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Studios Plan a Bouquet of Videos for Valentine's Day

22 Nov, 2003 By: Dan Bennett

Like roses, you can give them as a single, or give them in a bundle. Whatever the configuration, studios and suppliers are encouraging massive giving of video gifts this Valentine's Day buying season.

Striking just after the holiday purchase season and blending somewhat into the so-called fifth-quarter sales period, Valentine's Day promotions naturally place the emphasis on romance.

“Think Under the Tuscan Sun,” said Buena Vista Home Entertainment brand manager Lori MacPherson. “It's romance in a romantic setting. That's what works for this season.”

Buena Vista is offering numerous top-selling romantic comedies and dramas, both recent titles and decade-old titles that remain popular. A recent successful outing such as Sweet Home Alabama is in the same promotion as surefire favorites like Pretty Woman.

“Just in the catalog portion of this promotion, we have $1 billion in sales,” MacPherson said. “It proves again that titles in this genre will sell for years.”

Affordable Gifts
Consumers seek an affordably priced title for gift giving, MacPherson said. “It's such a nice thing, the gift of a movie that somebody really loves,” she said. “Then if you can find the right package bundled together, it makes it that much better.”

To please the value-conscious, Buena Vista has packaged together favorites such as Sweet Home Alabama, Kate & Leopold and While You Were Sleeping.

The Valentine's Day buying season has graduated in importance.

“It's one of our top three seasonal opportunities, catching up with Christmas and Easter,” MacPherson said. “We're doing a lot of things with media, and offering big displays for retailers. We're looking at doing a series of print ads in women's magazines, promoting Under the Tuscan Sun alongside some of our bestsellers, like Sweet Home Alabama.

Sales are getting better every year, MacPherson said.

“It really started three years ago, when DVD hardware penetration began to take off,” she said.

Capitalizing on the Mood
Another favorite among romance buffs is Dirty Dancing, receiving the ultimate treatment from Artisan Home Entertainment in the Ultimate Dirty Dancing edition.

“It's our big story this year,” said Artisan Home Entertainment marketing director Hosea Belcher. “It's done well for many years, and this year we have the ultimate edition. Coupled with the theatrical exposure expected for Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, there should be a lot of awareness.”

Artisan has placed the original version on moratorium.

“The special edition comes out in December, but for retailers who want to merchandise the title for Valentine's Day, they will be pleasantly surprised by the push it gets from the new theatrical release in February,” Belcher said. “Every media story that talks about the new film will mention the original title.”

Artisan is also repromoting several of its consistently selling romances, from L.A. Story to That Touch of Mink.

“Everything from contemporary to classics, from epics to comedies do well in this sales period,” Belcher said. “Every year at retail, we notice how the holiday plays a bigger part in how the product is merchandised. We're always interested in ways to bring renewed interest to older titles, as well as bring attention to current titles.”

It's a matter of being opportunistic, Belcher said.

“We promote day in and day out,” he said. “Whether it's to a single woman who didn't get a Valentine, or someone buying something for their sweetheart, we capitalize on the psychographic, and market to people in the mood.”

Like Paramount Home Entertainment, with its ever-popular Charlie Brown titles at Valentine's Day, Artisan also markets to the children's demographic with the Clifford the Big Red Dog titles Puppy Love and Be My Valentine.

Of course, Valentine's Day is the time of year when kissyface titles do well. Fox Home Entertainment is repricing several titles with the word “kiss,” as well as many others where kissing is an integral part of the action, including Moulin Rouge.

“We have a strong lineup of romantic, female-targeted titles that sell well every Valentine's Day,” said Todd Rowan, VP of marketing for Fox Home Entertainment. “There are no new titles to DVD, but all of the titles in our Valentine's program have a new low price of $14.98 SRP. And those priced under $10 mean women can treat themselves to romance without having to think about price.”

Marketing Is Crucial
MGM Home Entertainment is also taking advantage of longtime popularity.

“We have five new romance titles coming out on DVD in time for Valentine's Day,” said Amy Zwagerman, director of library marketing for MGM Home Entertainment. “These include Stanley and Iris, Love Is All There Is, Just Between Friends, Sleep With Me and Love at Large.

Other perennial favorites among its vast catalog, Zwagerman said, are When Harry Met Sally: Special Edition, The Princess Bride and The Thomas Crown Affair.

Marketing is crucial, Zwagerman said.

“The Valentine's Day sales period is one of our biggest seasonal initiatives year after year, because of the breadth and quality of our product offering,” she said. “A new MGM Romance Collection trailer will be cross-trailered on several of MGM's new releases. Additionally, the trailer will be running at retail in select stores. We'll have several national consumer print campaigns targeting Valentine's Day gift-givers, and two unique ads that focus on both men and women looking for a gift for their significant other, as well as a campaign focused solely on Legally Blonde and Legally Blonde 2.

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