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The Latest on ‘Double Dipping'

12 Sep, 2004 By: Kurt Indvik

It comes as no surprise to you, I am sure, that a growing percentage of home video titles are coming out in multiple versions. According to the DVD Release Report, to date some 23 percent of releases this year have been offered in multiple versions.

You'd have to agree that home video, as a form of packaged entertainment, is unique in this regard.

Outside of reference books, I'm not sure book retailers have to prepare themselves for a new, “extended edition” (with more chapters and an expanded biography of the author) of the latest hot novel or nonfiction best seller coming down the pike in six months. Most readers would say, “What, you forgot something the first time around?”

Not counting compilations and other “best of” efforts, or “live” albums, I don't think music retailers have to set aside room for artists who come out with “special editions” of their most recent albums. Buyers would be wondering which work the artist truly wants you to hear.

When it comes to movies on DVD, no doubt there are those who argue that a director ought to stand behind the film as it appeared in the theaters and are suspect of “extended versions” or “unrated” editions (the originals edited to avoid ratings issues, usually). And, of course, there has always been the ongoing argument over widescreen vs. full-screen versions.

But, by and large, these naysayers are few and far between, and the American public has been eagerly buying up all manner of new editions of movies as they appear on DVD, many of which keep the movie intact, but do add numerous bonus features that were not available on the first edition.

In this week's issue of Video Store Magazine Judith McCourt, market research director, and Thomas K. Arnold, group editor, team up to tackle the issues and questions surrounding the topic of “double dipping.” The fact is, studios are going to the well more than ever before with multiple versions and consumers are buying into the idea.

And while studios are busily cranking out these special editions, a space crunch is beginning to be felt at the retail level as shelves sag under the weight of a continuing deluge of new home video product. It's getting to be a challenge for retailers to make buying decisions in the face of this onslaught, even as they attempt to find more space for all these new (and new edition) DVDs.

It just so happens we have an article looking at this challenge in this week's issue as well. And we managed to find space for both on the cover. We may consider extended versions of these articles at a later date.

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