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International DVD Market Growing Fast, CTHE Exec Says

15 Nov, 2002 By: Anne Sherber


It may be a small world, but the global market for disc-based Hollywood movies is big and getting bigger, according to Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment president Ben Feingold.

Feingold, along with a handful of the company's senior international executives and Barry Sonnenfeld, the film's director, rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange to promote the company's November 26 release of Men in Black II. "Men in Black, along with Spider-man, is the top movie brand in the Columbia family," Feingold noted. "It's truly aglobal product."

The executives spoke to domestic and international reporters on hand for the event about the enormous growth and even more significant potential of the DVD format in internationalmarkets.

"Europeans are more comfortable with disc-based formats, rather than tape," said Feingold. "We're no longer in the VHS sellthrough business in Japan and haven't been for more than two years now. Internationally, with the exception of the U.K. and on the biggest blockbuster titles, we're out of the VHS sellthrough business and our international DVD revenues, on a percentage basis, are higher than domestic."

According to Adrian Alperovich, CTHV's EVP of business development, international DVD success stories are becoming more and more common. "In Japan," he noted, "selling movies to consumers was limited almost exclusively to animated product. That's changed."

"You could count on one hand the number of VHS sellthrough successes in Brazil," Alperovich continued. "With DVD they are a regular occurrence. Mexico represents 50 percent of theentire Latin American market. In Mexico, we sold close to 1 million units of Spider-man, about 55 percent in VHS and 45 percent in DVD."

But even though Feingold said that the Sony Corp. has targeted China, in particular. as a place of opportunity, Columbia TriStar and other studios are very cautious about jumping into theRussian and Chinese markets with both feet because of unresolved piracy issues, even though those countries represent, potentially, the most significant international opportunities.

Feingold recalled that on a trip to Russian he tried to convince a retailer selling pirated films that he would do better selling studio-sanctioned product. "[Russian video pirates] compete with each other,” Feingold said. “I told him the margins would be better on licensed copies."

Feingold said the studio is "committed to copy protection, not only for DVD, but all forms of digital transmission" and is actively investigating ways to resolve copyright theft allover the globe. To prevent piracy, Feingold suggested shifting international theatrical release dates so that they are more closely aligned with North American release dates, increasing bandwidth requirements and keeping products affordable.It may be a small world, but the global market for disc-based Hollywood movies is big and getting bigger, according to Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment president Ben Feingold.

Feingold, along with a handful of the company's senior international executives and Barry Sonnenfeld, the film's director, rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange to promote the company's November 26 release of Men in Black II. "Men in Black, along with Spider-man, is the top movie brand in the Columbia family," Feingold noted. "It's truly aglobal product."

The executives spoke to domestic and international reporters on hand for the event about the enormous growth and even more significant potential of the DVD format in internationalmarkets.

"Europeans are more comfortable with disc-based formats, rather than tape," said Feingold. "We're no longer in the VHS sellthrough business in Japan and haven't been for more than two years now. Internationally, with the exception of the U.K. and on the biggest blockbuster titles, we're out of the VHS sellthrough business and our international DVD revenues, on a percentage basis, are higher than domestic."

According to Adrian Alperovich, CTHV's EVP of business development, international DVD success stories are becoming more and more common. "In Japan," he noted, "selling movies to consumers was limited almost exclusively to animated product. That's changed."

"You could count on one hand the number of VHS sellthrough successes in Brazil," Alperovich continued. "With DVD they are a regular occurrence. Mexico represents 50 percent of theentire Latin American market. In Mexico, we sold close to 1 million units of Spider-man, about 55 percent in VHS and 45 percent in DVD."

But even though Feingold said that the Sony Corp. has targeted China, in particular. as a place of opportunity, Columbia TriStar and other studios are very cautious about jumping into theRussian and Chinese markets with both feet because of unresolved piracy issues, even though those countries represent, potentially, the most significant international opportunities.

Feingold recalled that on a trip to Russian he tried to convince a retailer selling pirated films that he would do better selling studio-sanctioned product. "[Russian video pirates] compete with each other,” Feingold said. “I told him the margins would be better on licensed copies."

Feingold said the studio is "committed to copy protection, not only for DVD, but all forms of digital transmission" and is actively investigating ways to resolve copyright theft allover the globe. To prevent piracy, Feingold suggested shifting international theatrical release dates so that they are more closely aligned with North American release dates, increasing bandwidth requirements and keeping products affordable.

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