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Old 11-16-2008   #1
TheMoose
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Cool Blu-Ray Holiday deals

From Video Business

Blu-ray Disc and DVD will be prominently featured in a variety of retailers’ after-Thanksgiving, or “Black Friday,” sales, with stores looking to use the new format to generate excitement among consumers wary of spending in the current economy.

Upcoming bargains include $10.87 Blu-ray titles including Warner Home Video’s March of the Penguins, Wyatt Earp and The Aviator at Sam’s Club, according to early advertising scans circulating the Web. That tag chops several dollars off the titles’ regular price and makes them about $1 cheaper than their standard-def versions at retailers including Amazon.com.

Sam’s Club officials declined to comment on the leaked ads.

Amazon will offer thousands of Blu-ray and standard-def titles at 40% to 60% discounts Nov. 26 through Dec. 2.

“We know that people want low prices, and that’s what we will continue to focus on,” Amazon spokeswoman Tammy Hovey said.

DVDEmpire.com will hold its first Black Friday sale dedicated exclusively to Blu-ray. The online seller will market the event as ‘Blu Friday’ and will offer hefty discounts on major and indie studio titles Nov. 28-30.

“We will be offering a wide variety of Blu-ray releases, both new titles and catalog titles, at prices significantly below our normal DVDEmpire asking price,” said Shannon Nutt, the site’s editorial director.

He declined to specify titles and price but said a wide range of titles from major and indie suppliers will be included.

The e-tailer hopes its software bargains will serve as an attractive complement to fast declining prices on Blu-ray hardware.

“We’re doing this because we feel this holiday season is a very important one for the format. We feel it it’s time for Blu-ray to start taking a more front-and-center spotlight on DVDEmpire,” said Nutt. “This ‘Blu Friday’ sale will be the first of many steps DVDEmpire will be taking over the next year to achieve that goal.”

Virgin Megastores will cut $20 off Lionsgate’s Blu-ray versions of the first season of Mad Men and third season of Weeds, originally priced at $49.99 and $39.99, respectively.

“Although people typically come out in droves on Thanksgiving weekend, people will be much more selective in their shopping habits in the current climate and will be relying on deep discounts more this year,” Virgin senior catalog manager Chris Anstey said. “We’ll be promoting these titles in circulars, so there should hopefully be a good buzz on these offers.”

On the hardware side, K-mart is expected to offer Sony’s BD Live-ready BDP-S350 stand-alone player on Thanksgiving Day for $179.99, according to ads. The retailer’s sister Sears chain will similarly roll out the same player for that price.

Radio Shack will drop Samsung’s BD-P1500 player by $100 to $199 on Black Friday, according to ads.

K-mart and Radio Shack didn’t immediately respond for comment.

Some retailers wish studios could have gone further in facilitating Blu-ray sales. To date, only Warner and Lionsgate have offered long-term re-pricing on several releases in the format.

“We are trying to press this new medium at a time with a lot of [economic] difficulties, and we need help in pushing that medium,” Newbury Comics buyer Ian Leshin said. “If customers are looking at whether to buy Blu-ray or DVD, [customers might say] ‘Sure it’s better to have the Blu-ray extras, but is it $10 better?’”

He adds, “I do think studios should do more to encourage people to buy Blu-ray, especially the catalog titles, where there doesn’t seem to be marketing in place. You see tons of commercials for the new releases, but people don’t know about the older releases.”

Blu-ray offers will have to compete with other Black Friday home entertainment deals, spanning standard-def DVDs and videogames.

Wal-Mart is expected to return with a $1.99 Black Friday standard DVD offer, according to sources. This deal should prove successful, featuring relatively recent, $100 million box-office titles, they say.

One studio source described it “as a very low hot offer this year that will drive tremendous traffic and attention.”

During Black Friday 2006, Wal-Mart first rolled out the $1.99 DVD offer, which was considered an unprecedented holiday low-price at the time.

K-mart is expected to roll out $3.99 deals on 3:10 to Yuma, The Fantastic Four and Shrek 2, among others.

Virgin will cut pricing by 50% on recent major releases, including Universal Studios Home Entertainment’s The Incredible Hulk and Forgetting Sarah Marshall; Warner’s Sex and the City: The Movie and Speed Racer; and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s You Don’t Mess With the Zohan.

The specialty retailer slimmed many of the films’ tags through extensive point-of-sale Black Friday rebates, in which retailers can discount titles due to studio cash they receive when discs sell.
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