The DVD Entertainment Group
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
CEO

The DVD Entertainment Group

In its first years, the DVD Entertainment Group successfully built awareness and acceptance for the DVD format. Three years later, DCW was faced with yet another challenge -- bringing the popular medium beyond the early adopters.

Paul Holmes

 

The world of consumer electronics is often confusing to the average shopper bombarded with a seemingly endless string of new gadgets and gizmos.  With this in mind, Douglas·Cohn & Wolfe (DCW) approached Philips Consumer Electronics and Warner Home Video (WHV) about the need for a unified voice to promote the DVD format.  

Working with Philips and WHV, DCW put together a coalition of consumer electronics manufacturers, major motion picture studios and music companies to form the DVD Entertainment Group (DEG).  Now 40+ members strong, the nonprofit trade coalition is dedicated to promoting DVD in an unbranded fashion.  DCW, which serves as both the DEG’s staff and public relations agency, drafted bylaws, elects officers, lobbied to get the full support of the entertainment community, filed the necessary documentation to receive nonprofit status and manages the day-to-day budget.  

In sum, the DVD Entertainment Group was designed to serve as the single voice for the DVD industry and a clearinghouse for non-technical information about DVD.

DESCRIPTION OF CHALLENGE

In its first years, the DVD Entertainment Group successfully built awareness and acceptance for the DVD format among the early adopters.  Three years later, DCW was faced with yet another challenge - bringing the popular home entertainment medium beyond the early adopters and into mass-market.  DCW needed to communicate the benefits of DVD in simple language to a larger audience.  DCW’s multi-tiered communication program continues to address this and seeks to educate its key target audiences: the media (trade and consumer), consumers, the trade and its members). 

EXPLANATION OF STRATEGIC APPROACH

A variety of strategies were utilized to accomplish the group’s goals.  

  • Capitalize on DEG’s industry-wide cooperation to instill confidence among the trade and media that the format is here to stay
  • Sustain news value of DVD
  • Provide consumer information and services that encourage acceptance, understanding and purchase of DVD products
  • Share and publicize information as an industry
  • Reach out to the trade and trade media through trade associations and their shows

PROGRAM EXECUTION

Media Relations -- The group maintains constant contact with key entertainment, video and music trade publications, generating a steady stream of news coverage about the DVD industry.  In addition, outreach to daily and weekly newspapers across the country, as well as television, radio and general interest magazines, has resulted in outstanding, repeated coverage in targeted media.

Press Kit – Generating more than 780 million media impressions, the DVD Entertainment Group press kit incorporates detailed background information on DVD.

Press Announcements – As the industry unified voice, DCW disseminates press announcements to the trade regarding industry milestones, such as the shipment of the 10 millionth DVD player and quarterly sales figures, as well as provides story ideas for consumer media, including trend information and gift ideas for holidays such as Valentine’s Day or Father’s Day.

Consumer Outreach -- Through a number of applications, the group works to educate and promote the format to consumers.

Consumer Brochures – DCW created (2) four-color consumer-oriented brochures extolling the virtues of (1) DVD-Video and (2) DVD-Audio.  More than one million brochures have been distributed nationwide at key trade shows, at retail and through the group’s hotline and website.  Written and designed by DCW, the brochures have proven to be a valuable and convenient way to communicate the format’s benefits.  

Retail Poster – DCW worked closely with the studios to create a four-color poster that highlights the benefits of DVD-Video and gives a simple explanation of DVD-related terms.  The poster has been distributed to more than 20,000 retailers nationwide.

www.dvdinformation.com -- DCW designed the DEG’s web site and updates its weekly to provide the latest information on DVD.  The site offers links to all member companies, as well as a comprehensive list of product available and soon-to-be-released titles and players.   

Trade Outreach -- The DEG has a productive working relationship with the key trade shows and maintains a strong presence at all, including CES, VSDA, NARM, PARA, CEDIA and the East Coast Video Show.

Cross Industry Support – The group has secured endorsement and working relationships with key industry groups including, CEA, IRMA, PARA, CEDIA, RIAA and VSDA.

Speaking Engagements – With the group’s active involvement in related trade shows and seminars, DCW coordinates panels and speaking engagements, as well as publicizes the group’s participation at these shows.

Group Activities – As the DEG staff, DCW has recruited and sustained a membership of nearly 50 companies.  In addition to its activities in media and consumer relations, DCW must actively communicate with its members through meetings and seminars to allow them an opportunity to learn the latest developments in the industry, as well as engage in open dialogue with each other.

Bi-Monthly Meetings – DCW coordinates bi-monthly meetings to keep DEG members updated on the latest industry trends.  Expert speakers, including researchers and retailers, present their perspectives on the DVD market.  Meetings conclude with an informal lunch or reception to give members a chance to share their insights.

Committees – DCW organizes regular committee meetings held to explore different issues that affect the entire market.

Workshops – Special half-day workshops that highlight specific issues are also held on a regular basis.  During the past year, these workshops addressed such topics as source tagging, music video promotion, labeling/packaging and Video/ROM compatibility.

Newsletter – The group publishes a quarterly newsletter, DVDetails, that includes recent sales figures for hardware and software, guest editorials, in-depth analysis of new applications, DVD-related calendar listings, among other items of interest to the DVD community.  

SUMMARY OF RESULTS 

When the DVD Entertainment Group formed, slightly more than half of the industry supported the format.  Now, all the major motion picture studios and consumer electronics manufacturers have DVD product in the marketplace and are members in the DEG which they consider the voice for the format.

DCW has secured more than 850 million media impressions with an advertising equivalency of nearly $5 million, representing an increase of 294 times each membars initial investment.  DCW has garnered repeated positive coverage in all of key trade publications, including Daily Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Video Store Magazine and Video Business, as well as key consumer publications such as New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, TV Guide, Entertainment Tonight, E! Entertainment Television and others.  

The DEG receives on average 250 inquiries each week from both consumers and media.  The most popular consumer requests are for specific information on purchasing DVD products.  Many consumers have even credited the DEG with providing the information needed to purchase a DVD player, indicating that DCW’s efforts are paying off for the industry.  And, many media depend on the DEG for continuous information on industry trends and new technology applications.

The outreach to retailers has also been well received.  Initially, a handful of retailers carried DVD hardware and software.  Now, all mass merchants, major retailers and most independent storefronts offer DVD for sale or rental.  The volume of DVDs per store has also increased.  In 1998, stores carried DVD titles at a ratio of about 20 videotapes to 1 DVD.  Now the ratio is 7:1 in favor of DVD.  On the hardware side, DVD players are available at some 14,000 store fronts, including mass merchants, specialty retailers and discount stores.

Before the DEG, consumer awareness for DVD was less than 20 percent.  Today, consumer awareness has swelled to nearly 90 percent.  In its fourth year in the marketplace, DVD has outpaced the sales of CD players 3:1 and the VCR 7:1.  Since the introduction of DVD in March 1997, approximately 15 million DVD players have been shipped to retailers, continuing to make DVD the fastest growing and most rapidly adopted consumer electronics product ever.  Most importantly, DVD has reached the important consumer electronics milestone of 10 percent household penetration.  All products that reached this critical target went on to mass-market acceptance.
The studios collectively concede their strong format backing and large libraries of releases to the support they’ve received from the unified voice of the DVD Entertainment Group.  Clearly, the DVD Entertainment Group’s cohesive efforts have raised the format from an introductory product to a realized home entertainment medium.  

comments powered by Disqus