ELECTRONIC CATALOGS: No buzz on DVDs catch on?

DVD-ROMs (digital versatile disc-read only memory) offer greater media capability – more than two hours of video – than CD-ROMs, and seven times the storage capacity, making them a viable alternative for business catalogers.

“If you want to show a lot of video to demonstrate your catalog products, sometimes a CD-ROM can cut you short on video clips,” says Michael Cohen, corporate accounts director for Millstar Electronic Publishing Group, a Langhorne, PA-based e-commerce systems provider. “You don’t have the same limitation with a DVD.”

Although DVDs hold 68 gigabytes (or 680 megabytes) per side, compared to 4.7 gigabytes for CD-ROMs, the twomedia nonetheless cost about the same to produce. As an example of CD-ROM costs, Lincolnshire, IL-based office supplies cataloger Quill Corp., which shipped 200,000 CD-ROM catalogs this past March, spent $500,000 on CD-ROMs for the year.

DVDs do have at least one drawback, however: They require customers to install DVD player attachments to their computers. This could be one reason none of the mailers contacted by Catalog Age planned to produce DVD catalogs anytime soon.

Another reason is that catalogers are focusing on their Websites rather than other electronic media. Such is the case with Quill, says director of e-commerce Lowell Meyers.

“We’re in a holding pattern for our CD-ROM,” he says. “We’re not very enthusiastic about investing more time or money into CD-ROMs or, especially, DVDs.” But Quill still plans to maintain its CD-ROM catalog for those customers committed to that channel, Meyers adds.