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Worldwide Music DVD Market is Growing

11 Jan, 2002 By: Jessica Wolf

Finding business partners in other countries that will focus the proper amount of attention on music DVD titles is the main challenge in international distribution of the category, says Chris Callahan, director of international sales for Music Video Distributors (MVD).

In November, MVD finalized deals in Scandanavia with MNW Records, in Australia with Stomp PTY and in Brazil with TopTape to place the company's all-music product in retail within those respective countries.

MVD has existing international distribution relationships with Wienerworld in the United Kingdom, Inakustik in Germany, Socadisc in France, DOCK in Spain and Koch in Canada.

"When we look at forming international partnerships we have to ask ourselves who is really going to get behind the product?" Callahan says. "Who is going to price it, place it and promote it appropriately?"

Trust is also a big issue, he adds. MVD has to build distributor relationships with companies it can trust to know their respective markets and order MVD product that will move in those markets.

The international music DVD market is growing, just as it is in America, Callahan says. Music Video Distributors has been in business since 1986, when the company focused on producing VHS music product and licensed products to go along with it.

"DVD changed everything," Callahan says. "[In 2001] 70 percent of our business was DVD, [the year before] it was 40 percent."

The enhanced sound quality of DVD makes it an ideal companion to music programs and international retailers are just as aware of this as American retailers. Some indie retailers in the international market, Callahan says, are trading in all their music VHS product for DVD.

"It's only going to get bigger [in 2002]," he says.

One of the things that has helped MVD develop it's international business is regular attendance at the entertainment trade show MIDEM in France. The contacts companies can make there are invaluable, Callahan says.

MVD looks for companies that can develop strategic marketing campaigns like the advertising barrage and endcap placement its new Australian partner Stomp has planned for MVDs Punk Broadcasting System. Stomp PTY is one of the largest independent distributors in Australia, supplying more than 2,000 retail stores in the country with music and music related merchandise.

New partner MNW Records in Scandanavia is the country's largest independent record company with 14 record labels. MNW director of external labels Ulf Bjorkman said in a statement about the MVD deal that his company has been looking for a DVD catalog to get into the video side of the business.

"The MVD catalog was perfect for us, very interesting and diverse and with strong releases coming regularly," he said. "We strongly believe that DVD sales will increase dramatically in years to come.'

Some types of music product do better than others outside the U.S. as the language barrier can be an issue and MVD doesn't always include foreign-language subtitles. Callahan says some titles that have a lot of dialogue, like some of the unauthorized biographies MVD produces, don't move as well overseas, while bigger hits are the titles that feature mostly performances like concert footage.

Israel Vibration and Blank Generation: Dancing Barefoot are both big in France, he says, adding that reggae titles often have very widespread international appeal.

Other successful international titles for MVD feature music from the rock groups Korn and Sublime and rapper Sisqo, Callahan says.

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