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Consumers Go <I>Home</I> at the Rental and Sales Counters

13 Feb, 2003 By: Melinda Saccone

Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Sweet Home Alabama was consumers' top pick at both the rental and sales counters for the week ended Feb. 9.

Sweet Home Alabama took top honors at the sales counter on both VHS and DVD, according to Nielsen VideoScan First Alert data. It knocked Universal Studios Home Video's The Bourne Identity to No. 2 on DVD and Buena Vista's 101 Dalmatians II into the No. 2 spot on VHS.

Consumer spending on DVD rentals and sales continues to beat comparable 2002 tallies, while VHS continues to decline.

According to Nielsen VideoScan, based on the top 50 sellers for the week ended Feb. 2, disc sales posted a 9 percent increase from the comparable week last year. DVD sales accounted for more than three-quarters of total weekly sales. During the comparable week in 2002, DVD sales accounted for 60 percent of the weekly total.

Meanwhile, at the rental counter, consumers spent $185.2 million for the week ended Feb. 9, up 14.7 percent from the comparable period last year, but down 7.3 percent from the previous week.

Disc transactions accounted for slightly more than half of the $185.2 million in consumer rental spending for the week ended Feb. 9, compared to 23 percent in 2002.

So far this year, consumers have spent $618.4 million renting DVDs, which has kept overall spending in the black. DVD rentals are up 148.4 percent over last year, while VHS rentals continue to post double-digit losses.

In the first six weeks of 2003, consumers doled out $1.23 billion at the rental counter, up 7.3 percent from the $1.15 billion spent during the comparable period in 2002.

Retailers are also favoring DVD in their rental inventory mix for the top hits. Video Store Magazine market research estimates that on average, retailers are purchasing nearly 55 percent their new-release inventory on disc, up from 26 percent during the comparable period last year.

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