When consumers put a wrap on gift-giving season this year, supermarket DVD offerings will remain generous.
Numerous significant DVD releases in January and February are at once a marketing and promotional opportunity, as well as symbolic of the turn the video business has taken in recent years -- from what was once very seasonal to more of a year-round business.
"More supermarkets are viewing the post-holiday time frame as an opportunity to use entertainment products to stimulate in-store excitement while generating impulse purchases," said Bill Bryant, vice president, sales, Ingram Entertainment, La Vergne, Tenn.
In the past, DVD hardware sales were so huge over the holidays that new DVD owners spent big in January, buying multiple movies to build their collections.
"It is hard to tell if the early year's success will be defined like it was in the past, by new DVD-owners, because the late technology adopters are not likely to be videophiles or big spenders," said Jan Saxton, analyst, film entertainment, Adams Media Research, Carmel, Calif.
However, there are so many hits coming from the studios, it is inevitable that some will be held for January and February, Saxton said. "It is a juggling act for the studios to get big releases out," she said, referring to back-to-back September releases of "The Longest Yard" and "Robots."
Regardless of the timing, customers at McShan's IGA in Brady, Texas, line up week after week for new releases. "It is the new releases, especially the comedies, that everyone comes in for," said Leslie Cortez, video manager at McShan's.
But predicting which titles will be popular is dependent on the release schedules from the studios, said Russ Crupnik , president, NDP Music and Movies, Port Washington, N.Y.
Rumored, but not confirmed, the releases of "Chicken Little," "Bambi II" and "Flightplan" should provide strong new release sales for supermarkets in the first quarter of 2006, said Bryant. "Holiday cash will also fuel continued sales of such titles as 'Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith,' and 'Madagascar,"' he said.
With the winter weather, January and February are still great months for E.T. Video, said Brad Kanne, vice president, sales and marketing for rental and sell through racker E.T. Video, Coons Rapids, Iowa, referring to the holiday selling season. "Especially in the Midwest, winter months are good rental months and I always hope the studios save some of the better product to put out," he said.
"Wedding Crashers" is one movie that Kanne is looking forward to offering post-holiday. "I will definitely push 'Wedding Crashers' for rental and in the convenience store channel for sale," he said.
Jan. 1 vows make fitness an interesting post-holiday category, according to Crupnik. "It might make sense to merchandise a variety of fitness videos in the health food/diet food sections of the store, or offer a discount coupon in the circular promoting help keeping those New Year's promises," he said.
Catalog video also positions supermarkets at lower retail price points, which enables them to compete with the mass merchant clearance sales, said Bryant.
Comparatively, TV on DVD has a longer selling period than most new releases, and is a much higher "average ring" than most other videos, Bryant said. "Supermarkets that have embraced this category have experienced quite a bit of success on a promotional basis."
Promotionally speaking, for supermarkets it is about visibility and organization. McShan's keeps it simple with a separate video section that brings "new releases up front and groups categories such as 99-cent movies together," said Cortez.
"More supermarkets are installing in-line sections or small permanent fixtures to display more new releases in less space," said Bryant. Highlighting the major new releases should command visible dedicated space, and secondary releases may be merchandised in a separate space for an all-video section.