LAS VEGAS -- With a diverse product offering, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, Beverly Hills, Calif., is focusing its newly integrated marketing efforts on Halloween.
The video unit of recently created Fox Consumer Products is backing its third-quarter program by spending more than $150 million on marketing efforts, said Pat Wyatt, president of Fox Consumer Products. The creation of the division brought all Fox products sold at retail, including video, under one umbrella with "a new vision," she said.
"Fox is committed to helping retailers be more effective in presenting entertainment in their stores," said Wyatt. "We are trying to build partnerships for the long term. We are flexible and we have realigned ourselves internally to provide service to the retailer. They don't have to navigate through the studio to try and get something done. We are poised and ready to work with them," she said.
This product integration was in evidence during the Video Software Dealers Association show here earlier this month. Fox turned its meeting-room space into showrooms demonstrating how its various lines of videos and consumer products, like "The Simpsons" and "X-Files," could be put together in-store. This was the first time a studio attempted such an approach at the VSDA, said industry observers.
"We are just trying to provide solutions and make it easy for retailers," said Wyatt. "That's why we want to show them what it can look like at VSDA instead of just talking about it. Because we are so well integrated internally, we can bring all that showmanship to life. We offer one-stop shopping for the retailer," she said.
The third-quarter program focuses on a new direct-to-video title, "Casper Meets Wendy," which streets Sept. 22 and prebooks Sept. 2 with a suggested retail price of $19.98. The title includes cross promotions with Hershey, General Mills, Hardees and Carls Jr.
Other sell-through titles for the third quarter include the "Planet of the Apes" movie series, which is available individually at a $14.98 SRP, or in a five-pack for $49.98. Street date is Aug. 18 with a July 31 prebook. "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" has been repackaged with bonus footage in time for Halloween, priced at a $14.98 SRP for pan-and-scan and $19.98 for widescreen, with a Sept. 15 street date and an Aug. 28 prebook. Fox will debut the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" television series on video in three tapes containing two episodes each. "Buffy" also streets Sept. 15 at a price of $14.98 per tape or $39.98 for a three-pack gift set.
Fox's long list of other third-quarter releases includes three new "Lost In Space" videos, three more titles in the "Ultimate Goosebumps" series, a holiday catalog promotion and a number of BBC titles combined in a "BBC Christmas" promotion. Rental titles like "The Object of My Affection," "Great Expectations" and "Two Girls and a Guy" also will be coming out along with CBS/Fox sports videos like "Unforgetabulls," the official NBA championship tape, and "Return to Hockey Town," the official NHL championship tape.
"We are trying to provide year-round opportunities for retailers that make sense. We are trying to maximize every opportunity," said Wyatt. Besides Fox licensed merchandise, she noted that the Hershey and General Mills tie-ins will be very effective. "They can build some pretty great-looking displays in supermarkets," she said, noting that General Mills has a good track record in communicating cross-merchandising opportunities to retailers and that Hershey's candy will be "everywhere" prior to Halloween.
Not every title will be appropriate for every retailer, "but there is something for every possible kind of retailer and their consumers," added Steve Feldstein, vice president of communications.
"We are trying to be topical and increase the impulse purchases," said Wyatt. "We are trying to do this thoughtfully and strategically. We are not trying to shove this concept down people's throats. We want to pique retailers' interest and work with them to meet their specific needs. We try to recognize each one of them as unique and make them understand how Fox can bring entertainment to their retail outlets while giving them increased margin opportunities as well."