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Previously Viewed Sales Growing Source of Revenue

8 Jan, 2004 By: Melinda Saccone

Previously viewed title sales are a growing source of revenue for rentailers, as consumers have embraced the product as an affordable way to expand their video libraries.

Video Store Magazine market research estimates that consumer purchases of previously viewed titles generated an additional $1.3 billion for rentailers in 2003, with 62 percent -- or $800 million -- of that revenue coming in the second half of the year. At midyear, PVT sales registered $500 million.

Heading into 2004, there is plenty of late-fourth-quarter product primed to hit the discount bins.

Historically, consumer purchases in the fourth quarter have been the strongest of the year, and first-week rental revenue for debuts tend to be lower than in the first half of the year. However, two fourth-quarter releases ready to hit the selloff bins bucked the trend and generated enough first-week rental revenue to place among the top 10 rental debuts of all time.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was a top performer at both the sales and rental counters, selling nearly 16 million units (VHS and DVD) to consumers and generating the fourth-highest first-week rental revenue of all time. According to Video Store Magazine market research estimates, there are nearly 1.5 million copies of Pirates available for rent, which should begin to find their way into PVT bins by month's end as rental demand slows.

Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment's Bad Boys II was another fourth-quarter hit that turned in a stronger-than-projected performance at both the sales and rental counters. By the close of 2003, Bad Boys II, released Dec. 9, had sold more than 6 million units to consumers, according to Video Store Magazine market research estimates. It ranked as the 10th-highest rental debut ever.

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