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TV DVD Finding Its Channel and Muscling Out Reruns

24 May, 2004 By: Stephanie Prange

In their bid to compete with cable and provide something fresh in a market where viewers can record their favorite shows with TiVo, broadcast networks are doing away with reruns, according to a recent story in The Los Angeles Times.

Another reason cited to retire reruns: TV DVD. The TV DVD channel may be new to small-screen distribution, but it is already finding a strong niche, muscling out rebroadcasts.

To see this phenomenon, you don't need to go far. Just visit the local Target, as I did this week. About 15 percent of the DVD/VHS wall in a Target I visited featured TV DVDs, including the recent “Friends Party Pack” exclusive — with a DVD of the producers' favorite “Friends” party episodes, a CD sampler and party favors, including a commemorative serving tray, party recipes, coasters, Central Perk House Blend branded coffee and “Friends” trivia cards — created for the finale of that long-running NBC show.

“Sex and the City,” “The Family Guy,” “CSI” and many other TV shows on DVD took up most of the multipack section.

It's also apparent in casual conversation. I've heard friends and strangers alike discuss staying up bleary-eyed to watch an entire season on DVD.

The addictiveness of the genre is evidenced in the sales numbers, according to Video Store Magazine market research director Judith McCourt. First seasons of TV shows invariably tally a higher sales number, as those who buy subsequent seasons go back and purchase the first installment.

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