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HIVE EXCLUSIVE RESEARCH: 'Spy Kids' Score a VHS Coup; 'Hannibal' Has Legs (No Chianti)

26 Oct, 2001 By: Judith McCourt

Buena Vista Home Entertainment led the way in VHS sales for September, according to VideoScan data, thanks to the power of the Spy Kids. Warner Home Video, however, maintained its reign as the market share king of DVD and combined DVD and VHS sales for September and swept the third quarter VHS and DVD as well as combined unit sales.

Spy Kids, released under the Buena Vista Dimension label, dominated the sales counter in September, with combined VHS and DVD unit sales outselling its next closest competitor, New Line Home Entertainment's Blow by a margin of almost four-to-one. Spy Kids topped both the VHS and DVD sales chart, marking the first time full-fledged family fare captured the No. 1 DVD spot for the month. The underaged espionage team also racked up the most VHS sales for the quarter, outselling Disney's Book of Pooh: Stories from the Heart by a margin of 1.4-to-1.

The composition of the top DVD sellers is starting to reflect the evolution of the DVD player as a source of family entertainment. Before September, titles geared more to the non-kids' market dominated the top DVD seller spot but in September two of the top 10 DVD sellers were kid pleasers. Spy Kids joined Warner's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (No. 10).

Warner releases, which include New Line, HBO and PBS titles, accounted for 23.4% of units sold in September, according to VideoScan sales data, which does not include Wal-Mart sales. In the third quarter, titles released under the Warner umbrella accounted for 21% of units sold in the last three months. Warner owned 22.3% of the combined market share at the mid-point of 2001.

Warner titles attracted lots of attention at the sales counter in September, with the release slate having broad appeal. Four of the top 10 DVD sellers were Warner offerings, and eight of the top 25 sellers came from Warner. In addition to New Line's Blow, other Warner titles landing in the top 10 were Exit Wounds (No. 3), Driven (No. 6) and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (No. 10).

The VHS slate also bolstered Warner's market share with its strong family appeal. Seven of the top 25 sellers came from Warner and five of the top 10-selling cassettes carried the Warner label. Warner's top-selling cassette was Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Combined DVD and VHS sales of this children's classic made it the overall No. 4 seller for September.

MGM Home Entertainment's Hannibal, the August DVD sales winner, continued to be a strong seller in September, with the two-disc set finishing in the No.4 spot on the DVD chart for the month. Its legs at the sales counter earned it the top DVD sales spot for the third quarter. Sales of the thriller combined with its prequel, The Silence of the Lambs, which placed No. 20 on the DVD chart for the month and No. 21 for the quarter, bolstered MGM's market share. MGM garnered 11% of the DVD format's market share in September and just under 12% for the quarter.

Action-adventure titles displaced comedies as top sellers in September accounting for 19.8% of the VHS cassettes sold and 26.8% of DVD units sold through to consumers. Combined units sold in the genre made up 23.1% of total unit sales for the month and 18.1% of the sales for the quarter.

Comedies, however, maintained their reign as the overall bestselling genre for the quarter ending Sept. 30 with 20.9% of combined VHS and DVD sales. Universal Studios Home Video's The Family Man and Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment's caper comedy Snatch finished No. 2 and No. 4 respectively in DVD sales in the third quarter.

Nontheatrical children's titles dominated VHS sales for the same three-month period and made up 19.8% of the unit sales, with Disney's Book of Pooh (No. 2) finishing as the top-selling cassette in that category.

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