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‘Chamber of Secrets' a True World Premiere

14 Apr, 2003 By: Stephanie Prange

Warner Home Video's DVD premiere gala for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets kicked off not in Hollywood, but in London last week and the event, attended by journalists from around the world, is indicative of the growing importance of the international market to the studio and of a coordinated worldwide launch.

I met journalists reporting in Brazil and Japan, among other countries. During an interesting conversation between journalists and Warner EVP of worldwide marketing Mark Horak, it became clear that Warner hopes to spread the studio's sellthrough DVD philosophy around the world. Japan is a most difficult nut to crack, he said, as the Japanese are trained to rent because the country's hardware and software prices are high. Chamber is priced about half as much as other major studio releases in that country, Horak noted.

Coordinated international launches are of interest to Warner because the practice cuts down on piracy, but also because the international business has “enormous” growth potential, Horak said.

DVD penetration in the United States is heading to the halfway mark and it won't be too long before the sellthrough market for DVD reaches maturity domestically. But penetration across the globe offers a new area of growth for studios interested in turning movie fans into DVD collectors. As the Chamber premiere attests, Warner in particular is eyeing business beyond our borders, and journalists from around the world are hungry for entertainment news from the home video realm.

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