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Buena Vista Tries DVD at $9.99 SRP

19 Apr, 2002 By: Joan Villa

Buena Vista Home Entertainment, which has been resisting downward price pressures building in the industry, will be joining the fray this fall, offering a 24-title collection of its deep live-action catalog at a suggested retail price of $9.99.

As part of its extensive 250-plus title “Movie Showcase” catalog promotion running from April through October, BVHE is putting out most of those titles on DVD at SRP prices of $19.99 to $14.95. However, the company is bringing out a selection of top catalog hits at $9.99 beginning Sept. 3.

The 24 $9.99 titles include Betsy's Wedding, Celtic Pride, Captain Ron, The Program, Prefontaine, Indian Summer, The Puppet Masters and four Ernest movies including Ernest Saves Christmas. Prebook is July 23.

“This is a new price point for them and the timing is significant,” explained Ralph Tribbey, editor of The DVD Release Report. “This is a period when you would normally see discount labels going into Best Buy and Circuit City with 30 to 40 titles priced under $9.99 and here you have Disney titles going to market in their window.”

Tribbey believes other studios will jump in with low price points of their own to avoid losing market share to Disney. In addition, retailers will be tempted to seize the opportunity and use the titles as high-profile impulse buys, marking them down even further.

“Places like Best Buy are going to take the $9.99 product and discount it to $7.95,” Tribbey predicted. “You're looking at product that you actually recognize the title, and it has Disney's name on it.”

According to BVHE president Robert Chapek, the repricings take advantage of a “dramatic” increase in family DVD player purchases.

“We're excited to make so many of the great movies in our catalog available to this rapidly growing audience,” Chapek said in a statement announcing the promotion. “This slate of DVDs truly offers something for everyone, at a price that allows families to own, collect and enjoy many of the quality films they've loved in theaters in the past.”

The Movie Showcase promotion features several DVD debuts each month, such as Swingers, Country Life and The Tall Guy May 21 priced at $19.99 suggested retail and $14.95 minimum advertised price (MAP). The June 4 slate includes DVD premieres Hocus Pocus, Blackbeard's Ghost, Muppet Treasure Island, Krippendorf's Tribe, Mr. Wrong and The Scarlet Letter, all at $19.99 SRP and $14.95 MAP.

On July 2, Disney will unveil 24 DVD two-packs for $19.95 MAP, $29.95 SRP. Examples here include Mr. Magoo and Disney's My Favorite Martian; Reindeer Games and Phantoms. Prebook is May 21.

Last month, MGM Home Entertainment unveiled its first-ever slate of 10 mostly direct-to-video titles priced at $9.98 for June 4 release. Sales EVP Robert Wittenberg attributed the move to consumer demand for “this caliber of product at this price point.”

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