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‘Stop promoting direct sales’ says retail

Six of the UK’s leading licensed retail chains have got together to express their growing concerns regarding film publishers promoting their own sales channels on retail DVDs.

A letter, signed by principals from ABS Holdings, Harmony, Nice ‘n’ Naughty, Soho Original Bookshop, Pillow Talk and Pulse & Cocktails, has been sent to all leading film publishers and distributors requesting that they do not advertise any of their own additional revenue streams either on the cover of their DVDs nor in the DVD’s actual content, including website links, which encourage consumers to buy direct either via Internet streaming and downloading, lock and pin services or the retail of DVDs.

The letter states: “As we believe we have a symbiotic relationship with regard to our respective businesses we feel that we, in stocking and selling your DVDs, are actively advertising your product and losing custom. As retailers we would not have signs inside our shops advertising our retailing competitors, this would be ludicrous, but as technology changes we are finding this happening from other sources.

“As I am sure you are aware, times are hard for all of us and customers are few and far between, and we cannot jeopardise the current customer base we have. Your DVD content is important to us and we would love to continue to stock it but not at the expense of our customers.”

Despite that latter sentence the letter, which is not an AITA initiative, does not impose a deadline or actually threaten sanctions to non-conformists. Instead it ends by suggesting that both retailers and publishers should work together to maintain healthy earnings from DVD sales and complying with this request will go a long way to doing that.

One of the letter’s signatories told ETO: “There are a lot of different revenue streams in the market which can entice our customers away and we, as a group, thought we should let producers know how we feel about this.”

He added that the response to the letter so far had been 99% positive: “It’s got us talking, which is the main thing, and it has opened up the lines of communication. In the current climate we’ve all got to up our game and work together.”