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East Coast Video Show: Anime Profits March to a Different Toon

12 Oct, 2001 By: Anne Sherber

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Video retailers who don't have well stocked and updated anime sections are missing a significant profit opportunity, distributors of the highly stylized Asian animated product told anaudience at the East Coast Video Show.

Representatives from Media Blasters, Central Park Media and ADV Films challenged retailers at a sparsely attended panel discussion to educate themselves about this growing niche genre.

Anime has climbed from a niche to a $500 million business, according to Craig O'Connor of ADV.

“It accounts for 5% of all DVD sales,” he said. “A lot of anime fans spend every dollar they have on this product.”

Not only does anime offer video retailers an opportunity to expand theircustomer bases, it can help to distinguish smaller retailers from largechains.

“Blockbuster is not in the anime business,” noted Mike Pascuzzi, Media Blasters sales director. “Carrying anime is a way of differentiating yourself from the cookie-cutter stores.”

Always eager for new product, anime fans seek out well tended anime collections, according to Richard Goffman, director of marketing forCentral Park Media.

“This is the only genre that holds hundreds of fan shows every year,” said Goffman, noting the loyalty of this fan group. “Fans who come toyour store to rent and buy anime will also rent and buy science fiction and comedy and action. And they will keep coming back.”

There are obstacles to stocking a successful anime section, said John O'Donnell, president of Central Park Media.

Because mainstream distributor representatives often don't have a clearidea of what anime is new or popular, retailers would be better served by contacting one of the dozen distributors that specialize in animeproduct to ask for information, he said. Pascuzzi also suggested looking at Web sites about anime to keep abreast of new trends and releases.

Darcel Fauntleroy, manager of Cineplex Video in Kingston, N.Y., said kids come to her store in search of “up-to-date” anime product.

But at least one retailer who attended the discussion has had a different experience: Drudan Ozcan of Dollar Videos and More in Worcester, Mass., notes he recently purchased 50 anime titles on DVD andplaced them in a merchandiser near his cash register.

“They haven't moved,” he said.

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East Coast Video Show

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