Packaging can often make or break product sales at retail. And as Australian video distributor Roadshow Entertainment is learning, the adage is especially true when it comes to moving preschool DVDs.
The company, along with key preschool video partner ABC Enterprises, has created a new DVD packaging solution that’s driven back-catalogue sales up 20% and re-established a category presence at Australia’s big three mass merchants, Target, Big W and Kmart. (Together the three account for 75% of all kids video sales in Australia.) The good news for preschool content owners and video distributors on this side of the world – who are currently contorting under the double whammy of shrinking shelf space and digital downloading – is that the innovative handle-box packaging is soon coming over from down under.
Roadshow director of business development Grahame Grassby says the brightly colored, toyetic handle boxes were created to boost underwhelming preschool DVD sales. Unlike the rest of the Aussie DVD market that witnessed a four-fold increase in sales between 2002 and 2004, galloping from a US$191 million to US$765 million take, the preschool video category remained flat. Consumer and retail research into the problem revealed time-poor moms (the chief purchasers) were finding it difficult to locate preschool titles – they tended to be merchandised right alongside adult fare. More often than not, the mothers would get frustrated and leave empty-handed. The new packaging not only made the product readily identifiable as preschool (bright colors, soft edges), it also empowered preschool consumers and gave them a real sense of ownership (it’s very difficult to dislodge the handles from the hands of a toddler who loves his Thomas).
DVDs of The Wiggles and Hi-Five episodes encased in the new packaging hit mass retail for the first time in October 2005, with additional titles from Sesame Street, Bob the Builder and Postman Pat rolling out every month thereafter. However, Grassby says, sales didn’t really begin to take off until there was enough content available to create a handle-box section at retail. Once there were designated destinations installed at the big three stores, sales shot up by 20%, he says.
The new boxes themselves are a bit more expensive than standard models and add about US15¢ on to the cost of packaging a DVD. But Grassby says they have more than paid for themselves. The handle-boxed DVDs command a retail price of US$15, whereas standard DVDs sell for between US$9 and US$11 at most Aussie shops. He adds property owners have utilized the color option to further reinforce a brand’s identity with consumers. For example, HIT chose to issue all Thomas the Tank Engine titles in blue boxes, while Entertainment Rights opted for red for Postman Pat.
Roadshow has been busy spreading the word to video distributors across the globe and has appointed a worldwide manufacturing licensee. Australia’s DRM Industries is now in the process of naming sub-licensees in the U.K., Europe and North America. Grassby says the packages should roll out in the U.K./Europe in the first half of next year, and land on North American soil by the end of 2007.