Vid firms quick to market Clinton tape

Exec sez MVP will sell 30,000-50,000 copies over 2-3 weeks

The minute President Clinton’s testimony streamed over live television, a handful of quick-turnaround video specialists was plugged into the feed and then off to duplication houses for processing.

By late Monday, duplication machines were filled with four hours of Clinton’s testimony. The first batch of videos is scheduled to ship Thursday, meaning they would be available on store shelves Friday morning for $9.99.

MVP Home Entertainment, which was the first to release a Princess Diana video days after her fatal car crash, is expected to again be the first, this time with “The President’s Testimony: Clinton Under Oath.”

“We had people calling us the minute Congress ordered the video released,” said Darryle Kanouse, general sales manager for MVP. “Demand for these type of events peaks quickly, so you have to respond even quicker.”

Kanouse said he expected to sell between 30,000 and 50,000 units during the next two to three weeks.

On Friday, Monarch Home Video will release its version titled: “The Presidency in Disgrace?” for $9.99, and MPI Home Video is releasing “The Grand Jury Testimony of William Jefferson Clinton” Sept. 30.

All versions are expected to be unedited and straight from the congressional feed delivered to the public Monday morning.

While the testimony and the video are in the public domain, quick turnaround such as this usually requires the cooperation of a broadcaster, one industry source said.

The Internet was first to make the Kenneth Starr report available to the public and in the case of Clinton’s videotaped testimony, the Internet was the first taking orders.

MPI’s $9.95 version was the top-selling video on Monday and another online retailer, VideoServe, was doing brisk business selling the Monarch version of the Clinton testimony for just 1 cent. Meanwhile, online DVD specialist NetFlix is promising to deliver its DVD version of the 240-minute testimony to its customers by the end of the week for $9.95.

(Brett Sporich is a reporter for Video Business magazine.)

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