SPECIAL-INTEREST GROWTH PROJECTED

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- Supermarkets are increasing their share of the special-interest video market, said Dick Kelly, president of Cambridge Associates, Stamford, Conn., a consulting firm to the video industry. Lower price points and tapes from the fitness and sports genres will help supermarkets grow in special interest sales about 9% to 10% beyond the video industry average, Kelly told SN during

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. -- Supermarkets are increasing their share of the special-interest video market, said Dick Kelly, president of Cambridge Associates, Stamford, Conn., a consulting firm to the video industry. Lower price points and tapes from the fitness and sports genres will help supermarkets grow in special interest sales about 9% to 10% beyond the video industry average, Kelly told SN during the recent Special Interest Video Association convention here. Kelly is a consultant to the video and television industries. "Supermarkets that are committed to selling video, and not just doing small displays, can do very well with special-interest, unless they pick very narrow titles, like 'Bird Watching for Eskimos,' " said Kelly. "If they stick with more general categories like documentary, fitness and sports, supermarkets are an ideal location for special-interest," he said. The distribution divisions of the major studios have taken a stronger position in special interest, Kelly noted, pointing to Columbia TriStar Home Video's deal to distribute National Geographic titles. "Good recognizable labels, like the yellow border of National Geographic, can only help in supermarkets," he said. The large wholesale distributors, like Ingram, ETD and Baker & Taylor, are following the studios' lead, he said. "Those big wholesalers generally will only handle the lines and names that they know. To the extent that the supermarkets are influenced by these wholesalers, special-interest will grow," he said. One supermarket chain that has made a significant commitment to special-interest is Stop & Shop, Boston, said Paul Caravatt, president of Special Interest Video Association, Norwalk, Conn. The SIVA offices are near one of Stop & Shop's freestanding video stores, he noted. "But as I travel around the country, I see some inroads, but not to the degree it should be," he said. Other retailers can learn from Stop & Shop, said Caravatt. "If you are going to do it, do it right. They've gotten into the business. When you go in there, it is like going into a video store where they know the business. The clerks know the business. It is not just an adjunct," he said. "People rent and purchase from places where they know they are going to get the products. So people near the Stop & Shop stores now know that this is an outlet that's got what they want," he said.