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TK's MORNING BUZZ: What Else Are Video Retailers Doing to Make Money in Their Stores Besides Renting and Selling Videos?

28 Aug, 2001 By: Thomas K. Arnold

What do the big sellers of video like Best Buy and Wal-Mart have in common with an increasing number of small independent video rentailers?

They don't rely solely on video products -- VHS or DVD -- to pay the bills.

In the old days, rental stores rented videos. Period. That's what they did, and they did it well.

But in today's business environment, only renting videos is no way to stay in business, much less make a profit. Small independent rentailers have been hit from all sides over the last few years, from the big rental chains aggressively moving into their turf to the studios dishing out complicated copy-depth schemes or revenue-sharing programs many of the little guys can't afford to buy into.

As a result, many surviving indies are taking a cue from old Sam Walton and diversifying into other products or services.

Sure, indies have always carried a couple of racks of candy and snacks, and, in the South and Southeast, there's been a sizeable contingent of video stores with tanning beds.

But now we're hearing the gospel of diversification booming from the mouths of retailers of all shapes, sizes and geographical locales. You've got video stores that sell pizza. You've got video stores that sell ice cream. You've got video stores that carry movie merchandise and T-shirts. You've got video stores that sell books and CDs.

In short, you've got video stores that perhaps unwittingly are following the lead of shrewd consumer electronics chains like Best Buy, with its takeover and conversion of mall-based Sam Goody stores into mini-entertainment emporiums -- they are branching out and carrying an assortment of items that in some shape or form are complementary to home video, or that are likely to appeal to the same customer base.

For our East Coast Video Show issue, we are preparing a special report on what else video retailers are doing to make money in their stores besides renting and selling videos.

We'd like as much reader input as possible, so if you are an independent video specialist who is having any luck with any ancillary product or service, we'd love to hear from you.

Simply tell us what it is you carry -- pizza? ice cream? rare first editions? used eight-track tapes? -- and as many details as you can muster (when you started carrying it, how much you have, what percentage of your monthly revenues it now generates, etc.). Please be sure to include your name, your title, your store and your location. A select number of entries will be printed in our special East Coast Video Show issue.

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

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