U unifies vid strategy

Dinos back on top of evolutionary scale at Universal

LONDON — Universal Pictures Intl. announced it will release all new videos simultaneously on VHS and DVD beginning in 2002, with a window of just four to eight weeks between rental and sell-though.

This new international strategy will start with “Jurassic Park III,” which is due for video release early next year.

U describes this strategy as a “ground-breaking” move away from the traditional four- to six-month window between rental and sell-though, and from the widely varying gaps between VHS and DVD releases.

UPI president Peter Smith said the new policy is intended to boost, not squeeze, the rental business.

President of marketing Mary Daily explained, “By releasing rental and retail so closely together, both formats will benefit from combined marketing spends.

“Further, our extensive research shows that in almost every case, the intent to rent is always higher than the intent to purchase,” she said. “We therefore see this as a win-win situation.”

The change in strategy coincides with the end of the three-year deal under which Columbia TriStar has released U’s films on DVD, while U itself handled the VHS release. Beginning next year, UPI will handle both formats.

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