RETAILERS READY FOR DVD GIFT PUSH

Holiday-ready retailers are expecting a big payoff from everything DVD.DVDs have become a staple item for gift giving, and supermarkets, distributors and studios are working to provide consumers with every opportunity to purchase them. "Consumers love to give boxed sets, especially special editions and TV on DVD, as gifts. They love to receive them as well," said Sean Bersell, vice president, public

Holiday-ready retailers are expecting a big payoff from everything DVD.

DVDs have become a staple item for gift giving, and supermarkets, distributors and studios are working to provide consumers with every opportunity to purchase them. "Consumers love to give boxed sets, especially special editions and TV on DVD, as gifts. They love to receive them as well," said Sean Bersell, vice president, public affairs, Video Software Dealers Association, Encino, Calif. He added that the bargain DVD bin is great for stocking stuffers. "Supermarkets can do well with these," he said.

According to a recent study by DEG: the Digital Entertainment Group, Los Angeles, over half of consumers surveyed reported that they would be excited to receive a DVD movie for the holidays while a third reported that they would be excited to receive a TV DVD.

In addition, the study found that 75% of DVD households are watching DVDs in places other than the living room. Other locations include dens, home offices, bedrooms and kids' rooms. Sixteen percent of respondents reported watching DVDs outside of their home, for instance, in airplanes, trains, automobiles, and even while camping in the back yard.

The supermarket channel is "extremely effective, as they are ideal for reaching mothers and creating impulse-buying opportunities," said Anne Parducci, executive vice president of family entertainment and marketing, Lions Gate Home Entertainment, Santa Monica, Calif.

"When you are out there doing all your errands for the holidays, buying a DVD at the supermarket means there is one less place you have to go. The reason being you are automatically going to go to the supermarket and there will be DVDs ready to be picked up as gifts," said Amy Jo Smith, executive director, DEG, citing classic movies, TV and music titles are popular gift and impulse buys.

Holiday-themed titles are the big seller at K-VA-T Food Stores in Abingdon, Va. Christmas-themed titles traditionally do "really well," said Rachel Nichols, director of video operations at K-VA-T, even those from several years back like the "Home Alone" movies. Despite being out for years, "we still have customers looking for them," she said.

Nichols places these types of "old basics" where they're easily accessible and all together, she said.

"There will be strong occasion for consumers to buy seasonal releases," said Lori Macpherson, senior vice president of brand marketing, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Burbank, Calif.

Nichols and her team like to bring in shippers carrying a variety of products, both new releases and catalog.

This is a smart move, according to Macpherson. "Since shoppers will be looking for gifts for a myriad of people, December should be a strong time for all types of releases."

TV on DVD has been a hot category "and should continue to be," Macpherson noted, "especially since boxed sets make such great gifts."

Kids are also a major holiday focus. "From a strict supermarket perspective, I would be looking to really capitalize on that kids' gift giving that we see in the fourth quarter in this category," said Russ Crupnick, NPD Music & Movies, Port Washington, N.Y.

"There is certainly enough relatively new product, and a huge catalog of good product that could be used for driving impulse and gift giving at grocery," Crupnick said.

Capitalizing on that impulse, the fourth quarter also sees an increase in cross merchandising, said Nichols.

At K-VA-T, Nichols' department will prepare gift baskets, boxes or bags that include videos, candies and other munchies "to make it a package deal." The theme stretches to the stores' bakeries where seasonal Grinch cakes and other items are offered and cross merchandised.