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'Madeline' Enters Digital World With First DVD

3 Aug, 2001 By: Jessica Wolf

DIC Entertainment and Lions Gate Home Entertainment are taking Madeline, the little French schoolgirl who’s endeared herself to children for nearly six decades and plopping her right in the middle of kidvid’s growing evolution toward DVD.The first ever Madeline DVD hits the market Sept. 25 (prebook Aug. 27; Sept. 4, VHS) and includes three “Madeline” programs: Madeline Manners,Madeline’s Halloween Spooktacular and made-especially for home video,Madeline’s Sing-A-Long. All are available individually on VHS at $9.99and collectively on DVD at $14.99.

Don Gold, executive v.p. of worldwide home entertainment, says DIC will release new product from the company’s extensive catalog on both VHS and DVD every month. DVDs will be enhanced with kid-pleasing interactive features and DIC plans to keep the price low.

“The reality is the cost of producing and manufacturing a DVD is less than VHS,” Gold says. “And if we truly want to grow the market for thisprogramming on DVD, we believe the family and kids price should be at $14.99. Retailers can discount it from there, which makes it much more of an impulse item. If a mom has to break a $20 bill to buy their kids aDVD, they are more likely to do that if it’s in the $10 to $15 price range.”

Interactive features on DIC DVDs, including Madeline, will include an Inspector Gadget character who guides kids through the menus with his super-spy gear and tells them which buttons to push to watch certain chapters, Gold says.

DIC is in a unique market position to help grow demand for kids’ DVDs, Gold says, because of the sheer amount of loveable characters like Sonic the Hedgehog and Inspector Gadget who already have an audience thanks totelevision and VHS, but have yet to foray into the digital arena.

DIC’s DVD debut of one of company’s most enduring characters shows thecommitment to the format, and also reflects the DVD evolution from event movies into the family market, Gold says.

Gold says as the player installed base grows past 20 million, the kids’ DVD market will grow. With machine price drops, more families will buytheir first DVD players and more families will move them into kids’ rooms. That’s what’s going to help fuel the kid DVD market, he says.

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