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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Who Rents or Buys Videos on the 4th of July, When Everyone Is Out Watching Fireworks? And How Were Your First-Half Fireworks?

2 Jul, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

With the Fourth of July coming smack dab in the middle of the week, we lose a three-day holiday weekend. But to make up for it, we're going to have some fun this week in the Morning Buzz. I assume most of you are staying open for the Fourth. My question: Who rents or buys videos on the Fourth of July, when the whole United States is supposedly out watching fireworks (or setting them off)?

Let me know how many customers come in, what they rent, and if you can, take the time to ask them why they're celebrating the Fourth of July with a video. I'd love to hear some of their stories, and I'm sure our other readers would, too. We'll share those stories in Wednesday's column.

On a more serious note, the first half of 2001 officially came to an end Saturday at midnight, and I'm curious to see where our retail readers stand.

Is business up or down from the first half of 2000? What percentage of your total business came from DVD, and how does that compare to last year? Break it down, if you can, by rentals and sales. We'll assemble that into a future column and maybe even a story.

It's an interesting time to be a journalist, covering the home video industry. A lot of good friends have gone out of business or sold out over the last few years, while many others have survived, even prospered. I don't even hear all that many complaints about Blockbuster or Hollywood anymore; maybe the survivors are primarily in parts where Big Blue and Number Two have not yet gone into combat.

I am starting to hear some angst over Movie Gallery, the sleeping giant in the South, from independent retailers in rural sections of the country who have never encountered much competition. They hear rumors that Movie Gallery is moving into their turf, or Movie Gallery has actually opened up a store near to them and they're losing customers.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Only the names have changed. I do think Movie Gallery is a chain to watch, however. The chain has gotten high marks from analysts for its strong management and slow-but-sure growth strategy. The Dothan, Ala.-based chain's stock is up, and more than a few observers expect Movie Gallery to continue creeping like kudzu over the South and Southeast.

I'll be anxious to see Movie Gallery's next financial report. As always, you'll read about it here first.

Hope to hear from you soon with great anecdotes and solid data!

Comments? Contact TK directly at:TKArnold@aol.com

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