DVDs Merchants Doing Fine

Apr 24, 2009 10:30 AM  By

Are you staying at home more these days? Many consumers are, thanks to the economy. And that’s been good for some catalogers, such as the companies selling specialty DVDs.

Kino, for instance, specializes in classics and foreign language arts films and produces its own documentaries. The merchant’s sales were up 3% for holiday 2008 vs. the same period in 2007, says director of marketing Reid Rossman. Spring is so far is about 2% over last year—which was 20% over spring 2007.

It helps that Kino dropped its first prospecting catalog this spring to 35,000 potential buyers. The prospecting version is a full-size catalog; Kino’s house file buyers receive a slim-jim size book.

Kino used to rely solely on bringing in inventory that would be the best match for its core customers rather than expanding its audience, says Rossman. “We were working on our house list and refining our circulation, but we weren’t necessarily mailing to as wide a base as we should.”

Rossman says Kino now includes a bounceback card with each DVD order so the recipient can order a catalog. And Kino is also doing display ads in magazines like Harper’s and Atlantic to find more customers. “The advertisements are not a hot a huge number, but an exercise in lead generation,” he says.

How are other DVD and video merchants doing? Movies Unlimited had a “very good fourth quarter, and this year will be good as well, possibly our most profitable year ever,” says general manager Ed Weiss, though he would not provide specifics.

Not all parts of our industry are doing well, Weiss explains. “We do well because we have cultivated a niche with movie collectors that we basically own. It does help that DVDs are an inexpensive source of entertainment, but that doesn’t really explain our success.

What does help? The fact that there are fewer outlets for buying DVDs at retail, with stores such as Circuit City, Musicland, and Virgin shutting their doors. “That only bodes well for us,” Weiss says.

Want to read about more marketers doing well right now? Look for the May issue of Multichannel Merchant.