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Snapper Era Closing

11 Jul, 2004 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The Snapper is on its way out.

Warner Home Video is quietly phasing out the mostly cardboard DVD package cursed by collectors and switching to other jackets, chiefly the all-plastic Amaray-style “keep case” used by virtually all other DVD suppliers.

A Warner source said a growing “portion of our output,” including catalog product, is being released in non-Snapper packaging. While the studio is not “completely discontinuing” the Snapper, at least not in the next year, the source said the Snapper's use will continue to decline in the future.

The decision to phase out the Snapper came largely as a result of internal research finding that “while consumers care most about the movie, a portion of consumers do prefer the Amaray-style packaging,” according to the source.

That doesn't surprise retailers like Bo Loyd, EVP of purchasing for Movie Gallery.

“I think it's a good move,” he said. “We need as much consistency on the merchandising end as we can get.”

Loyd said that while the Snapper held up fairly well against the stress of rental, the keep case “is certainly much more durable and more permanent.”

For more than a year, Warner has released new theatrical hits in either plastic keep cases or, for multi-disc sets, Digipaks (cardboard jackets with plastic trays). Special-edition catalog titles also have been issued in Digipaks, with the Snapper limited to single-disc catalog titles.

In recent months, however, a growing number of catalog titles have come out in keep cases, including the five movies in the “Film Noir” collection and a new series of Elvis Presley DVDs.

Industry sources said Warner initially went with the Snapper because the cardboard boxes were five cents cheaper than the keep cases. But over time, the Warner source said, “packaging costs have changed,” and both styles of case are about the same.

This may not be the only packaging change down the pike. Warner research also found storage space in consumer homes is becoming an issue that may ultimately affect buy rates. Studios are reportedly exploring new packaging options in which DVDs are enclosed in thinner cases, either cardboard or plastic.

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