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Renters Spend Nearly $1 Billion At Rental Counter in June

10 Jul, 2003 By: Melinda Saccone

There was no gloom in June at the rental counter as consumers spent nearly a billion dollars at the rental counter — the highest monthly take so far this year.

Consumers spent $995.8 million on combined DVD and VHS rentals for the five week period ended June 29 — up an impressive 29.2 percent from the comparable period in 2002. June tallies also outpaced the $900.6 million consumers spent in March by 10.6 percent-the only other five-week month this year.

Of the nearly $1 billion generated at rental, disc rentals accounted for more than half of the pie (52.1 percent). By comparison, disc rentals accounted for just 38.6 percent of rentals at the end of June 2002. DVD overtook VHS as the dominant rental format in February of this year according to Video Store Magazine market research. Disc rentals accounted for 51.4 percent of monthly revenue at the end of the February, and have remained above the 50 percent mark since then.

This year's top 25 proved to be a much stronger lot than their 2002 counterparts. While this year's top 25 June rentals were handicapped by significantly less box office strength-(down 38.5 percent), what they lacked in theaters, they made up for at the rental counter.

Collectively, the top 25 June rentals earned 9.8 percent more at the rental counter than their 2002 counterparts — generating $559.4 million in rental revenue. Video Store Magazine market research estimates that collectively the top 25 rentals in June shipped more than 25 million units into the rental pipeline — 6.1 percent more than their 2002 counterparts. DVD shipments accounted for just over two-thirds of all units shipped into the rental pipeline in June.

Eleven new releases debuted on the top 25 rentals chart for the month with MGM Home Entertainment's Die Another Day leading the pack. The latest Bond thriller earned $50.3 million in rental revenue in its first 26 days in rental stores.

Meanwhile, Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment took top honors in the market share sweepstakes for the second time this year (The studio held the honors in January as well.) Columbia had six releases break rank in the top 25 rentals for the month. Leading for the studio was its May 27 release National Security — earning $36.9 million in its first

Columbia releases accounted for 19.5 percent of all rental transactions in June and generated $194.6 million in rental revenue for the month.

It was a dead heat for second place. The two frontrunners were Universal Studios' Home Video, which also distributes DreamWorks product, and Buena Vista Home Entertainment. They both tied for the show spot with 17.7 percent of June transactions.

Leading for Universal was the three-time academy award winner The Pianist (best Actor in a leading role, best director and best adapted screenplay). The Pianist, released May 27, earned $32.13 million in rental revenue in June placing it at No. 5 for the month.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment's The Recruit was the studio's top rental for the month. The Al Pacino thriller was consumers' No. 2 pick for the month. The Recruit, also released May 27, generated $42.6 million at the rental counter in June.

Rounding out the top five in the market share sweepstakes was Warner Home Video (No. 4, 15.8 percent) and MGM Home Entertainment (No. 5, 11.8 percent).

Comedies remained consumers genre of choice for the fifth consecutive month. The genre accounted for 35.2 percent of all June transactions. Dramas placed second with 29.1 percent of monthly transactions.

Actioners, thrillers and sci-fi flicks rounded out the top five for the month with 15.9, 7.3 and 4.9 percent of monthly transactions, respectively.

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