Sellthrough Spending Hits $1 Billion in September4 Nov, 2004 By: Judith McCourt
Consumers spent more than $1 billion buying DVDs and videocassettes in September, signaling an early beginning to the year-end buying season and a strong finish for what is expected to be the best year ever for home entertainment.
Sellthrough spending is on track to hit $16 billion in 2004, according to Video Store Magazine Market Research.
Consumers spent $1.22 billion buying DVDs and cassettes in September, up 30.7 percent from the $935 million spent in September 2003. DVD sales dominated the mix, with 92.5 percent of the tally coming from discs. By comparison in September 2003, 89 percent of the monthly spending came from the sale of DVDs.
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment owned the market for the month, thanks to the performance of The Passion of the Christ and the Star Wars Trilogy. The supplier grabbed 29.3 percent of the September sellthrough market share.
The Passion of the Christ was the runaway best-seller in September. Passion, which grossed $370.3 million at the box office, sold almost 10 million copies in its first four weeks of release. Attracting a broad demographic, the title pulled in almost 15 percent of its sales from VHS. Video Store Magazine estimates that the title generated $176 million at retail, making it the No. 2 best seller so far this year.
Fox's long-awaited Star Wars Trilogy, which was released Sept. 21, finished No. 2 in September with estimated unit sales of 3 million.
At the third quarter mark, Fox claims three of the top 10 sellers for 2004, with Cheaper by the Dozen at No. 6 (6 million units) and Master and Commander at No. 10 (4.7 million units).
Fox and Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment look to battle it out for the third-place sellthrough market share finish for 2004. Columbia TriStar has yet to release Spider-Man 2, which promises to be one of 2004's best sellers.
Buena Vista Home Entertainment finished the month in the No. 2 spot, with 16.9 percent of the overall sellthrough take.
Heading into the final three months of the year, Buena Vista is also positioned to finish 2004 in the No. 2 spot, with an estimated sellthrough market share of just under 20 percent.
Warner Home Video, placed No.3 in the September market share sweeps, taking 15.7 percent of the pie. Warner, which includes New Line Home Entertainment and HBO, is projected to finish 2004 in the No. 1 sellthrough market share spot, according to Video Store Magazine Market Research. Forecasts place Warner's overall market share for 2004 north of 20 percent. New Line's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King is the top seller so far this year, with 12 million copies sold. Other top 2004 Warner sellthrough hits include Matrix Revolutions (No. 5, 6.5 million units) and The Last Samurai (No.8, 5.3 million units).Yet to come from the Warner family in 2004 are Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and the extended edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, which will support Warner's No. 1 position along with strong catalog and TV DVD offerings.