Video: Niche-y and scratchy

Dunn and co. up revs 35%, maintain market-share

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment prexy Mike Dunn likes to lay claim to the title of “king of the niches.”

Fox Home Entertainment revenue grew 35% for the company’s fiscal year ending in June, thanks to a spectacular showing in various niche markets. (That’s compared to the overall homevid market climb of 10% in the past year.)

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  • It has a 42% share of the market for TV programs on DVD, thanks to 35 packages of 12 different TV series.

    “The Simpsons” has chalked up more than 1 million copies for each of its two seasons available in box sets. Also in the mix are releases of new shows such as “24,” and older series such as “MASH” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which earn consistently strong sales.

  • Fox also tops all rivals, with a 27% share, for the market that Dunn describes as urban films that are “aspirational” — such as “Drumline,” “Antwone Fisher,” “Like Mike” and “Brown Sugar.”

  • The division has been moving aggressively into the Spanish-language and kids markets and is about to launch into the Christian and music arenas.

Fox HE is exploiting the growing number of Spanish-language households in the U.S., which Dunn says stands at about 39 million, by acquiring titles that appeal to that market segment and producing Spanish-language dubs and captions for 100 titles in the Fox library.

And, in the kids market, the studio’s two volumes of new “Strawberry Shortcake” episodes has yielded sales of more than 1 million units.

While other studios are dropping the retail price of their own product, Fox is acquiring 100-odd smaller titles from indies like DEJ and Silver Nitrate. It’s been selling up to 1 million copies each on titles such as “Boondock Saints” starring Willem Dafoe and “RPM” at price points of $9.98.

In other words, Dunn (a longtime vet of the company who was officially handed the reins of president just five months ago) and his team are finding innovative ways to maintain market-share and grow the business.

Dunn has also started working other angles, such as re-releasing product with added value material at the same price as the original release, such as the two-disc DVD set called “Something More About Mary” that featured 15 minutes of incremental footage, and the “X-Men 1.5” double-disc set.

And, Dunn enjoys a nice big theatrical hit when it comes along. His unit drove “Ice Age” to become the fifth top money-making home video release of 2002 with more than $230 million, $55 million more than it made at theaters.