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Adding nuance to the day's home entertainment news

Posted by Marcy Magiera on January 1, 2010

It’s 2010. Hooray! Does anyone feel the home entertainment business is less embattled than it was three weeks ago?

Every year, CES opens right after New Year’s, and it’s terribly inconvenient for everyone involved. Why, oh why, does such a trade show have to be in early January, goes the lament. The answer, traditionally, is that it’s the nature of the business, and the show must be held in January to accommodate product manufacturing and retail merchandising cycles for the fourth quarter. I suspect, however, that the real reason is to make all involved feel good about their businesses heading into the New Year. Everything shown at CES is so shiny and new and full of bells and whistles and promise that the year ahead surely will be good, right?

This year, the te...Read More

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Posted by Marcy Magiera on December 27, 2009

EMA's December newsletter contains a passing reference to E-10 Summit, which it calls "a hosted buyer event for the major studios and other key industry suppliers in early June [2010]." 

The blurb says the E-10 event will bring in a larger group of retailers and have a more flexible format than EMA's second annual Independent Product Market, a buyer-seller event the trade group is organizing for July in Newport Beach, Calif. 

It makes me wonder, are these two events together essentially a new form for the old VSDA convention (Home Media Expo)?

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Industries: Retail
Posted by Marcy Magiera on December 23, 2009

"Blu-ray players, particularly those that can exploit Internet video services, are a hot item this shopping season."

That's WSJ's Christmas gift to the home entertainment biz. It's the lead of a story in today's Personal Journal section. The story goes on to say that Blu-ray is all the rage, thanks to low player prices and streaming capabilities.

Merry Christmas to all.

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Posted by Marcy Magiera on December 18, 2009

As I write this, and you read it, 2009 is drawing to a close. And without a doubt, one widespread sentiment about the year is probably "Good riddance."

It has been a tough one all around, but particularly in the home entertainment industry. Here, hardworking executives have had to deal not just with declining DVD sales, but also with the exaggerated perception in the general media, on Wall Street and sometimes even within the media conglomerates themselves that the decline in home entertainment revenue is deeper and more widespread than it actually is.

Perhaps we all need to take a deep breath and say slowly, together, "The sky is NOT falling." Om…

When every 2009 transaction is tallied, I expect the bottom line is going to look very similar to the wa...Read More

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Posted by Marcy Magiera on December 3, 2009

It’s becoming more apparent just what it’s costing Redbox to “workaround” title delays imposed by three major studios, and the picture is not as rosy as the kiosk company’s very effective PR effort might make it seem.

The share price of Redbox parent Coinstar slipped 3.6% on Dec. 3 on investor skittishness about the effectiveness and costs of Redbox’s alternative title procurement strategies. This, after Redbox filed amended antitrust complaints against 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. charging the studios with interferin...Read More

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Posted by Marcy Magiera on November 24, 2009

The broad reorganization at the top of Walt Disney Studios, including former home entertainment chief Bob Chapek’s expanded role (in case you missed it, he’s now in charge of all aspects of film distribution from movie theaters to Blu-ray to digital and mobile distribution), sent a powerful message across the movie industry, particularly to movie theaters, that there’s no more "business as usual" at the Mouse House.

Disney corporate chief Bob Iger and new studio boss Richard Ross are all about sliding windows to maximize profit and more targeted (read cheaper) marketing using social networks and the Web, as well as developing family-friendly brand franchises that can be exploited across businesses and platforms. This last part, of ...Read More

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Posted by Marcy Magiera on November 12, 2009

Remember the saying, “Content is king”? Often used in discussions about the relative importance of content vs. the various ways it is distributed, it has become less popular since the economic recession and changing media consumption patterns have combined to beat the value out of all kinds of quality content. (R.I.P. Gourmet magazine and your daily newspaper.)

What’s becoming more and more clear is that the Consumer is the real ruler, and media companies must find the right combination of content and distribution to please him.

Some ideas that are on the right track include multi-purpose devices, such as Blu-ray players that also allow downloads or streaming to the TV, and multi-purpose software packages, such as those that include DVD, Blu-ray and digital copy.

One format will not replace lost DVD revenue, but rather a mix of ...Read More

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Posted by Marcy Magiera on October 23, 2009

Netflix chief Reed Hastings said during the retailer's quarterly conference call yesterday that he thinks there may be economic opportunity for his company in stocking new release DVDs more cheaply by waiting four weeks or so after their general release to get them. In other words, Netflix may be willing to embrace the delayed window that Redbox is fighting tooth-and-nail. As long as the studios make it worth Netflix's while.

There's certainly news in Netflix's possible acceptance of a window.  But the idea that it signals a broad move by studios to delay packaged media rental across the board until after sell-through window--as was reported in some quarters today--is overblown.

Warner has made clear its intention to renegotiate its Netflix deal on terms more favorable to the studio or impose a window on Netflix i
...Read More

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Posted by Marcy Magiera on October 22, 2009
Research concern SNL Kagan predicts in a new study that packaged media "sell-through revenue will drop 13% to $12.86 billion in 2009 as VOD technologies begin to erode market share."

Through the first three quarters of the year, sell-through is running down about 16%, so if it ended the year off 13%, that would mean an improvement in the fourth quarter. Many industry execs think that the improvement is going to happen.

The SNL Kagan study, "Economics of Motion Pictures," is not so much about home entertainment, however, as the total profit picture for major studio films. The study analyzes all films released on more than 1,000 screens from 2004 to 2008, and finds that films with the largest budgets actually do generally return the biggest profit. 

For ...Read More

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Posted by Marcy Magiera on October 16, 2009

Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs made its high-def debut as the No. 1 Blu-ray in its first week of release. And for a moment, we thought the Blu-ray was perched atop the Top DVD Sellers chart, too.

Confused? So were we.

As a reminder, Disney made a strategic marketing decision to release Snow White, one of its crown jewels, on Blu-ray a full seven weeks before a new DVD version. Blu-ray streeted Oct. 6. Standard DVD is coming N...Read More

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Posted by Marcy Magiera on October 12, 2009

UPDATE: 10/16-- Redbox president Mitch Lowe stopped by for a meet-and-greet on a trip to LA this week and we asked him straight out if the kiosk company has a deal to buy in bulk from Wal-Mart. His answer was not quite as blunt. He did acknowledge that Redbox has at least tacit agreements to buy product from some large retailers, who "put aside" stock for Redbox. In some instances though, he insisted Redbox shops with the general public. There are thousands of Redbox employees picking Universal product up from various retailers on street date, he said. 
He positioned it as not that big a deal for those employees to add Fox and Warner titles to their orders. In some cases, buying at retail is less costly than buying through distribution, he said, but there are added costs for labor and transportation.

...Read More

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Industries: Retail
Posted by Marcy Magiera on October 8, 2009
Hastings chief John Marmaduke makes one of the most clear and well-reasoned arguments against Redbox and $1 per night DVD rentals that I've seen, in a blog post on The Wrap. Marmaduke writes in response to the forum The Wrap gave Redbox's Mitch Lowe earlier in the week.

The crux of the matter, from Marmaduke:  "... if new releases would be available for $1 rental, consumers would be encouraged to forgo watching a movie in the theaters and instead wait a few months. Consumers would be discouraged from renting from bricks-and-mortar video stores -- putting these stores out of business and reducing access to the thousands of movies that can't fit into a kiosk. Consumers wou...Read More

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