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TK's MORNING BUZZ: In Trying Times for Video Rental, Retailers Should Try Selling Discs -- Be It DVD or Pizza

2 Oct, 2000 By: Thomas K. Arnold

OWENSBORO, KY -- I rolled into town late last night for this week's WaxWorks trade show and conference, the first since 1997, after having spent much of last week in Atlantic City, N.J., for the East Coast Video Show.

And I tell you, attending back-to-back trade shows that are essentially magnets for independent video specialty retailers has me feeling like Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show, with people coming to me for what they hope will be some magical cure for the video rental woes.

Last week, I felt like a preacher, evangelizing about how important DVD is, and how retailers, no matter how small, should also begin selling discs, because rental alone isn't going to cut it.

That's hardly snake oil. It's sound advice, and yet at the same time it's not a cure-all. In these trying times, retailers have to strategize and analyze and figure out what works best for them to get the revenue stream flowing again. In New York and Boston and other big metropolitan areas, it might be DVD; here in Owensboro and surrounding hamlets like Hawesville, Tell City and Calhoun, it might be video game rentals or tanning.

The harsh fact is this: If a splashy new Blockbuster or Hollywood video store opens across the street, down the street or anywhere close to you, you're probably not going to make it. You can't compete with walls of hits, guaranteed to be available and dispersed to customers for five nights.

But even retailers who are nowhere near a Blockbuster or Hollywood are feeling the crunch, with satellite, the Internet, and other things electronic and digital.

Simply renting VHS videos is no longer a viable business, at least not in the long term. Even Blockbuster concedes this point, which is why the chain is now selling satellite dishes and developing an online video-on-demand service.

As I said before, these are trying times--and you need to keep on trying to find something that complements your existing video rental business, be it DVD or pizza, so that all your proverbial eggs are no longer in one basket.

Praise the Lord, you can do it. Hallelujah!

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

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