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Previously Viewed Sales, Rental Revenue Jump in July

14 Aug, 2003 By: Melinda Saccone

More shipments into the rental pipeline were parlayed into an uptick in previously viewed video (PVV) sales for the month.

The rental market remained strong in July, despite naysayers' predictions that the days of rental glory are gone.

Video Store Magazine market research estimates that collectively the top 25 rentals in July shipped more than 24 million units into the rental pipeline, a 9.2 percent increase from last year's entrants.

More units in the rental pipeline translated into strong PVV sales and robust rental demand to satiate summer appetites.

The appetite for previously viewed product gained momentum thanks to late-first-half product that is now hitting selloff bins.

Video Store Magazine market research estimates that July PVV sales were $107 million, up 29 percent from the average monthly take in the first six months of the 2003.

MGM Home Entertainment's Die Another Day, the top shipper into the rental pipeline in June with 2.2 million units, was snapped up by consumers. Video Store Magazine market research estimates almost three-quarters of the initial shipment was in the DVD format. Consumers were quick to add this title to their home video collections, making the Bond thriller the top selloff revenue generator for the month. PVV sales of Die Another Day added an additional $9 million to rentailers' coffers.

Rental spending also thrived in July as plenty of new product hit shelves. Spending for the month posted double-digit increases from the comparable four-week period last year. Consumers spent $793.6 million on combined DVD and VHS rental for the four-week period ended July 27, up an impressive 25.4 percent from the comparable period last year.

DVD is appealing to more people at the rental counter. In just four weeks, DVD rentals jumped from 52.1 percent of June rental tallies to 55.6 percent in July. By comparison, in July 2002 disc rentals accounted for just 39.9 percent of the monthly take.

Video Store Magazine market research estimates that by year's end more than 60 million households will have set-top players, with a growing number of multiple-player households.

While the box office strength of this year's top 25 rental titles was down 19 percent from their 2002 counterparts, it proved to be an asset at the rental counter, as consumers caught releases they had missed on the big screen.

Collectively, the top 25 rentals in July earned 12.1 percent more at the rental counter than their 2002 counterparts, generating $459.8 million in rental revenue.

Eight new releases debuted on the top 25 rentals chart for the month, with Paramount Home Entertainment's How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days topping the charts. The comedy earned $41.4 million in rental revenue in its first month of release.

There was a battle for rental market share dominance in July. Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment nosed out Buena Vista Home Entertainment in market share, taking top honors for the second consecutive month. Columbia TriStar releases generated 20.3 percent of all rental transactions in July. BVHE garnered 19.2 percent of July rental transactions to place at No. 2.

It was a near dead-heat for third place, with Warner Home Video narrowly beating out Paramount Home Entertainment. Warner releases, which include New Line and HBO product, accounted for 14.4 percent of July transactions. Paramount releases generated 14.1 percent of monthly transactions. Rounding out the top five in market share were Universal Studios Home Video (No. 4, 10.9 percent of transactions) and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (No. 5, 10.4 percent).

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