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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Both Replicators and Retailers See the Wisdom in Weaning Themselves From Hollywood

27 Mar, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

I left last week's International Recording Media Association (IRMA) conference in the Southern California desert with the distinct impression that DVD replicators (and VHS duplicators) have a lot more in common with retailers than you'd think.

Both rely on consumer demand to make or break their bottom lines, both are excited about DVD but not quite ready to throw in the towel on VHS, and both are, in many ways, at the mercy of the studios.

The studios decide release patterns, a decision that affects replicators as much as it does retailers. And the studios can favor certain parties over others, to the detriment of the non-annointed.

In the replication world, of course, the studios decide who gets their business and who doesn't.

And in the retail world, the studios decide which retailers get to buy their product direct, which opens the door to special deals such as Blockbuster's infamous revenue-sharing deals.

Both replicators/duplicators and retailers share another trait, however, that puts them at a decided advantage over other players in the home entertainment industry: resiliency. If they're not pulling in the bucks in one area, they can very easily venture into some new territory and more often than not find something that works.

Retailers are experimenting with all sorts of other product lines, from Blockbuster's move into satellite sales to many independents' successful trysts with pizza, movie memorabilia and what have you.

Replicators, meanwhile, are exploring commercial uses for VHS and alternative programming for DVD.

A cynic might say both sides see the wisdom in weaning themselves from Hollywood. But that wouldn't be me, now, would it?

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

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