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Theatrical-to-DVD Window Tightens

7 Dec, 2005 By: Holly J. Wagner

The window between theatrical and video shrunk an average of 15 days this year as studios looked to stem piracy, accelerate revenue cycles and get more mileage from theatrical marketing buzz, but will stabilize after that, according to Kagan Research.

Kagan analysts estimate the average is 129 days from theatrical premiere to video release in 2005, versus 144 days in 2004.

While the home video industry may not lament the shrinking windows, Kagan analyst Wade Holden believes the gap will stabilize at roughly the existing 4.6 months window.

"If it shrinks significantly more, it would encroach on the box office," he said. "And that would be counterproductive to the distributors' total economic returns because what's lost in theatrical probably won't be fully made up in home video."

Films with $10 million to $29 million in domestic box office went into video on average in 115 days this year, while films that grossed $30 million or more in domestic theatrical box office averaged 132 days or longer to video, according to Kagan.

Of nine film genres the company tracks, action films were the fastest to slug their way to video, averaging 119 days this year. The longest window was for documentaries, which averaged 158 days, a result of their long theatrical runs in few theaters.

"With DVD popularity infusing the home video business, advertising budgets for video release have become comparable to theatrical ad budgets," Holden said. "This should be no surprise because distributors make more in video than in theatrical release."

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