Kim Bayley on the BVA's Video Insight Seminar

Friday July 17, 2015

Trust a retailer to tell it how it is. That was one clear takeaway from yesterday's Video Insight Day held by the BVA and supported by ERA.  Amid the glitzy presentation, lavish eats and hardcore security (attendees had to check in their phones and sign an NDA!) the presentation from Tesco Non-Food Category Director Ian Ditcham tackled one of the biggest challenges in the video industry with laser-precision: the negative effects of early digital release windows.

The ERA Manifesto, published in February, identified the issue.

"The video industry seems wedded to inconsistent windowing strategies," we said, "with titles available on download-to-own platforms far earlier than on physical formats.

"Studios need to adopt windowing strategies that work for the customer and recognise that a customer should not be forced to choose between physical and digital."

Ian Ditcham amplified the point at yesterday's event effectively telling video distributors: releasing digital before physical reduces the effects of in-store efforts and theatre.  In essence there's no point putting in enormous effort to promote something which has already lost its sparkle.

Instead, he said, the video industry should look to the example of the hugely successful games industry which has proven it can sell digital around physical, growing the overall market, rather than selling digital at the expense of physical.

The answer he said is more cross category promotion and cross physical/digital promotion.

To be fair many studios have acknowledged the point. In ERA's rounds of meetings with the video industry to discuss our Manifesto, many of them have acknowledged the need to do more to support Blu-ray and DVD.

The point now is surely to back up those kind words with action. As presentation after presentation pointed out, consumer appetite for physical formats is still robust. It is way too premature to push customers towards digital by using artificial windowing strategies.

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