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Buena Vista to Expand EZ-D Availability, Reduce Price

11 Mar, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

Buena Vista Home Entertainment will refine its test of expiring DVDs over the next two months, expanding the number of cities in which the EZ-D is available, dropping the SRP by $1 and putting more emphasis on the most successful channels: pizza delivery and convenience stores.

“The increased volume of discs required for the new markets has resulted in more favorable economies of scale that now allow a reduction in the suggested retail price from $6.99 to $5.99 in all markets,” said Alan Blaustein, CEO of Flexplay Technologies, which pioneered the doomsday mechanism for the discs.

EZ-Ds will next be offered in Phoenix, San Antonio, Denver, and throughout Florida, along with the test cities launched last September: Austin, Texas; Peoria, Ill.; Charleston, S.C.; and Kansas City, Mo.

“The initial test results have clearly demonstrated the potential of EZ-D, with market findings that have strengthened and verified our views of the concept and of expanding the market test,” Buena Vista Home Entertainment president Bob Chapek said.

The product has not been popular in every channel. HEB markets testing the discs in Texas pulled out of the test in January, citing slow sales and community environmental concerns. The group Texas Campaign for the Environment is a vocal opponent of the product in the Austin area.

Pizza deliveries and convenience stores figure heavily in the expansion.

“EZ-D is a natural fit with our convenience offering and an opportunity to drive DVD consumers to 7-Eleven stores for a good value on popular, new videos. We look forward to participating in the expanded test and in the national rollout,” said 7-Eleven president and CEO James Keyes. He told the Dallas Morning News in December that “We're shooting for this to be priced like a rental with no returns.”Delivery along with a Papa John's pizza order has also been among the more successful environments.

“It makes sense for a movie to be part of the pizza experience. We are encouraged by the consumer response to our use of EZ-D in our test effort,” said Gary Langstaff, SVP and chief marketing officer of Papa John's International. “We look forward to expanding the test into a broader part of our system.”

Recycling programs will remain in place with new initiatives, and the companies will be developing alternatives. Flexplay is partnered with GreenDisk, a specialized electronic waste recycling company, along with local environmental organizations to offer closed-loop recycling programs for EZ-D.

BVHE also is offering an incentive program to encourage consumers to recycle EZ-D discs. Additional recycling options include mailing an expired EZ-D disc back to GreenDisk, visiting EZ-D.com for postage-paid alternatives to mailing and dropping expired discs at designated collection points in each local market.

Since the launch, more than 45 titles have been introduced on EZ-D.

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