Catalog promotions will help fill the sell-through video gaps this fall, according to many retailers. With holiday solicitations under way, supermarket video specialists are planning seasonal promotions and gift displays.
In some areas catalog is an especially important part of the mix. "Alaska has always been a strong market for catalog," said Gary Schloss, vice president for general merchandise at Carr Safeway, Anchorage. "In winter there isn't much to do except watch movies. The darker the days, the more movies we rent and sell."
"We're starting to look at fourth-quarter titles now," said Clifford Feiock, video coordinator at Nash Finch Co., Minneapolis. "'The Wizard of Oz' is one of the first big re-promotions, but we're not planning to do it."
The MGM film, for its first release by Warner Home Video, Burbank, Calif., includes out takes and a documentary. Specialists vary in assessing the value of these bonuses.
"'The Wizard of Oz' will be one of our sell-through buys," said Brenda Vanover, video coordinator/merchandiser for K-VA-T Food Stores, Abingdon, Va. "There is still a demand for it."
"We don't see any need," said Feiock. "Some studios are too good at beating titles to death."
"We're picking it up for sell-through," said Craig Hill, video specialist at Harps Food Stores, Springdale, Ark. "The digital re-mastering and new packaging make it attractive."
" 'The Wizard of Oz' reissue won't be big in this area," said Schloss, "but we will pick up a few."
"It has been released several times, and it has been successful each time," said Bill Bryant, vice president of sales, grocery and drug for Ingram Entertainment, La Vergne, Tenn. "We think the right approach would be to order moderate quantities."
"Another title we expect to perform well is the collector's edition of 'Young Frankenstein," said Kirk Kirkpatrick, vice president for marketing at WaxWorks/VideoWorks, Owensboro, Ky. "Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment has put together an attractive package."
"Warner's 'Outlaw Josey Wales' reissue should also do well," said Bryant. "It's an evergreen title, and this is a good opportunity for rental replenishment as well as sell-through."
Also in October the "Titanic" collectors edition is coming from Paramount Home Video, Hollywood. "There will be some demand," said Hill, "but a $35.98 retail is a drawback."
Higher price points may not necessarily impede sales this year, some think.
"Retailers have a great opportunity with gift sets this year," said Kirkpatrick. "The economy is good and people have money, so video will do very well. The Hitchcock set from Universal Studios Home Video should be a big seller. And MGM will have a new James Bond collection timed to take advantage of the latest theatrical 007 film."
In addition, Paramount has scheduled a boxed set of the Indiana Jones trilogy, retailing at $44.85, for late October. The THX-re-mastered tapes feature behind-the-scenes footage of George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Harrison Ford. At the same time the studio will release 12 feature-length chapters re-edited from the "Young Indiana Jones" TV series starring Sean Patrick Flannery. These volumes retail for $14.95 each. Together these titles comprise a promotional package of "The Complete Adventures of Indiana Jones."
Other reissues from MGM Home Entertainment, Santa Monica, Calif., include "Dances With Wolves," following a two-year moratorium, and the original "Thomas Crown Affair," capitalizing on the recent theatrical remake. In November the studio will feature a 13-title collection of widescreen epics. Strong sales should continue throughout the quarter as well for MGM's September reissue of "Yellow Submarine" in clamshell packaging, available for the first time in several years.
Other retailers are planning catalog assortments. "Stores did well with special catalog packages last year," said Hill, "so we'll bring them in on floor shippers for Christmas. They help us emphasize sell-through for the fourth quarter."
"We will pick up shippers from our distributor for holiday sales," said Schloss. "We usually do. The margins on catalog are very good."
Ingram is offering one such collection called "Own the Memories." "This is a great assortment of titles at $9.98 and $14.95 retails from several studios," said Bryant.
Holiday titles are being booked as well. "Our distributor has a tape of Christmas lights and music that we think shows promise this year," said Hill.
Sony Wonder, the children's and family division of Sony Music and Epic Records, New York, has several perennial holiday favorites in its Golden Books Family Entertainment Home Video collection, spearheaded by the re-release of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."