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2005 In Review Part 1: JANUARY 2005

1 Jan, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Video Store Magazine celebrated 25 years by changing its name to Home Media Retailing.

The year began with a showdown at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas between Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD, each vying to become the standard next-generation optical-disc format. After dueling presentations, observers give the edge to HD DVD, with backers announcing a bushel of titles to be ready in time for the format's launch later this year.

Is smaller better? Four of the six major studios vow support for the hot new 3-inch Mini-DVD format, riding high on the public's thirst for ways to take their entertainment with them on the go. More than 100 titles are slated to debut in spring from Paramount Home Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video.

Consumers spent a record $24.5 billion on buying and renting home videos in 2004, 9 percent more than they did in 2003, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group's annual state-of-the-industry report. Unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the report pegged consumer spending on DVD purchases alone at $15.5 billion, up 33 percent from the previous year.

Hollywood Entertainment Corp., the No. 2 rental chain, is on the block, with rival bids from competitors Blockbuster Inc. and Movie Gallery. The Alabama chain gains the upper hand with a $1.2 billion deal that would create an empire of more than 4,000 stores with annual revenue approaching $2.5 billion.

A just-released U.S. Census Bureau report shows the national video store count fell by a third between 1992 and 2002. The report also shows the dramatic effect consolidation has had on the industry: In 1992, the four largest video rental companies controlled just 1,659 of the country's 33,733 video stores. By 2002, the four largest chains controlled 8,594 of the 23,527 video stores still in business.

Video Store Magazine caps its 25th anniversary celebration by shedding its name and becoming Home Media Retailing.

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