Sunday, December 28, 2014

'Hunger Games' Sells Well, But Vid Disc Future's NSG

The home video release of "The Hunger Games" pulled out purchasers by the droves. Still the future forecasts home video are sending major players like Redbox and DTS scrambling.

'Hunger Games' Sells Well, But Vid Disc Future's NSG

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"Indiana Jones" box will get a marthon-length send-off.

With a lot of hooplah, the home video release of "The Hunger Games" pulled out passionate purchasers this weekend. And an upcoming theater promotion for the long overdue "Indiana Jones" Blu-ray box set is likely to create a buzz. Still, the future forecasts for home video movie viewing are sending major players like Redbox and DTS scrambling for higher ground.

Diehard devotees were out in droves for the DVD and Blu-ray releases of "The Hunger Games" on Saturday night at midnight. A number of party-throwing retailers reporting complete sellouts of inventory, said www.comicbook.com.  But when Gizmo Guy checked the inventory at my South Philly  Target store last night, the shelves were freshly restocked, including for the Target-exclusive 3 disc Blu-ray/DVD/Ultra-Violet copy Collectors Edition (about $25) with extra-extras about the making of the super-popular film and book series.

Lucas Films and Paramount are hoping to stir up similar excitement  for the overdue high def  boxing (and Sept. 18 home release) of "Indiana Jones-The Complete Adventures Blu ray." Three days earlier, AMC theaters will run an "Indiana Jones" marathon  on 69 screens across the country. Locally, you can dress the part and hop the globe with the world's most adventurous archeologist in all-day affairs (starting at 10:30 a.m.) at AMC Cherry Hill 24, Neshaminy 24 and Plymouth Meeting 24.  The $25 admission includes some commemorative items and a $5 kick back to your AMC Stubs account. 

The drum beats of Hollywood studios are clearly designed to drown out the reports that hard goods video sales are off -  DVD down, Blu-ray up but not enough -  while  instant streaming video rentals are way up. In separate investor  calls last week, both video disc renter Redbox and multi-channel sound  tech company DTS shared  future strategies for growth and survival in a smaller (or non-) hardgoods world.

Coinstar is banking on brand recognition to jump start its’ Redbox Instant by Verizon business which will compete soon with Netflix, Vudu and Amazon video streaming operations, said CEO Paul Davis during a recent webcast. Also, Coinstar is looking to convert or add to its supermarket-placed videodisc rental kiosks with other vending machines hawking everything from coffee to used electronics. Most intriguing is the ECO ATM, a kiosk where consumers will recycle cellphones for cash or store value. You place the phone on a platform within the kiosk. The device is photographed from all sides and automatically identified. Then a robotic arm plugs a cable into it to check functionality and erase all data, if you wish.

DTS is well known as creator of high end audio coding (codecs) used on movie soundtracks and playback gear for theaters and home video discs. But a surprised DTS actually made more money last quarter from streaming media than it did from Blu-ray titles and gear, said CEO Jon Kirchner. He’s predicting “modest growth” for Blu-ray (and continued slide in DVD sales), with Blu-ray peaking in 2014-2015. For future survival, DTS aims to promote its enhanced audio tech – from both DTS and newly acquired SRS Sound Labs – to concerns that stream video and the makers of internet-connected playback boxes and televisions. DTS already has agreements in place with seven of the top 10 TV makers, including Samsung, LG and Sharp, said the executive.

 

Jonathan Takiff Daily News Columnist
About this blog
Jonathan Takiff covers all manner of high tech gadgets – and the entertaining stuff you play on them – for the Philadelphia Daily News, philly.com and the McClatchy Tribune News Service.

Jonathan Takiff Daily News Columnist
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