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TOP 100: International

17 Apr, 2003 By: Jessica Wolf


Strong international rental markets, like Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom, continue to thrive in the global video landscape in the face of rapid DVD growth, increased competition for sellthrough DVD and changing business strategies.

The rest of the world lags about a year behind the United States and Canada in DVD adoption, but most of the big markets are beginning to catch up, said Helen Davis, senior analyst for global media research company Screen Digest. Sellthrough is certainly encroaching on rental in all territories, but markets like Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom are still enjoying a healthy rental market, in some part thanks to DVD, she said.

In Australia, as in the United States, video rental dealers have fierce competition from sellthrough retailers. They meet this challenge with promotions and door-to-door marketing. Leading Australian chain Video Ezy, which also has franchise locations in New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, even gave away free DVD players to customers who agreed to spend $10 a week on rentals for a year.

In Japan, Culture Convenience Club (CCC), which operates more than 1,000 video rental/sales stores under the Tsutaya name, tapped into the on-the-go, technologically savvy attitude of its members, using a database of nearly 18 million members to blanket cellular phones with coupons offering video deals through i-mode, a mobile Internet service.

In the United Kingdom, rental dealers are facing tiered-pricing strategies and the loss of a rental window from three major studios, but Davis said even if windows dissolve completely, the rental market there will survive.

“France and most Nordic countries have always paid a premium for DVD,” she said. “Premium price was linked to the right to rent rather than the window.”


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