VIDEO RENTAL ROUNDUP

Costs Said to Cut Blockbuster Profitated with Blockbuster Entertainment's copy-depth-oriented promotional programs are cutting into earnings, according to analysts quoted in recent media reports. This is apparently affecting the efforts of parent Viacom, New York, to make a public offering of Blockbuster stock. Viacom plans to file a registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission early next

Costs Said to Cut Blockbuster Profit

ated with Blockbuster Entertainment's copy-depth-oriented promotional programs are cutting into earnings, according to analysts quoted in recent media reports. This is apparently affecting the efforts of parent Viacom, New York, to make a public offering of Blockbuster stock. Viacom plans to file a registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission early next month, the company said.

Blockbuster's earnings will decline as much as 16%, the analysts are quoted as saying. "They're buying market share," said Tom Wolzien, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., New York. He estimated that same-store sales, adjusted for new-store openings, grew 15% in the first quarter. This comes at a time when the overall video-rental market declined 10%, according to New York research firm Alexander & Associates. Blockbuster's cash flow will drop 15%, Wolzien stated. If it doesn't increase earnings, that will negatively affect the price of Blockbuster stock, analysts said.

WaxWorks Site Adds to Service

OWENSBORO, Ky. -- Video distributor WaxWorks Video Works here has added an on-line service allowing retailers to access their account information from the company's Web site: www.waxworksonline.com.

"WaxWorks was the first video distributor to allow customers to place orders and check inventory availability on-line," said Kirk Kirkpatrick, vice president of marketing.

"This addition allows customers to check on their orders 24 hours a day, and includes ship dates, cost, quantities and even a complete record of all shipments made to stores in the past seven days," added Ron Boerner, chief information officer.

Top 10 Supermarket Video Rental Titles

Last

Rank Wk Title (Wks Out)

The Waterboy (4)

1 2 Buena Vista $108.97

Pleasantville (3)

2 3 New Line $107.37

Meet Joe Black (1)

3 N Universal $107.37

The Rugrats Movie (2)

4 1 Paramount $26.99

I Still Know What You (1)

5 N Did Last Summer Columbia $107.37

Mighty Joe Young (3)

6 4 Buena Vista $24.99

What Dreams May Come (5)

7 5 PolyGram $108.97

Ever After (6)

8 6 Fox $19.98

Bulworth (4)

9 9 Fox $108.97

Snake Eyes (8)

10 7 Paramount $108.97

N=New Week ended April 4

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.