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TV DVD Continues to Power the Market

5 Jun, 2005 By: Kurt Indvik

“They put that out on TV DVD?” Admit it, you have probably said it on at least one occasion. I know I have a number of times. And my guess is we're all saying it a little more often these days as the pace of TV DVD releases shows little sign of slowing, and suppliers demonstrate their perseverance in tracking down the most obscure and short-lived TV series for release.

As we enter the summer rerun season, I'll bet consumers will be breaking into their stash of TV DVDs of their favorites, some of which have just ended their latest seasons, others of which haven't seen the light of a cathode ray tube in decades. I know I'm warming up my “West Wing” sets for those warm summer nights.

In this week's edition of Home Media Retailing, associate publisher/group editor Thomas K. Arnold reports that suppliers are ahead of last year's pace in terms of TV DVD releases by more than 50 percent. The category is still the golden child of growth in a business that is beginning to see overall growth slip. TV DVD has relatively low production costs, a higher price point and a built-in audience for every release. For current shows, it also has a powerful cross-marketing platform. Finally, TV DVD has a long shelf life.

But as is pointed out in the cover article, there's some concern not only that this pace of TV DVD releases can't be maintained, but also that it's exacerbating the shelf-space crunch. Retailers, suppliers have pointed out, are not necessarily expanding space for TV DVD in relation to its sales or units-shipped growth. Suppliers are doing everything they can to make the packaging of these TV DVD sets thinner, and have been remarkably successful, but still there is some possibility that TV DVDs success is having an impact on the shelf life of other genres and even new hit releases.

However, the consensus is that TV DVD will continue to be a remarkable business for the next several years, as suppliers get more sophisticated in their packaging and release strategies of current series, and as they mine the vaults for older series we haven't seen yet. But like all businesses, it will mature and the pendulum will swing toward new opportunities.

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