RENTAL ROUNDUP

BlowOut Reports Sales Up AgainEntertainment here has reported same-store sales increases of 11% for its first quarter. This follows a strong fourth quarter when same-store sales rose 9%."We are very pleased with the continued improvement in revenue and same-store sales in the first quarter of 1998, as well as the significant reduction in net loss achieved by the company," said Steve Berns, president

BlowOut Reports Sales Up Again

Entertainment here has reported same-store sales increases of 11% for its first quarter. This follows a strong fourth quarter when same-store sales rose 9%.

"We are very pleased with the continued improvement in revenue and same-store sales in the first quarter of 1998, as well as the significant reduction in net loss achieved by the company," said Steve Berns, president and chief executive officer. He noted that BlowOut operated about 20 fewer stores than in the comparable 1997 period.

Revenues for the first quarter, which ended March 31, were $7.9 million, an increase of 4% over the $7.6 million the company posted in first quarter 1997. BlowOut has leased-space video departments in Wal-Mart, Kmart and Fred Meyer supercenters, as well as in Ralphs supermarkets.

Live Relocates, Renamed 'Artisan'

SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Live Entertainment Companies has been renamed Artisan Entertainment and has relocated here from its former headquarters in Van Nuys, Calif.

" 'Artisan' best described our drive and dedication in bringing quality entertainment to audiences," said Mark Curcio, chief executive officer.

The new 40,000-square-foot headquarters will house all divisions of the company. Artisan also is increasing its presence in New York and Europe and has named John Josephson, a director of the investment bank Allen and Company, New York, to its board of directors.

Audiobook Month Set for June

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. -- The Audio Publishers Association has set June as "Audiobook Month," a month-long, national awareness campaign. The theme for the event, "Are You Listening?" will be highlighted by special displays, giveaways and in-store events.

The event grew out of a four- city test conducted last year by the Ingram Book Company, La Vergne, Tenn., and five large audio publishers. Audio books will approach $2 billion in sales this year, according to the APA. They are sold by supermarkets with book sections and rented by grocers with video rental departments.

The promotion will launch on May 30 with the presentation of the third annual Audie Awards in Chicago.

Top 10 Supermarket Video Rental Titles

Title (Weeks Out) Studio Retail Last Week

1 Flubber (3) Buena Vista $22.99 2

2 Anastasia (2) Fox $26.98 1

3 Mousehunt (1) Dreamworks $22.99 New

4 Alien Resurrection (1) Fox $107.37 New

5 The Jackal (2) Universal $107.37 3

6 L.A. Confidential (3) Warner $107.37 4

7 Copland (3) Buena Vista $107.37 5

8 Kiss the Girls (4) Paramount $105.77 7

9 I Know What You Did... (7) Columbia $106.97 6

10 Seven Years in Tibet (5 ) Columbia $106.97 8

The chart at right, tailored for the supermarket video market, is based on information taken from more than 1,000 supermarket rental locations serviced by Ingram Entertainment, La Vergne, Tenn.