In Brazil, Video Market ‘Snow’-balls

In Brazil’s burgeoning video market, “Snow White” is the reigning queen. Disney licensee Abril Video launched the pic on the same November day it debuted as a sell-through item in the U.S., and the public has already snapped up 250,000 units.

That’s nearly 10 times the sales “Sleeping Beauty” made when Abril Video first tested sell-through five years ago. And with consumer confidence climbing, most of the other major studios are gearing up to make their own direct-sale debuts.

“The market’s been growing at 50% a year since 1990,” says Abril Video’s general manager Enrico Rastelli. Part of the giant Abril publishing and media group, the distribbery also handles Fox, and to date it has launched 30 or so titles from each studio.

Brazil’s sell-through market reached 1.5 million units last year, generating sales to the consumer of around $35 million. Rastelli estimates as many as 2.5 million units will be sold in 1995.

While sell-through markets often grow rapidly in their first five to seven years, Rastelli says Brazil’s economic boom has been a major help. The country’s GDP grew nearly 5% in 1994 and is set to best that this year, while monthly inflation is down from the 30% or more in recent years to just 1%.

That’s a big incentive for fellow distributors CIC (which handles Universal and Paramount), Warner and LKTel (the local licensee for Columbia) to launch direct product of their own.

LKTel general manager Philip Wojdyslawski is prepping at least 10 titles to test the waters this year, while CIC’s Marcos Rosset plans to release 40 to 50 pix within a year of entering the sell-through market in August.

But Rosset cautions that retailers and consumers have yet to be educated about sell-through of non-kiddie pix.

“There’s no dedicated video section in department stores – you see Disney videos sold next to toys,” Rosset says. “There’s still a lot to be done to convince stores to carry other titles.”

Warner Home Video made an initial attempt last year with classics including “Casablanca,” but Brazil director Omar Jundi says the market was very slow. Still, he aims to launch a series of kids’ titles in advance of Oct. 12, Children’s Day in Brazil.