ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A new three-dimensional video technology debuted at Carr Gottstein Foods last week.
With the release of "Alaska 3D: The Ultimate Alaskan Adventure," Carr Gottstein became the first retailer anywhere to offer videos using a new technology that enables 3-D reproduction on video, said Gary Schloss, vice president of general merchandise. The retailer had an exclusive on the title for its first two days of release.
Carr Gottstein has long done a substantial business in Alaska videos. "We sell thousands of these tapes every month to tourists. People who live in Alaska like to show off their state, so they buy Alaska videos to send to their relatives outside Alaska," said Schloss.
The retailer carries 10 Alaska video titles and has been selling the genre for several years. "But there is a saturation point: how many can you sell?" said Schloss. "This concept is a little new and different. You put the glasses on and then it looks a little more exciting," he said.
The "Alaska 3D" video includes scenes of Mount McKinley, grizzly bears hunting for salmon, a herd of reindeer, a North Slope oil rig and a native dance. It is produced and distributed by SkyRiver Films, Anchorage. The Nuoptix technology was developed by Telcast International, Munich, Germany.
The new video retails for $19.99. Carr Gottstein had a two-day exclusive from its Oct. 31 release date. After that it was to be widely distributed through other retailers in the state, such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, Fred Meyer Inc., PayLess and various gift shops, said Starr Horton, SkyRiver's general manager.
"We expect to sell thousands of tapes between now and Christmas," Schloss said. The title has three things going for it, he said. "First of all, it's an Alaska video, which will sell. The packaging is great. And then there is the uniqueness of it being a three-dimensional video," he said.
Promotional activity on behalf of the title has been heavy. "We are going to make it a main feature in our ad for at least two to three weeks and we are going to promote it within our video sell-through department," said Schloss. SkyRiver is making the title available in 72-piece shippers.
In theatrical uses of 3-D programming the glasses are often treated like a necessary inconvenience. But with the "Alaska 3D" video, they are an integral part of the marketing strategy and a profit center in their own right.
For example, prior to the release, the local Fox television affiliate showed advance footage, inviting people to come to Carr to see a preview in 3-D. Once there, the retailers sold them the glasses for $1.29 each, said Schloss. This is also the price for customers who want to buy extra glasses with the tape, which comes with one set. The glasses will be clip-stripped next to the videos.
"It's kind of a bounce-back promotion. They come in to buy the glasses and then they come back a couple of weeks later to buy the tape," he said.
This part of the market program was derived from the European company that developed the technology, said Horton of SkyRiver.
One other U.S. company, Time Life Video, New York, is putting out a 3-D video, but it will be sold through direct-response channels, not at retail, and it will be released after "Alaska 3D," said Horton.
While SkyRiver will sell the video through other retail channels, Horton is very appreciative of the support Schloss and Carr Gottstein have given the company. "We do have a special relationship with Carr," he said.
"We have done a tremendous amount of business with Carr Gottstein and they have done a lot of good business with us. They make good money off these videos," said Horton.
"We target the local population and the people who are proud of where they live. They like to buy videos about where they live and the grocery store is the perfect place to do it," he said.
Eventually, Horton hopes to release a title that SkyRiver can market in the "lower 48" states. It will be called "Ultimate 3D Adventure" and will include other footage that the company had shot at the same time it was filming the Alaska video, he said.