HIVE EXCLUSIVE RESEARCH: New Releases Drive Consumers to the Counter in August31 Aug, 2001 By: Melinda Saccone
Consumer demand was strong at the rental counter in August thanks to a solid slate of new releases and the continued growth of DVD.
Universal Studios Home Video's The Family Man was the top rental for themonth. The Nicolas Cage starrer helped the studio recapture the top market share spot after conceding its half-year reign to Buena Vista Home Entertainment in July.
Combined rental spending for the month came to $856.5 million — up a healthy 7.2% from the $799.3 million spent in the comparable four-week period last year. VHS spending was down slightly for the month at $733.2 million, a scant 0.3% behind the $735.3 million spentin August of 2000.
DVD rentals accounted for the upswing in consumer spending for the month. According to a survey conducted by Video Store Magazine, almost90% of independent retailers carry the DVD format for rent — up from two-thirds in August 2000. The average independent retailer carries nearly 500 DVDs in his rental inventory. Retailers with 10,000 or more VHS units in their rental inventories carry 60% more.
With the format widely available and gaining ground, it's no surprise consumer spending on DVD rentals jumped to $123.3 million — up 92.5% from the $64 million consumers spent in August of 2000. At the end of August, DVD receipts accounted for 14.4% of rental transactions, compared to just 8% in the comparable four-week period last year.
While rentals are up, retailers are buying fewer copies of the big hits. On average, retailers purchased 22.4 copies of the Top 25 August rentals, down 10.4% from last year when retailers averaged 25 copies.
With fewer copies of these top performers on the shelves, this year'scrop outperformed their 2000 counterparts. Collectively, this year's Top 25 August rentals earned $1.45 billion in theatrical receipts beforetheir video release, 38.6% more than the $1.04 billion their 2000 counterparts earned. This translated into a 13.9% overall increase in rental transactions for the Top 25 compared to their 2000counterparts.
Universal, which includes DreamWorks Home Entertainment, regained itslead in the market share sweepstakes with 21.2% of all August transactions. The supplier cornered the top two posts on the rental chart in August. Joining The Family Man (No. 1) was DreamWorks' The Mexican (No. 2).
Warner Home Video, which includes Warner, New Line and HBO, moved up a notch for a second place finish with 18.9% of August rentaltransactions. The studio laid claim to the most releases on the Top 25 rentals chart, with six titles. Leading the pack was New Line's Thirteen Days (No. 4).
Buena Vista Home Entertainment, which includes Dimension, Disney, Hollywood Pictures, Miramax Films and Touchstone Pictures, slid into a third place finish claiming 18.5% of August rental transactions. Leading the studios' releases was the drama Chocolat (No. 3), released the first week in August.
Rounding out the top five suppliers for the month were Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment (No. 4, 17%) and Paramount Home Entertainment (No. 5, 12.6%).
Comedies overwhelmed the rental counter, cornering 45.7% of all August rentals. Leading the laugh pack were The Family Man (No. 1), The Mexican (No. 2) and Paramount's Down to Earth (No. 5).