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TK's MORNING BUZZ: 'Shrek' May Be a Haymaker on DVD, But It's Also a Bell-Ringer for the Big Punch Left in VHS

6 Nov, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

As expected, Shrek is the latest high-profile fourth-quarter DVD release to get a press release touting its strength at retail.

The numbers: more than 2.5 million DVDs sold in the first three days sincethe title's release last Friday, and an additional 4.5 million VHS videocassettes -- for an estimated three-day consumer spending total of $110 million.

That's even more than consumers spent at the box office in those same threedays on tickets for Monsters, Inc., the excellent collaboration between Disney and Pixar that generated an estimated $63.5 million in ticket sales.

This is a significant announcement on several counts. For starters, if youtally up all the numbers, consumers have spent nearly $200 million in just three days on a pair of animated movies, one in theaters and the other on home video. That's an amazing number, more than the domestic gross of all but a handful of movies released in the last few years.

For another, Shrek's success sends a strong message underscoring what I'vebeen saying in this space for several weeks -- that while DVD is certainly on the fast track and VHS is clearly on the decline, the videocassette is by no means dead and still accounts for the lion's share of home video revenues as well as profits.

Shrek's combined VHS-DVD sales tally is nearly 7 million units, and that's anawful lot of product -- particularly when you consider that number only takes into account the first three days of sales. I was in Target today and sales are still going strong -- several racks of videocassettes ($17.95, on sale for $15.95) and DVDs ($19.95) are in the front, right by the cash register, and they were seeing a lot of action.

The third significance of Shrek's sales success is that it's the latestindicator that home video -- and all of entertainment, for that matter -- is doing quite well, down economy aside. Home video may not be recession-proof, as some cheery-eyed optimists among us assert, but it's not being hit nearly as hard as other industries.

All of a sudden, this business seems a lot livelier than it's been for a longtime.

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

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