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TV DVD in a Third-Quarter Crunch

24 Jun, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The increasingly crowded TV DVD pipeline is threatening to burst in the third quarter, as studios announce an unprecedented number of season sets for July, August and September.

Each Tuesday has two, three or more high-profile releases, and Paramount Home Entertainment alone has nearly two dozen titles slotted for the three summer months, including seasons six of “Frasier” and “Cheers” and the first season of “The Amazing Race.”

“I think we're all seizing the same opportunity,” said Steve Feldstein, SVP of marketing communications for Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Fox has already announced more than a dozen TV DVD packages for the third quarter, with several more to come.

“There are so many sets rolling out, and the studios are still making announcements,” said Gord Lacey, who runs the popular Web site TVShowsOnDVD.com. “August will clear out people's bank accounts, and September will push them into debt.”

What's behind the rush? Two factors are driving the flurry of TV DVD releases, studio sources say: a weak theatrical slate, as studios hold their biggest summer blockbusters for the fourth-quarter holiday selling season; and the fact that all things TV are front-of-mind as the networks prepare to roll out their new seasons.

“The end of the third quarter is when new TV seasons launch, so there's a lot of awareness about TV programming in general,” Feldstein said.

Lacey predicts two of the quarter's biggest sellers will be season-one sets of hot contemporary series “Lost,” arriving Sept. 6, and “Desperate Housewives,” due Sept. 20, both from Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

“September is going to hit consumers pretty hard,” Lacey said.

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