LOS ANGELES -- Shipments, sales and rentals of video entertainment software products remain on an upward trend, and supermarkets are joining in.
over the same period the year before, according to numbers provided to the group by Kaplan, Swicker and Simha, Encino, Calif.
The total number of units shipped since the launch of the DVD format has risen to 4.3 billion discs, DEG reported, and there are now more than 43,000 DVD titles on the market.
"We are pleased to see new DVD owners so enthusiastic about their players and starting a DVD library," said Bob Chapek, president of both DEG and Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Burbank, Calif. "In fact, such strong player sales in the holiday season have enabled the entertainment industry to create a new 'fifth quarter' to continue the momentum from the fourth quarter and market titles to these new enthusiasts."
On the hardware front, DEG numbers based on data from the Consumer Electronics Association, Arlington, Va., indicated that more than 7.5 million DVD players were sold to consumers in the first quarter, a 13% increase over the year before. Since the launch of the format in 1997, more than 135 million DVD players have been sold to consumers, or 73 million individual households, accounting for the 46% of DVD owners who have more than one player. DEG estimated that more than 80% of U.S. households will own at least one DVD player by the end of this year.
Meanwhile, Rentrak Corp., Portland, Ore., has reported that national consumer spending on video rentals and previously viewed videos was up 3% in the first quarter, vs. last year. Using the company's Home Video Essentials purchase tracking system, Rentrak said this spending reached $2.44 billion for the quarter.
"While the VHS format is certainly on a downward trend, the market is being lifted by consumers' transference to DVDs and migration to online channels," said Brad Hackley, vice president, business development, Home Video Essentials.
DVD sales appear to be on strong footing in supermarkets, according to figures from the Strategic Planner of ACNielsen, Schaumburg, Ill. Attributed by industry observers to supermarkets' late start in DVD and the studios' recent marketing efforts in that channel, DVDs are now growing faster in supermarkets than in other classes of trade.
For the 52 weeks ended March 19, dollar sales of prerecorded video products were up 20.4% in supermarkets, vs. an 18.8% increase a year ago, ACNielsen data showed. Video represented more than $418 million in sales in that period for the food channel. This is in contrast to a 14.1% increase this year for the combined food, drug and mass stores (excluding Wal-Mart Stores) to more than $2.6 billion, and a negative 11.6% for drug stores to more than $138 million.