posted: 12 Feb 2010

Earth Day hits an important 40th anniversary this year on April 22, and there will be plenty of green-minded DVD releases to help with the festivities.

There is no denying that environmental concern is a huge part of people’s lives. The home entertainment industry, including Scholastic, Docurama, the History Channel and National Geographic, hopes to answer consumers’ green demands with a wide range of product through April.

Scholastic will get the ball rolling Feb. 16 with the animated He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, a compilation of stories teaching kids about how they can help the environment. Today many schools have built Earth Day topics into their curriculum, and Scholastic hopes that parents and teachers might be able to use the DVD as a guide.

Documentary label Docurama wants to educate people about eating environmentally sustainable seafood with the Feb. 23 release The End of the Line. Featuring Ted Danson, End of the Line warns that current fish choices may deplete the ocean of a vast amount of seafood within the next 50 years. The title includes a wallet-sized booklet that points out which fish is best to buy.

“People are interested in figuring out how to help the Earth, and everyone is recycling. But people now are ready to do something more,” said Tej Desai, VP of global marketing at Docurama, History Channel and Scholastic distributor New Video. “Now they can buy sustainable fish like they’ve been buying organic produce. And kids can also become a part of this with the Scholastic title.”

Also from Docurama on April 1 is The Yes Men Fix the World, which follows two Web-based comedians who engineer stunts to try to change environmental policy.

“It’s like Michael Moore meets Borat,” added Desai. “We are streeting it on April Fool’s Day because it’s a comedy, but it will also lead right into Earth Day.”

Retailers also will likely look to The History Channel’s “The Universe” franchise to help beef up Earth Day promotions. For the first time with this series, New Video’s A&E Home Entertainment will release the fourth season on Blu-ray day-and-date with its DVD version on Feb. 23.

The supplier is offering retail a range of ways to best suit its customers with the series. For example, New Video will create value-priced single-disc sets containing a portion of a “Universe” season’s episodes for stores. Last year, Wal-Mart offered such a product, dubbed Our Solar System, listed at $12.95. Typically, full-season “Universe” sets go for about $40. New Video hopes Wal-Mart takes further single editions of “The Universe” in 2010.

“The Universe,” which attracts 60 million viewers, has been the History Channel’s bestselling DVD title in 2008 and 2009, according to the network.

National Geographic is not disappointing with its March/April slate as well. Its “Nature” titles Big Sur and Canyonlands street on DVD/Blu-ray on March 30 and April 6, respectively. There is also Africa’s Lost Eden, which chronicles efforts to restore the animal habitat of Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park, coming to DVD/Blu-ray April 13.

The struggle to research the elusive Great White shark is detailed in Expedition Great White, also due April 13.

Each “Nature” title is on DVD at $19.97 and Blu-ray at $29.99.

Warner Home Video has a selection of Earth Day titles for electronic sellthrough and video-on-demand.  Titles rolling out for these digital platforms near April 22 include the “Free Willy” films, documentaries March of the Penguins and Planet Earth plus dramas The Perfect Storm and Twister.



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