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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Four New High-Profile DVDs Have Collectively Sold About 5 Million Units -- Not a Bad Start to the Fourth Quarter in a Down Economy

19 Oct, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

It came after all -- a press release from Fox, touting The Phantom Menace as the "fastest-selling DVD of all time at traditional retail outlets." Fox didn't play the units game, the way Universal and Disney did last week; therelease only says the Star Wars prequel generated $17 million in consumerspending, which works out to be around 1 million units.

Fox cleverly added the "traditional retail outlets" part to give The Phantom Menace added distinction over Snow White, Disney's million-unit DVD. The latter title only racked up that impressive figure when advance and online sales were factored in.

Be that as it may, in the last two weeks we've seen four high-profile DVDreleases come to market -- The Mummy Returns, Snow White, the Godfather trilogy and The Phantom Menace -- that have collectively sold about 5 million units. Not a bad start, particularly in light of the down economy, slumping retail sales and general fears and paranoia about planes, tall buildings and anthrax.

With the DVD juggernaut continuing to gather steam, I thought it would be a nice change of pace to share with you an e-mail I received a couple of days ago, in response to a DVD story I had written, from a DVD fan -- these days, aren't we all, to some extent or another? -- who has recently taken a step back to...well, let's let him tell you.

"Liked your article. I know you were writing about the DVD craze but just wanted to mention something off the beaten path. In the past year I have bought two laserdisc players (to go with the one I had) and about 300 discs.

"You might think I'm wacko but consider the following: There are nearly 40,000 titles available on laserdisc. The video and sound quality rival mostDVDs. I can buy most widescreen movies for under $5, and my players cost lessthan $100 each.

"I have 250 discs or so for rainy days and I never have to worry about getting late charges. Sure, it's a dead format, but you can pick up thousands of great movies (sound and picture that makes VHS look pale) which are not on DVD for less than the cost of a rental."

A day later came a followup:

"Actually, on my advice a few friends picked up players, mainly for their small childen. You can find basic players for $25 to $50. All Disney movies are available on LD, and most of them can be picked up for less than $10. Kids tend to watch things over and over, and unlike DVDs, there are no menus to navigate. You just hit play and you have a babysitter in a box.

"LD -- sort of a poor man's DVD."


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

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