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<I>Sex</I> Video Is Timed With New Cable Season

21 Mar, 2002 By: Kurt Indvik

HBO Home Video's upcoming release of Sex and the City: The Complete Third Season (prebook April 16, street date May 21) is a good example of the company's overall strategy for video releases tied to ongoing series.

The fifth season of "Sex and the City" begins June 2, and the third season video release landing in stores two weeks prior is designed to leverage the benefits of HBO's 12-week print and broadcast advertising promoting the new season. (HBO's print advertising also cross-promotes its home video offerings.)

HBO's own consumer advertising for season three, not to mention in-store merchandisers that will include all three prior seasons (preorder on the merchandiser is April 2), not only drives video sales but also acts as an indirect promotion for the new season.

The DVDs' extra features give fans more information about the characters and show's background, while allowing non-HBO subscribers to sample the series and become converts to the show.

"We knew … that the advent of DVD was going to be tailor-made for our programming," said Henry McGee, president of HBO Home Video. "Our series don't behave like movie sequels. Each release is bigger than the one before."

The three-DVD set of Sex and the City: The Complete Third Season (SRP $49.99) of 18 uncut half-hour episodes includes, for the first time, commentary by executive producer, writer and director Michael Patrick King on four of the season's episodes which focus on a critical plot development. Also included in the DVD are episodic previews and cast and filmmaker biographies.

The VHS boxed set (SRP $49.92) comes with four cassettes containing all 18 episodes.

When HBO came out with Sex and the City: The Complete Second Season last year it not only outperformed the first season substantially, its "halo effect" allowed sales for the first season (merchandised with season two) to increase by 162 percent for the nine-week promotional period over the previous nine-week period, McGee said.

HBO released its first season of "OZ," the prison drama, last week to strong preorders, said McGee. Next up after Sex and the City will be the third season of "The Sopranos" in August, and then the release of World War II miniseries Band of Brothers in time for Christmas. "Six Feet Under," HBO's newest series, will have its first season debut on video in 2003.

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