LAS VEGAS -- A partnership between Blockbuster Entertainment Group, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Sony Electronics, Park Ridge, N.J., to promote and demonstrate the new digital video disc technology may portend how supermarkets can tie in to the product launch this spring.
Select Blockbuster stores in major markets will have in-store demonstration kiosks with Sony DVD players, scheduled to hit retail shelves in April. Meanwhile, purchasers of the Sony hardware units will receive coupons for free DVD rentals at Blockbuster, which has a total of 5,000 video and music stores in the U.S. and other countries.
Similar demonstration programs could be made available soon to supermarkets, said Benjamin S. Feingold, president of Columbia TriStar Home Video, Culver City, Calif.
"Over time I'm sure we will develop various types of promotional programs for various accounts in conjunction with Sony Electronics," he said. "But in the beginning, there may be inventory issues about how much hardware and software is available. But over time we would expect that there would be promotional opportunities available for almost every class of trade that wants to be in the business."
The Blockbuster-Sony partnership is noteworthy because Blockbuster is owned by Viacom, New York, which also owns Paramount Pictures, Hollywood, a direct competitor of Sony's Columbia and TriStar units, noted industry observers.
"Blockbuster is committed to being a leader in developing the entertainment software experiences that exceed the expectations of our members," said Tom Byrne, Blockbuster's vice chairman, in a statement.
"We believe people already expect the latest in home video entertainment from Blockbuster, so it makes sense for them to be one of the first retailers in the country to demonstrate the incredible video and audio experiences only available from DVD," said John Briesch, president of Sony's Consumer A/V Group.
"Once people have an opportunity to experience our new DVD video player, we believe they will immediately understand the excitement that DVD offers," he said.