November DVD Sales Build Momentum15 Dec, 2005 By: Judith McCourt
Pumping the year's hottest DVD titles into the retail pipeline earlier in the holiday buying season paid off, as the fourth quarter built momentum in November.
Video sales for November came in at $1.81 billion, up 6.3 percent from the comparable four-week period last year, according to Home Media Research projections.
DVD sales accounted for nearly all of that, or $1.78 billion, up 10.6 percent from November 2004 — a remarkable feat given the unprecedented levels of deep discounting going on this quarter at retail.
Recent hits like Shark Tale and Shrek 2 could be had for as little as $3.99 at such big retail chains as Wal-Mart, which often use video as a loss leader.
November DVD releases packed a formidable box office punch. Twenty-one theatrical titles came to DVD, with a collective box office clout of $1.73 billion. Last November saw 18 titles with box office earnings of at least $1 million come to DVD, with a theatrical war chest of $1.56 billion.
Twentieth Century Fox's Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, the year's No.1 movie ($380.3 domestic box office), hit DVD Nov. 1. Before the month was over, it sold an estimated 8.1 million copies, generating more than $140 million in consumer retail spending.
Although Episode III DVD sales were substantially less than those for Shrek 2 a year ago (12.6 million DVDs in its first month), the top 50 DVD sellers in November 2005 sold through 12 percent more copies than the top 50 sellers from November 2004, according to an analysis of Nielsen VideoScan data.
With so many hot new theatrical releases in stores, TV DVD sales slipped back, accounting for 15.9 percent of unit sales for the month — down from 19.4 percent of unit sales in September, when suppliers released a spate of TV DVD to offset a light theatrical slate.
November's top TV DVD seller was Warner Home Video's Friends: The Complete 10th Season, which sold more than 450,000 units, according to Home Media Research estimates.
Warner was the market share leader in November with an estimated 23.6 percentage share of revenue generated at retail. The supplier had two of the month's five top sellers, The Polar Express (No. 3) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (No. 4), which generated an estimated $74 million and $68 million, respectively, at retail.
In addition to a hefty new-release slate, Warner DVD sales received a bump from the theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which pushed the first three “Potter” DVDs back into the top 25 sellers for the month.
Warner also pumped a healthy supply of TV DVD sets into the market, which accounted for 21 percent of the studio's total sales for the month.
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment finished the month in the No. 2 market share spot, with 18.6 percent. Consumers bought not only Star Wars: Episode III but also earlier films in the franchise, three of which shot back into the top 50 DVD sellers list. TV DVD accounted for 13.6 percent of Fox's November DVD earnings.
Rounding out the top five DVD sellers in November were DreamWorks Home Entertainment, whose 11 percent market share was driven by Madagascar and War of the Worlds; Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (10 percent); and Buena Vista Home Entertainment (8.3 percent).