When you’re talking about direct marketers of books, music, and video, Amazon.com is probably the first merchant that comes to mind. But though Amazon and, to a lesser extent, multichannel merchant Barnes & Noble radically altered the book/music/video (BMV) marketplace — not to mention multichannel marketing overall — they are not included in this month’s report on the BMV list universe from New York-based media brokerage services firm ParadyszMatera. Why? Because neither company offers its buyers’ names for rent. Nor do several other well-known players in the market segment, among them discount bookseller Edward R. Hamilton and PBS Home Video.
For the second quarter of 2005, ParadyszMatera puts the total 12-month active universe of BMV catalog names available for rent at 4.1 million, accounting for approximately 2.4% of all consumer catalog buyers available for list rental or exchange. (Continuity clubs are excluded.) That’s up 6.5% from less than 3.9 million names for the second quarter of 2004. The top gainer during the past year was Acorn Direct. The cataloger, which specializes in videos and DVDs of British television programming, grew its active house file 60%, to 126,000 12-month buyers, due to increased prospecting and overall circ. Other titles with double-digit house file increases include BBC Britannia Masterfile, which combines buyers from the BBC America Shop video catalog and the now-defunct Britannia video catalog purchased from Target (up 30%, to 65,000 12-month buyers) and music merchant Heartland Country and Rock (up 27%, to more than 167,000 12-month buyers).
As have catalogers in other market niches, more BMV merchants are offering incentives than they have in the past. During the first half of 2005, a full third of the BMV catalogs tracked have offered at least one buyer incentive, compared with 20% during all of 2004. Mailers such as bookseller Bas Bleu, Heartland, and Movies Unlimited, which have stressed discount offers throughout the year, are driving this increase. Even so, free shipping and handling remains the most popular incentive, with 19% of BMV mailers offering it so far this year; only 12% have offered discounts, and just one cataloger, Critics’ Choice Video & DVD, has offered deferred payments.