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Consumer Spending on Video Sets New July Record

2 Sep, 2004 By: Judith McCourt

Consumers spent an estimated $1.01 billion on DVDs and videocassettes in July, a 6.5 percent increase from the $952.16 million they spent in the same five-week period in 2003.

It's a new spending record for the month, and the first July in which spending passed the $1 billion mark.

DVD continues to dominate, with 93 percent of consumer dollars, or $945.25 million, being spent on discs. That's up from 86 percent in July 2003 and 72 percent in July 2002.

DVD's strength transcends the hits. Spending on the top 25 DVD titles for July 2004 was up 2.7 percent from July 2003, while overall DVD spending for the month was up 15.5 percent.

Fueling DVD's across-the-board strength is the emergence of hot new market segments such as TV DVD. It's the fastest-growing segment of the DVD business, with total sales for the year expected to top $2 billion, up from $1.46 billion in 2003, according to Video Store Magazine Market Research estimates.

According to The DVD Release Report, more than 1,700 TV series have come out on DVD since 1997. This year, through Aug. 13, 346 releases have hit the market, more than in all of 2002.

Six TV titles are among July's top 50 DVD sellers. Paramount Home Entertainment's Chappelle's Show: Season One turned in the best performance, with sales of more than 2.2 million units since its February release, according to Video Store Magazine Market Research. The title has bucked the typical sales pattern, with sales legs continuing to be strong six months after release.

Cassette sales continued to tumble in July, with Video Store Magazine Market Research pegging spending at just $69.23 million, down 48.3 percent from the same five-week period a year ago.

Even family and children's titles are now selling primarily on DVD. On Buena Vista Home Entertainment's The Cheetah Girls, for example, discs outsold cassettes by a margin of 2.4-to-1.

In the monthly market share battle, Warner Home Video — together with its distributed New Line Home Entertainment and HBO Home Video lines — grabbed 23.2 percent of July video sales.

In addition to strong catalog sales, the supplier claimed two of the five top-selling releases. New Line's The Butterfly Effect finished July in the No. 2 spot, with estimated sales of 1.48 million units, while Starsky & Hutch grabbed the No. 3 spot with sales of 1.29 million units.

Buena Vista had the second-highest market share in July, with 17.6 percent of sales. Cold Mountain, a BV/Miramax release, was the top seller for the month, with unit sales estimated at 2.19 million.

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