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Chubby DVD cases get a slenderizing makeover

Old 04-05-07, 02:13 PM
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Chubby DVD cases get a slenderizing makeover

April 05, 2007


Chubby DVD cases get a slenderizing makeover; Fans, retailers are running out of space

Thomas K. Arnold

DVD shelves getting full?

Studio executives are concerned that one reason DVD sales have flattened while rentals are increasing is that movie lovers are running out of room -- as are the stores that sell them.

While rental spending rose 15% last year, from $6.5 billion in 2005 to $7.5 billion in 2006, DVD sales have flattened, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

So the big push right now in the DVD industry is to slim down.

*Studios increasingly are using "slim packs," plastic sleeves about half as thick as standard DVD cases, for collections of older films.

MGM's latest five-disc Rocky set, for example, comes in a box just 11/2 inches wide, as opposed to more than 3inches for the previous set, in which all five movies were packaged in standard "keep cases."

*TV DVD collections also are getting thinner. Season 2 of Alias was 2 inches thick; Season 5 checks in at three-quarters of an inch. Buena Vista Home Entertainment released the entire five-season series of Alias. The 29-disc set takes up just 5inches of shelf space.

Now Paramount Home Entertainment has released the complete first season of Family Ties in a standard DVD case, with the four discs embedded in the inside covers and on two hinged pockets.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has taken the dramatic step of packaging all its multi-disc TV DVD sets in boxed slim packs. "We conducted research and talked to our retail partners," says Sony's Marc Rashba. "The overwhelming response was to create dynamic packages that do not cannibalize shelf space."

George Feltenstein of Warner Home Video says the collections of classic movies for which his studio is known also are moving into slim packs.

"We received a lot of feedback from consumers requesting we move to slim packs as people were running out of home shelf space," he says.

Shout! Factory, which specializes in cult TV DVD, is now routinely using standard-size DVD packaging for its four-disc sets of shows such as Men Behaving Badly.

"When the market was young and we were still trying to convince consumers to build DVD libraries, more packaging meant a greater wow factor," company president Garson Foos says. "Now, with home libraries packed to the gills and the increased popularity of portable players, consumers are looking for more compact packages."

Consumers such as Jeff Slankard are grateful that DVD collections are slimming down. "I'm out of room," says Slankard, an Oceanside, Calif., wine buyer who says he lost track some time ago of how many DVDs he has. "They're spilling out of the closet. I even considered taking them out of the packages to save space, but I hate to lose the information that's on the covers."

The DVD Release Report shows that while the number of catalog releases fell from 739 in 2004 to 435 last year, the number of movies contained in those release counts slipped from 843 to 678.

"The title drop-off isn't nearly as steep as the release drop-off," says the tip sheet's editor, Ralph Tribbey. "Studios are just putting more titles in a single release."

Tribbey says anime suppliers were the first to package DVDs in slimmer packages. "They occupy a real niche, so they were almost like the canaries in a cage," he says. "Then came television, and now more and more feature films are being bundled in slim packs. Putting them out one at a time just isn't productive anymore."
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Old 04-05-07, 11:22 PM
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I'm glad that boxsets are going almost exclusively to slim packs.
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