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Data Shows Columbia TriStar Has Had Shortest Theatrical-to-Video Window

11 May, 2004 By: Jessica Wolf

If it seems like DVDs are hitting the video market quickly these days, it's because they are, but with plenty of variance studio-by-studio and title-by-title.

Since the launch of DVD, only 76 titles have streeted with a theatrical-to-video window of 100 days or less, according to the DVD Release Report. Thirty-two percent of these quick releases have come from Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment. CTHE titles make up about 14 percent of the total theatrical films released to DVD since 1997.

Overall, CTHE's average theatrical-to-video window is lower than most suppliers, according to data from the DVD Release Report.

For films released in theaters in 2003, CTHE's average window was 145 days, compared to Universal Studios Home Video's 147 days, 20th Century Fox's 150 days, Warner Home Video's 154 days, Paramount Home Entertainment's 159 days, MGM Home Entertainment's 172 days and Buena Vista Home Entertainment's 175 days. Across the board, 2003 marked the shortest theatrical-to-video window average in the history of DVD for every supplier except MGM, whose shortest window year was 2002, with a 160-day average turnaround.

Todd Zaganiacz of Video Zone in South Deerfield, Mass., said it's obvious the studios are trimming windows for certain releases, especially Columbia TriStar.

“They must be planning it before the movie even opens in theaters,” he said.

With only a few of this year's theatrical batch in the DVD pipeline, CTHE is neck-and-neck with Fox for the shortest window — 111 days compared to Fox's 100 days.

The president of one of the six major studios' home entertainment divisions said except for Columbia TriStar, "where everything seems to be coming out in 15 weeks, with no rhyme or reason," it's still business as usual at his studio, where window decisions are made on a title-by-title basis.

Indeed, Tom Adams of Adams Media Research said the average overall release window still hovers around six months once all varying release strategies for different titles are factored in. But, as he said, in a recent article in Video Store Magazine, it is becoming apparent that a quick turnaround from theaters does excite DVD sales for a title.

The quickest turnaround in the history of DVD goes to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, with its 29-day window for the “American Idol”-inspired box-office-bomb From Justin to Kelly.

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