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DVD Player Penetration Drives October Sales Growth

2 Dec, 2004 By: Judith McCourt

Chalk up October as another billion-dollar month and a harbinger of a green Christmas for retailers. This retail momentum foreshadows a $16 billion year for home video before year's end.

Consumers spent $1.04 billion on video, up 4.1 percent from the $1 billion spent in the comparable four-week period in 2003.

DVD double-digit gain in household penetration was a key factor. DVD playback capability is available in more than 70 percent of U.S. households, according to Video Store Magazine Market Research estimates. This time last year, DVD playback capability had just topped the 50 million household mark.

With the biggest releases of 2004 still to bow on home video, DVD spending registered $982.57 million, a promising 8.6 percent jump from tallies for the same four-week period in 2003. Big fourth-quarter sellers yet to register in the total include DreamWorks' Shrek 2 (Nov. 5), Warner Home Video's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Nov. 23), Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's Spider-Man 2 (Nov. 30) and New Line Home Entertainment's extended version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Dec. 14).

In October 2004, Video Store Magazine Market Research estimates that 94 percent of the dollars generated at video sales came from disc sales, compared to 90 percent over the same four-week period last year. In 2002, just more than two-thirds of the overall revenue was generated from DVD sales.

Cassette sales continued to dive, with just 6 percent of October's dollars coming from VHS. Cassette sales registered $61.43 million, down 37.5 percent from the $98.26 million spent in October 2003. Even genres such as children's nontheatrical and family titles will not be able to bail out VHS sales this holiday season. Children's nontheatrical pulls more than 70 percent of its revenue from disc sales, while family titles generate 90 percent of their sales from DVD.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment led the October market share sweep, with 94 percent of the supplier's sales coming from DVD. Fox garnered 18.1 percent of the spending pie. The Day After Tomorrow, released Oct. 12, was the top performer for the month, with an estimated 4.27 million units sold through the retail channel. Also performing well for Fox were Garfield: The Movie (1.6 million units) and The Star Wars Trilogy (640,000 units). The Passion of the Christ released in late August continues to ring up sales, with overall unit sales registering north of the 10 million mark.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment finished the month in the No. 2 spot, grabbing 17.7 percent of the overall take in October. For the month, 92 percent of the supplier's take came from DVD sales. Disney's top performer of the month was the special edition of Aladdin, released Oct. 5, which sold 2.82 million units. Bolstering the tally was the special edition Mulan, released Oct. 26.

Rounding out the top five were Warner Home Video (14.4 percent), Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment (9.8 percent) and Paramount Home Entertainment (7.6 percent).

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