Monday 20 February 2017

RTE may stop producing DVDs if distribution doesn't improve

Hopes that new Tesco deal with Golden Discs will drive DVD and CDs sales

Published 27/11/2016 | 02:30

Love/Hate, starring Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, was one of RTE’s best-selling DVD series
Love/Hate, starring Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, was one of RTE’s best-selling DVD series

RTE may not produce DVDs of its drama programming next year if distribution of Irish CDs does not improve, according to the broadcaster's commercial director Willie O'Reilly.

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RTE and other producers of Irish content have been alarmed by the fall off in retail sales of DVDs and CDs in the past year.

The closure of Xtra-vision and HMV has resulted in fewer points of purchase for such products. Sales of DVDs, for example, have fallen from tens of thousands for chart-topping programming to thousands and in some case hundreds for the biggest sellers.

For example, in 2014 number one selling DVD Frozen sold almost 243,000 copies. Last year, the top selling DVD was another version of Frozen but it only mustered sales of less than 25,000. This year top-selling DVDs are selling far fewer copies.

Irish-owned chain Golden Discs has recently announced that it will supply 80 Tesco stores with DVDs and CDs and there is hope that this will provide an improved distribution channel.

"We will have two dramas next year potentially. If the distribution isn't strong enough, we won't go to DVD and the Irish public will be deprived of the opportunity to purchase it," said O'Reilly.

"You can't just produce a thousand of them, there has to be some scale to justify it," he said.

RTE has previously had considerable success with sales of Love/Hate. While DVDs and CDs are available online, a significant portion of the sales are usually bought in store as last-minute stocking fillers.

Golden Discs, for example, does 50pc of its trade in November and December.

O'Reilly said that the new Golden Discs deal with Tesco 'could boost the category if it is minded and looked after'. "We'll be watching it to ensure they have Irish product," he said.

RTE had been hard hit from the closure of HMV and Xtra-vision. It temporarily closed its online shop, from which it sells DVDs and other merchandise, following the Xtra-vision collapse last January.

Stephen Fitzgerald, chief executive of Golden Discs, said: "It is very hard to make any deductions from the chart numbers this year based in everything that has happened in the industry. Xtra-vision gone, HMV gone, a lot of independents gone and the Tesco business being adrift for a number of months.

"So Golden Discs has been the only sizeable contributor and when you're comparing them with last year, sales have fallen off a cliff.

"Now that the Tesco business is up and running again and being supplied and actively managing it, I think you are going to see that number improve significantly."

Golden Discs has recently opened pop-up shops in Dundrum Town Centre and Henry Street in Dublin. Fitzgerald told the Sunday Independent that the group is seeing growth in a number of segments such as vinyl and new technology such as 3D.

He hopes to open in a number of regional towns in 2017, with plans to open five to six new stores. The chain currently has 14 shops.

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