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<I>Ice</I> Sales Are Hot, But <I>MIB II</I> Abducts Rentals

5 Dec, 2002 By: Melinda Saccone

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment's Ice Age was a hot item at the sales counter for the week ended Dec. 1, capturing the top spot in both cassette and disc sales, according to Nielsen VideoScan First Alert data.

Meanwhile, at the rental counter, Men in Black II earned $17.6 million in VHS and DVD rental revenue in its first five days of release.

Consumers spent $189.1 million on cassette and disc rentals for the week ended Dec. 1, up 25.9 percent from the previous week but down 5.3 percent from the $199.7 million consumers spent in the same week of 2001. Year-to-date rental spending stands at $8.02 billion, down 11.5 percent from the comparable period in 2001. For the week ended Dec. 1, disc rentals registered $81.3 million, accounting for 43 percent of all weekly transactions.

As disc rentals continue to take hold, those retailers that heavily stock disc tend to be grabbing a greater portion of the rental pie, which begs the question, is supply leading demand on the rental front as consumers transition to disc?

According to a study conducted in December by Video Store Magazine market research, independent retailers reported DVD rentals on average account for 32.2 percent of their weekly rental take (see charts, page 42). For retailers with more than 1,000 discs in their rental inventory, that figure jumps to 40.3 percent. Video Store Magazine estimates that in Blockbuster stores, which were at the forefront of disc supply, DVD rentals are approaching 60 percent of their weekly take.

According to the same study by Video Store Magazine, independent retailers said of their new-release purchases on average 38.7 percent are in the disc format (see charts, page 42) and for retailers with more than 1,000 units in their disc inventories, 46.7 percent of new-release purchases are on disc.

By comparison, Video Store Magazine market research estimated that of new ‘A'-titles released in November, Blockbuster purchased nearly two-thirds of its product on disc.

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