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THE MORNING BUZZ: Special Series Will Chart Watershed Sellthrough Quarter

20 Oct, 2002 By: Kurt Indvik

If the fourth quarter of 2001 was the breakout for the adoption of the DVD format by the mass market, then this fourth quarter may be the one that truly propels the sellthrough business to new levels.

The momentum for DVD software and hardware units shipped has continued unabated this year since the fourth quarter of 2001, if you consider the numbers released by the DVD Entertainment Group last week.

In this year's third quarter, suppliers shipped 153.3 million DVDs, more than doubling the 75.9 million shipped the same quarter a year ago. It's been that way each quarter all year. Through the third quarter, 425.6 million DVDs were shipped, overwhelming the 364.4 million shipped in all of 2001. According to the DEG, more than 1.1 billion DVDs have been shipped since the format's inception.

If the fourth quarter of this year were to stay on track, we'd be seeing shipment numbers of about 275 million (!), which I'm not suggesting will happen.

But it'll be big.

And, of course, DVD has been the driving force in the fast-growing sellthrough business that promises to continue to grow as the majority of revenue for the industry at large.

Given that, we at Video Store Magazine this week start a series of articles under the banner “Fourth Quarter Unwrapped,” which will look at a broad variety of issues related to the current and future sellthrough business and DVD's impact going forward. These articles will run throughout this pivotal, and maybe historic, fourth quarter.

One talks of units shipped, but the important measure is what's sold through to consumers, so this week Video Store Magazine market research unveils our report on the Top 25 DVD Sellers of All Time (based on units sold through). The recent phenomenon Monsters, Inc. leads the way with 9.2 million units sold through to date. Shrek follows very closely with 9 million units, followed again very closely by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone with 8.9 million. The Matrix is the earliest DVD release (9/21/1999) to make it to the list (No. 6), clocking in with an impressive 7.5 million DVDs sold through to consumers. In total, the Top 25 have sold more than 126 million DVDs into U.S. homes.

Our market research team used a variety of data, including POS reports from Nielsen VideoScan, supplier shipment and sellthrough figures, and other data to establish these numbers.

Forecasts of a depressed economy and holiday retail slump notwithstanding, DVD should leap that hurdle and enjoy unprecedented success this quarter.

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