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With DVD, Theatrical and Home Video Play Well Together

17 Mar, 2003 By: Stephanie Prange

I've been in the business long enough to remember a time when video releases were carefully kept secrets, when Web sites didn't freely speculate about home video release dates and covert distributor leaks were the only way to get a jump on a particular film's closely held home video release date, which often occurred six months after the film's release. Indeed, many times home video departments were wary of upsetting the theatrical apple cart with a premature announcement about the video release. What a difference today.

It seems I hear about a video release date just a few weeks after a theatrical bow. Theatrical-to-video windows are shrinking, as noted in last week's article, with certain video releases coming out only a little more than three months after the film's bow. The shorter windows allow video releases to piggyback on awareness generated by a particular film's theatrical campaign. Heck, certain DVDs even include tickets to theatrical films and DVD advertisements appear before features.

Why has video transformed from a redheaded stepchild to a bona fide member of the film family? It's all about the disc.

Unlike VHS, those who run studios as well as the talent that make them consider DVD a sexy product, not just a poor copy of a film. Whereas cassettes were mere ancillary consumer items, like stuffed animals and numerous other types of licensed merchandise, DVD is truly considered another release of the film – indeed, for many filmmakers, it is the definitive statement on the film.< BR>
Another plus for DVD. It's marketed directly to the consumer for purchase. Studios can get a bigger cut of the pie when a consumer buys the DVD outright, and studios don't have to give up any revenue to rental dealers, who can take all of the profit after the First Sale.

It's nice to finally be more fully recognized at the movie revenue table. Maybe DVD doesn't sit at the head of the table, but it certainly contributes to the film revenue feast.

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