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October Rental Spending Jumps Nearly 14 Percent

13 Nov, 2003 By: Melinda Saccone

Consumer rental spending in October posted double-digit increases over the comparable period last year as the strong slate of new releases gave consumers plenty of reasons to visit their local video store.

In the first four weeks of the quarter, consumers spent $605.9 million on rentals, up 13.9 percent from the $532.1 million consumers doled out in October 2002.

Disc rentals continue to post positive gains, with the format bringing in $379.8 million for the four-week period ended Oct. 26. DVD rentals accounted for 62.7 percent of the monthly take, up from 42.3 percent last year.

Previously viewed title (PVT) sales continue to provide rentailers with plenty of profit. Video Store Magazine market research estimates that the top 10 PVT sellers for the month generated an additional $61 million for rentailers. Video Store Magazine market research estimates that by year's end, PVT sales will have earned rentailers $1.3 billion in additional revenue.

This year's October releases were much stronger than their 2002 counterpart. The nine debutantes to make an appearance on the top 25 rentals chart for the month collectively earned $617.4 million in theaters prior to their video debut, with three releases earning more than $100 million in box office receipts.

By comparison, last year's counterparts (10 new releases) collectively generated $562 million in theaters, with two new releases earning more than $100 million at the box office.

The box office strength of the October debs translated into solid performances at the rental counter. The October debs collectively generated $160.5 million in rental revenue, 4.9 percent more than their 2002 counterparts.

Retailers brought in plenty of copies of October releases in anticipation of high rental demand, and they also know they have a growing secondary market for PVT sales. Collectively, more than 10 million units of the top nine October releases were shipped into the rental pipeline.

Paramount Home Entertainment's The Italian Job led the newbies at the rental counter and was one of the three October releases to earn more than $100 million at the box office ($106 million). In just three weeks of release, The Italian Job generated $39.3 million in rental revenue, placing second overall for the month. Two-thirds of the actioner's revenue came from disc rentals, according to Video Store Magazine market research estimates.

Warner Home Video's The Matrix Reloaded -- the highest box office generator of the month ($277.1 million) -- placed sixth overall, earning $23.8 million at the rental counter in just two weeks of release. The must-see sequel grossed $14.6 million in its debut week of release, 45 percent more than its predecessor The Matrix, which debuted with $10.1 million in September 1999.

The only other October $100 million box office blockbuster to debut on the top 25 rentals chart was Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment's Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (No.13). In just one week of release, Full Throttle earned $13.4 million at the rental counter, 41 percent more than its predecessor, Charlie's Angels, which debuted in April 2001.

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