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Warner Wins October Market Share at Rental Counter

21 Nov, 2002 By: Melinda Saccone

October was a slow month at the rental counter. U.S. consumer spending on combined DVD and VHS rentals for the four-week period ended Oct. 27 registered $532.1 million, down 26.9 percent from the comparable period in October 2001. Weekly spending in October averaged $133 million, down 18.6 percent from the previous month.

Consumers spent $225.1 million renting discs in October, up 58.1 percent from the $142.4 million spent during the comparable period last year. However, disc rental gains were not enough to offset the decline in cassette rentals for the month, which posted a 47.6 percent drop from the comparable period last year. VHS rentals accounted for 57.7 percent of the monthly take, at $307 million in October.

Warner Home Video ruled at the rental counter for the four-week period ended Oct. 27. Warner, which also distributes New Line and HBO product, captured 25.8 percent of all rental transactions in October. The studio has dominated the rental front in the second half of the year, winning market share dominance for the past three months.

In all, Warner had six releases among the top 25 rentals, with half debuting on video in October. Leading at the rental counter for the studio was Warner's Insomnia, which earned a fourth-place showing. Three other titles released under the Warner label found a spot in the top 10: Scooby-Doo (No. 5), Murder by Numbers (No. 8) and New Line's Blade II (No. 10).

Columbia TriStar placed second in the market share sweepstakes for the month, capturing 17.8 percent of October rentals. Three of the studio's releases found a spot in the top 25 rentals for the month. Enough, starring Jennifer Lopez, was the front-runner for Columbia. Enough, released the second week in October, earned the No. 2 billing among the top 25 rentals for the month.

Universal Studios Home Video, which also distributes DreamWorks product, trailed close behind Columbia, earning 16.8 percent market share. Universal, which dominated the rental counter for the first four consecutive months of the year, had the top-rented release in October. The Scorpion King, which was released Oct. 1, was consumers' rental of choice in October.

Rounding out the top five suppliers in market share were Buena Vista Home Entertainment (No. 4, with 14.8 percent of rentals) and MGM Home Entertainment (No. 5, with 7.9 percent).

The battle between the laughter and the tears continues to wage on as dramas and comedies duke it out at the rental counter. At the end of October, both genres had captured five months each of market share dominance. For the four-week period ended Oct. 27, dramas took top billing in market share for the second consecutive month. The genre captured 27.3 percent of October transactions, with Columbia TriStar's Enough headlining for the genre. Comedies placed second, capturing 22.3 percent of rental transactions in October. Headlining comedies for the month was Columbia's Mr. Deeds.

Rounding out the top five genres for the month were actioners (No. 3, with 18.7 percent of rentals), thrillers (No. 4, with 15.5 percent) and adventures (No. 5, with 6.2 percent).

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