ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Consumer spending is up for special-interest video, and its growth is reflected in the number of franchised "how-to" video stores opening in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.
"This will spread across the country and into special 'how-to' video sections within video retailers' stores and departments," said Paul J. Caravatt, Jr. president of the Special Interest Video Association, Norwalk, Conn. He predicted these sections could be leased out and run by companies doing business in the special-interest market, a $2 billion business.
In comparison, entertainment videos generate $3.7 billion in revenue, said Caravatt, who spoke to retailers on how best to promote special-interest videos during the East Coast Video Show here Oct. 18 to 20.
"Special-interest is a much bigger market than most people realize. It's exercise, sports, documentaries and how-to videos," he said.
Last year's SIVA winner for best special-interest video was "How to Make a Man's Shirt." While such a title isn't going to walk out retailers' doors, Caravatt admitted, there are thousands of titles on the market that will spark consumers' interests. Although retailers often can't afford to carry many special-interest titles, Caravatt said he believes opportunities exist within special-interest for retailers to distinguish themselves from their competition. For example, Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., Quincy, Mass., is running a test with a "how to broil" video. The video will be merchandised in the food department to see if consumers will not only buy the video, but also pick up related food items, said Caravatt.
In promoting special-interest videos, Caravatt recommends:
Co-promote with nonvideo specialty retailers. For example, promote exercise tapes sold in the video store with products sold in exercise or sporting goods stores, or promote computer tapes by tying in with products sold in computer stores.
Sell special-interest videos as promotionals to retailers that sell high-ticket items such as cars, furniture or vacations through travel agencies.
Seek out tie-ins within the community. Videos on computer software can be promoted through adult education classes. Health and medical-related videos can be offered through hospitals or doctor's offices.
Tie into major holidays. "There are a lot of tapes available on individual religious holidays. Let churches in your area know that you have these tapes available, or that you can get them," said Caravatt. Co-promotions with other businesses allow the video retailer a chance to attract new customers, he added.
Make special-interest available to customers through a mail-order catalog, which is the largest source of revenue for special-interest, said Caravatt.
SIVA and the Video Software Dealers Association will begin testing an 800 telephone number this month in which retailers can order special-interest products through a catalog, and have the videos delivered within 24 hours.