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Warner Looking to Work Catalog ‘Magic’

23 Aug, 2001 By: Stephanie Prange

PALM BEACH, Fla. — Warner Home Video executives launched the studio’s annual catalog push here Thursday, noting that video purchases are growing more than other retail categories, DVD is expanding faster than other new technologies and VHS unit sales have remained flat despite the competition from DVD.

In light of DVD’s growth, Warner for the first time is including DVD in its yearly catalog promotion, dubbed “Warner Magic” for 2002.

The catalog DVDs will be tied to Turner Broadcasting Stations’ weekly themed movie nights through programs such as “Dinner & A Movie” and “Movies for Guys Who Like Movies.” The five DVD catalog waves — comedy titles, beginning April 2; law and order titles, June 4; fight films, Aug. 6; family favorites, Sept. 3; and action titles, Nov. 5 — will feature titles priced at $19.98 and $14.98. TBS programs will advertise the DVDs during airings and will TBS hosts will highlight DVD extras during their programs, noted v.p. of marketing Mike Saksa.

DVD has outpaced other home entertainment product introductions, reaching 20 million hardware units shipped in just over 4 years, compared to 12 years for the VCR and eight for CD players, reported Warner execs. The studio projects an installed base of as many as 25.8 million DVD households by year end 2001. Including PlayStation 2 and Xbox shipments, Warner projects more than 50.8 million DVD-capable machines in homes by year end. Software DVD unit sales will grow to 221 million by year end, the studio projects, compared to 99 million in 2000 — a 122.7% jump.

On the VHS side, Warner will launch four waves, including multiple retail prices. The VHS sector has remained strong, noted Jay Reinbold, v.p. of category management. Warner projects consumers will purchase 327 million VHS units in 2001, versus purchases of 330 million units in 2000, 335 million in 1999 and 360 million in 1998.

Warner’s family catalog program will include both VHS and DVD titles for the “Scooby-Doo,” “Mary-Kate and Ashley” and Cartoon Network franchises as well as the infant and preschool market, three seasonal events and a “Family Favorites” program. Ewa Martinoff, v.p. of family marketing, noted that the “Scooby-Doo” and “Mary-Kate and Ashley” programs have sold 25 million units apiece. Cartoon Network’s “Power Puff Girls” series has sold 1 million units and releases will be boosted by an upcoming 2002 Power Puff Girl Movie. A “Scooby-Doo” feature will also hit theaters in 2002.

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