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Home Entertainment: A New Hope

Traditional Home Entertainment is Making a Comeback Via Creative Marketers

by Debbie Dunn

Deb Pix

It appears that the era of plummeting home entertainment (HE) revenue may finally be over. After seven straight years of red ink for the DVD biz, with $4 billion in losses between 2004-2011, consumers in the U.S. spent more money watching movies at home in 2012 than they did the previous year, according to Nielsen’s 2013 Consumption Trends Analysis. Rentrak also reports that in 2013, Transactional On-Demand movies generated $1.1 billion dollars. While the increase is small, experts see it as a sign that the industry could be stabilizing and that the studios’ digital strategy is finally starting to pay off.

The HE business has seen radical changes in the last decade. The traditional storefront video rental business is nearly obsolete. Former leaders, such as Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, have closed shop due to online streaming and VOD alternatives such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and more.

Rapid shifts in consumer viewing habits to download continue to put a damper on disc sales.  The good news amongst these precipitous changes is that people still continue to immerse themselves in top-shelf programming on 65+ inch HD TVs. And many who choose traditional TVs are also multi-tasking on second and even third screens simultaneously. So with digital in the mix, is there still a place for traditional DVDs and physical product? There is.

If anything is clear, it is that today’s business environment and challenging economy means that home entertainment marketers and manufacturers need to take a creative approach to make their products and businesses relevant and drive growth. In fact, retailers are getting on board with this strategy and demanding unique product from studios. Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy have all been known to require exclusive product to help drive sales.

The Shift from Creating Impressions to Building a Relationship with the Consumer

The shift to digital consumption has been especially strong with male fans of sci-fi, who were early adopters. Getting this group of fans to re-engage with DVDs presents a clear challenge and opportunity. It is the same audience that defines Snap Creative’s market for their home entertainment collector series.

“This is the beginning of a new renaissance for home entertainment,” states Bill Howard, CEO of Snap Creative.  “However, to keep moving profitably into the future, we have to ensure that a greater price value relationship must be offered to the collector.” Snap Creative has been crafting and engineering high quality, clever DVD packaging for some of the largest entertainment companies in the business, including DreamWorks, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Sony, and more. Their designs are highly sought-after by collectors across the globe with their products often quadrupling in value on after-market sites such as eBay.  “This isn’t a value proposition,” declares Howard.  “It is about offering this consumer high-quality, authentic items that they can show off.”

The Musically Inspired Collector

So how do you get a generation of kids of the digital age to buy physical product instead of download? Make it collectible. Case in point, Katy Perry’s studio album Prism.


Perry’s limited edition “Zinepack” was available exclusively at Wal-Mart and included a CD, with a 64-page exclusive lyric booklet featuring an in-depth interview with Perry and dozens of gorgeous pictures, a “plantable” paper logo with special wildflower seeds, nail decals, temporary tattoos, an embroidered patch, and more.  The offering made teens koo-koo for “Wally World,” and the album debuted atop the US Billboard 200 to become Perry’s fastest-selling album to date.

Purple Care Bear with DVD

Marketing Home Entertainment on the Big Screen–AKA: Alternative Content

Other creative marketers are capitalizing on the power of the big screen to drive brand awareness and product sales. With a near 60 percent recall rate on advertising in theater compared to a 42 percent TV recall rate, according to Nielsen, property owners such as American Greetings see their promotional entertainment distribution in theater as money well spent to help support DVD sales. Jonathan Dern, CEO of Kidtoon Films, the long-running (and soon re-launching) family theatrical matinee program, says “Kidtoons gives families a chance to share the big screen experience together—truly co-viewing. And it doesn’t matter if it’s Star Wars or Strawberry Shortcake, seeing it on the big screen is impactful, which translates to sales in other areas. Our program further helps our partners really connect with the Chief Household Officer (mom.)”

A Little Taste to Entice Sales

For some, toys and other consumer products can also be used to support traditional DVD sales.  AG Properties has been doing this successfully over the last 10 years with its Care Bears brand. “It’s part of our big picture approach to marketing our brands,” states Janice Ross, VP of Marketing for AG Properties. “These days it’s important to connect with the consumer on every level. Each category supports one another; all leading to the brand’s overall long-term success.”


For years AG has been successful with a GWP retail program which includes a free DVD sold with a Care Bears plush, which generally contains about 20 minutes worth of content from the latest HE installment. “The idea is to whet the consumers’ appetite, introduce them to the Care Bears entertainment, and drive them to purchase the full DVD,” says Ross. This tactic has worked for AG and their partners, with the special toy SKU often being a driving force in the overall successful of the entire line. Plans are to continue this tradition once again, this fall, when new Care Bears plush by Just Play launches at retail.

A New Milestone

Anniversaries, holiday, and other themed offerings help give brand owners another bite at the traditional home entertainment apple. Often, these milestones seem to be a cause for great collector celebration. The Care Bear example above all started with a special 25th anniversary Bear.

If you can describe your property as timeless, ageless, classic or immortal, then milestones can really work to your advantage. In 2012, in celebration of the 30th anniversary of E.T., Snap Creative, in partnership with Universal, released a limited edition of a Blu-Ray, with “digibook” and limited-edition spaceship, complete with lights, music, and fold out display with a mini E.T. figure.

JP 1

Snap did something similar with Universal for Jurassic Park. For Jurassic Park’s 20th anniversary in 2013, the DVD set included a highly detailed, action-oriented statue. Fans happily took a bite of it for $119.98, and Universal again saw a revenue stream for a decades-old property.

So Will Digital Kill the DVD Star?

Over the last seven years, HE has been hard hit, and weak consumer spending is not the only culprit. Desperate for revenue, media companies have dumped more obscure titles into the market, unfortunately leading to pricing pressure for all titles. Meanwhile, consumers continue to be more selective, and digital downloads increasingly cut into traditional DVD sales.

In the next five years, digital video profits are expected to more than double according to PWC.  But whether by disc or digital, we see that HE continues to be profitable. Does this mean that the DVD’s days are numbered? Maybe. But with the case studies discussed, whether young or old, collectors still enjoy physical product in creative packaging. So let’s not close the book just yet.

Debbie Dunn is an account executive at GennComm, which is a communications, strategy and connections agency focused on toys, kids entertainment, licensing and consumer products. GennComm is headquartered in Los Angeles, CA and headed up by Genna Rosenberg, who boast 20 years of experience in the world of consumer products public relations. The company’s website is

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One Response

  1. AndrewKab says:

    Существует такая услуга – добровольное медицинское обслуживание (или ДМО).
    Она предполагает, что пациент вносит небольшую сумму за то, что ходит на прием весь год бесплатно.
    Однако опросы показывают, что лишь 3% жителей Санкт-Петербурга знают об этом.
    Почему так происходит?
    Да потому что клиникам выгоднее брать плату за каждое посещение.
    А если честный врач попытается посоветовать добровольное медицинское обслуживание клиенту – это сулит ему увольнением.
    Информация о ДМО уже вызвала множество скандалов, после того как информацию об услуге рассекретил один возмущенный врач.
    Его уволили , после того, как он посоветовал ДМО постоянному клиенту.
    Самое ужасное, что информация по ДМО присутствуют в открытом доступе, просто находили на эту информацию единицы.
    Как отстоять свои права?
    О правилах оказания такой услуги и обязанностях клиник можно узнать, просто вбив в Яндекс фразу: “добровольное медицинское обслуживание”.
    И именно обслуживание, а не страхование.


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