February DVD Sales Drop6 Apr, 2006 By: Judith McCourt
Video retail spending was off 16.1% in February, fueled by a weak release slate and heavy sales of low-priced catalog titles.
Consumer spending for the month came in at $1.22 billion, a huge slide from the $1.46 billion consumers spent in February 2005.
DVD spending dropped 14%, although unit sales, according to Home Media Research estimates, were off just 8.6%.
Consumer spending through the end of February was $2.30 billion, off 13.1% from the $2.65 billion spent in the first two months of 2005.
The dropoff may have reflected lower title appeal. The box office punch of the February release schedule registered just $488.2 million, compared to $662.5 million for last year's February crop, a 26.3% drop.
Sales of the top 50 February sellers were off 25% in units sold, according to Nielsen VideoScan. The top seller for the month was Bambi II. Home Media Research pegs unit sales for the direct-to-video sequel at 2.5 million for the month, with an estimated take of $47.14 million.
By comparison, the top seller of February 2005 was DreamWorks Home Entertainment's Shark Tale, which sold 8 million units, generating $145.9 million at retail.
February's top 10 sellers weighed in 43% lighter than their 2005 counterparts, based on units sold. Lionsgate's Saw II landed at No. 2 for the month, with sales clocking in at 1.7 million units, compared to more than 4 million units for Universal Home Studios Entertainment's Ray, last year's No. 2.
Other factors behind the downturn were continued price erosion among the top sellers as well as catalog titles.
Warner Home Video was the February market share leader based on consumer spending, grabbing 18.4% of the total, according to Home Media Research. Warner's top seller, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, sold about 1.4 million units and was the No. 3 overall seller.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment finished at No. 2, with 15.7% of the market. Retail revenue for the supplier was $192 million.
Rounding out the top five market share leaders were Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (13.2%), 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (11.2%) and Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment and Universal Studios Home Entertainment, tied with 9.3%.