RENTAL ROUNDUP

Warner Planning DVD Rental Testome Video has announced plans to test a DVD rental program beginning this month in five cities: Dallas; Philadelphia; Portland, Ore.; Richmond, Va.; and San Francisco. The program is designed to enable rental retailers an opportunity to participate in the DVD business."DVD is expected to be in a million homes by early 1999," said Thomas Lesinski, senior vice president

Warner Planning DVD Rental Test

ome Video has announced plans to test a DVD rental program beginning this month in five cities: Dallas; Philadelphia; Portland, Ore.; Richmond, Va.; and San Francisco. The program is designed to enable rental retailers an opportunity to participate in the DVD business.

"DVD is expected to be in a million homes by early 1999," said Thomas Lesinski, senior vice president for marketing and development at Warner Home Video. "The rapid growth in DVD households now makes DVD rental a viable business opportunity for rental retailers."

About 10% of supermarket retailers already are renting DVD, according to SN's recent video survey.

The Warner program is available in three packages: eight DVD players and 180 software units; four players and 90 software units; or two players and 45 software units. The packages for the five test markets can be ordered only through May 31. Warner will support the program with television, magazine and newspaper consumer advertising, along with point-of-purchase materials.

Meanwhile, the DVD Video Group, Los Angeles, has reported that 19 new, second-generation DVD players will be brought to market in the second quarter of 1998, including portable models, multiple disc changers and lower-priced entry-level players.

Wegmans Is Tying Rental With Popcorn

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Wegmans Food Markets here is tying in Pop Secret microwave popcorn with the chain's video rental program with a coupon offering a free rental. The coupons are displayed in the popcorn section on shelf-talker cards. They offer a free rental with the purchase of any two Pop Secret products.

The coupon is apparently good on new-release titles as well as catalog as it states no limitations. The offer is only valid in the chain's Buffalo and Rochester marketing areas and expires June 30. A Wegmans official declined to comment on the promotion.

The coupon reads: "Keep your Wegmans' register receipt. With your purchase of any two Pop Secret products you'll receive a free video rental from Wegmans' video. Simply bring your Wegmans' receipt to the video counter with the two Pop Secret purchases circled and you'll receive a free video rental."

MGM, Major Join Revenue Sharing

MGM Home Entertainment, Santa Monica, Calif., and distributor Major Video Concepts, Indianapolis, have signed deals with the two shared-transaction fee companies, Rentrak Corp., Portland, Ore., and SuperComm, Dallas.

Major is the second of the traditional distributors to embrace shared revenue. Ingram Entertainment, La Vergne, Tenn., was first last month. Revenue sharing on a per-transaction basis was given new impetus because of a new marketing program from Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Burbank, Calif., and the move of Blockbuster Entertainment, Dallas, into it.

The first MGM title available under revenue sharing will be the James Bond movie "Tomorrow Never Dies," which will be released tomorrow. According to press reports, the title has prebooked more than 1 million units, 20% more than "The Rock," which was previously the highest, prebooking 830,000 units. "The Rock" also was available under revenue sharing.

In other news, Rentrak has announced that it is suing Hollywood Entertainment, Portland, Ore., for breach of contract and that it is expanding into the United Kingdom.

Top 10 Supermarket Video Rental Titles

Title (Weeks Out) Studio Retail Last Week

1Flubber (1) Buena Vista $22.99 New

2L.A. Confidential (1 Warner 107.37 New

3Kiss the Girls (2) Paramount 105.77 2

4Copland (1) Buena Vista 107.37 New

5I Know What You Did... (5) Columbia 106.97 3

6Air Force One (11) Columbia 22.95 1

7Seven Years in Tibet (3) Columbia 106.97 4

8Red Corner (3) MGM 104.16 5

9Mimic (6) Buena Vista 104.16 6

10The Peacemaker (7) Universal 107.37 9

This chart, 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.