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TK's MORNING BUZZ: Friday Officially Starts What Should Be a Bountiful Holiday Shopping Season for Home Entertainment Retailers

21 Nov, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The Big Day is almost upon us.

I'm referring, of course, to Black Friday, Nov. 23 -- the day after Thanksgiving, andthe official, traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

By almost all accounts, it should be a bountiful holiday for home entertainment retailers. A survey commissioned by Sony Pictures Entertainment found that 72% of consumers plan on spending more time at home than they did in past holiday seasons, and those numbers are echoed by other research studies, with every indication that consumers will not only spendmore time at home, but also more money to make their homes more enjoyable.

This week's big video release is Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, ayear-old movie for which sales expectations are nonetheless high, thanks inno small part to the saturation marketing and advertising campaign the folksat Universal Studios Home Video launched 10 days before the title's officialrelease.

Truly, the Grinch is everywhere -- from my Kmart circular to 100 millionoranges from Dole (bearing Grinch stickers).

And while I don't have a preliminary sales tally just yet, I have a hunch TheGrinch will do just fine -- coming in the wake of another Big Ugly Green Thing,Shrek, that generated an incredible $110 million in consumer spending its first three days in stores.

The rest of the holiday season also looks strong, with a big (and somewhatunexpectedly so) buzz for Fox's Planet of the Apes, which also streetedyesterday, and such blockbusters as Jurassic Park III still down the pike.

One analyst confidently told me he's convinced every big video release this quarter will make or exceed expectations -- due both to DVD's soaring success and the continued strength of VHS, which together indicate the home entertainment pie truly is getting larger.

The outlook for rental is less clear, with some observers predicting anupswing and others expecting a flat future.

But with DVD in the mix, practically every movie is now a sales item -- and ifsales keep soaring upward as mightily as they have been, those of us in the home video industry don't have a thing to worry about -- at least through the end of this year.

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

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