The Matrix continues Warner Home Video’s success story

Time to pull out the champagne bottles over at Warner Home Video. Their recent release of the cyberpunk action thriller The Matrix has now shipped 1.5 million discs!

This number makes it the most successful title in the history of DVD. Although many analysts had believed “Titanic” would become the format’s make-or-break title, Paramount’s resistance to release the title earlier, the limited content of the disc, and the low awareness of the release has put a quick end to the disc’s cruise in video stores, and one can only wonder how many copies of the 1 million discs they shipped are still sitting in warehouses.

“The Matrix” on the other hand has generated $23.4 million in revenues for Warner and has sold an approximated record-setting 780,000 units in the first week after its release on September 21. It is obvious from these numbers that the title has blown every other release out of the water, leaving a mere 48% of all sales of that week to the remaining cummulated releases.

The number also shows how fast the acceptance of DVD as the new home video format of choice has happened. While comparisons to similar selling VHS releases are impressive they are not entirely accurate due to the fact that VHS had to create a completely new market at the time, while DVD merely replaces an outdated format with a better one. A comparison with the success of Audio CDs is much more helpful, as it happened on similar grounds, and it is here that it becomes evident that DVD is catching one at about twice the speed than the CD did after its introduction.

From the beginning of the format Warner Home Video has always been one of the biggest proponents of DVD, together with Columbia TriStar Home Video, and it is very satisfying to see that both companies still lead the field as it is getting increasingly crowded. Despite the fact that both companies have vested interests in DVD’s success, they are shining examples how a well organized transition to DVD can dramatically increase revenue streams without eroding the overall business.

Congratulations to Warner and especially to their Home Video department on this success. After generating sales like that for the company, now would be a good time to ask for a raise, I guess.

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