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TV DVD Pricing Slid Over Past Few Years

25 May, 2005 By: Brendan Howard

The top three TV DVD market-share leaders are heading downhill — on pricing, that is.

Warner Home Video, Paramount Home Entertainment and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment are, respectively, the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 TV DVD market-share leaders thus far this year, according to Home Media Research. Since 2002, the average SRP of TV DVD sets has been dropping, according to data from The DVD Release Report.

Warner's three releases in 2002 averaged $79.98. A bigger slate in 2003 averaged $58.90; in 2004, $51.60; and in 2005 so far, $41.98. The falling prices seem to come from an awareness of a crackling-hot market. For instance, in 2002, the first two seasons of “Friends” came out at $69.98 each. They were repriced to $39.98 in 2003, when Season 3 hit at only $44.98.

Paramount's average SRP has dropped, too. In 2002, it was $109.74; in 2003, $79.99; in 2004, $64.14; and so far in 2005, $47.81. Its “Star Trek” sets, priced at $129.99 or $134.99 each, push up yearly averages.

Fox Home Entertainment has followed the same downward trend. In 2000, two “X-Files” sets were $149.99 each. In 2001, the average lowered to $97.48; in 2002, $66.98; in 2003, $61.13; in 2004, $49.89; and so far in 2005, $44.77. Fox's $149.98 “X-Files” sets were repriced to $99.98 with the release of the final season in 2004.

Representatives from the three studios declined to comment or didn't return calls by press time.

Showtime Home Entertainment SVP of program distribution, Tony Lynn, explained pricing trends.

“Because there's a glut of TV DVD and much of the product is older and [doesn't have] a contemporary audience to drive awareness, many programs need to be priced at an almost impulse-buy price,” Lynn said.

Showtime shows like “The L Word” and “Fat Actress” have an advantage because more than 100 million homes know of the shows, but only 15 million homes have Showtime, Lynn said.

Showtime's “Queer as Folk,” has held the line at $119.99 and $109.99 since its 2002 DVD. More sets will debut this summer at a lower price.

“We're going to tap into a whole new audience with the reduced price,” Lynn said.

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