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Retailers Weigh in on Q4

6 Oct, 2005 By: Kurt Indvik

Home Media Retailing regularly polls members of its editorial advisory board on key video industry issues. This week, we asked retailers for their take on the upcoming fourth-quarter release slate.

  • Bill Bryant, VP, sales, Ingram Entertainment:
  • Although the summer box office was softer than anticipated, the industry has a strong release schedule for Q4. Many of the key sellthrough releases typically are scheduled in the fourth quarter, and this year is no exception. The fourth-quarter release schedule will help many retailers rebound from the softer release schedule during the first three quarters of the year.

  • Adrian Hickman, manager, TLA Video:
  • What was just weeks ago an annoyance and a worry [gas prices], is now shaping up to be the driving force as to how the consumer spends their leisure money and time. We, as retailers, need to take a good look at how to minimize the effects that higher gas prices will have on our stores as well as our customers.

    I think the value of a rental at a reasonable rental period can outshine the value of buying a DVD when the consumer looks at the shrinking of their discretionary dollars. On the flip side, the attraction of buying a DVD and not having to make a quick return trip to the store may appeal to other consumers more.

  • Steve Hicks, VP, product, Hastings:
  • With 13 percent more movies being released in the fourth quarter versus last year, and 69 percent more in the attractive-to-rental range of $10 million to $50 million in box office, we are optimistic that we may see a reversal of the third-quarter rental decline.

    This may also be the reason studios are offering many key catalog sellthrough titles at very attractive prices and discounts, so they must be sensing the fourth quarter could be a struggle on the sellthrough side.

    You can't forget to consider what the impact a new game platform (Xbox 360) may have on other home entertainment software purchases. Video games have been the strongest format in fourth-quarter market share growth for the past few years, and the launch of Xbox may fuel that even further.

  • Ted Sarandos, chief content officer, Netflix:
  • The underlying mood of the consumer needs to improve to help both sales and rental. The great buzz enjoyed by The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers and March of the Penguins is helping people feel better overall about spending their time and money on movie products.

    If the fourth-quarter theatrical events like King Kong actually deliver a great theatrical experience, people can fall back in love with movies.

  • Rick Timmermans, director, video merchandising, Tower Records & Video:
  • Personally, I'm optimistic that the entertainment business, and home video in particular, will be in high demand despite the lack of key new releases. The product is affordable, convenient and desirable, especially when economic conditions are in a lull. Will we see double digit growth? Unlikely. But I feel our industry will perform better than the current box office numbers indicate.

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