Best Buy Ups Q3 Entertainment Revenue 20%, Driven by Video Games

Best Buy Nov. 21 reported a 20.6% increase in entertainment segment revenue for the third fiscal quarter, ended Oct. 28. That was a turnaround from a 4.6% comparable same stores decline in the previous year period.

The segment, which includes products such as DVD and Blu-ray Disc movies, video game hardware and software, books, music CDs, and computer software, saw entertainment up its percentage of the overall revenue mix 1% to $539.7 million (6%) from $490 million (5%) in the prior-year period.

The principle segment revenue driver included video game hardware and software. Best Buy recently disclosed it would cease selling movie DVDs and Blu-ray Discs in 2024.

Overall, the nation’s largest consumer electronics retailer realized declines across most business segments, including an 8.3% drop in computing and mobile phones; a 9.5% drop in legacy consumer electronics, and a 15.1% fall in appliances. Services, which includes the Geek Squad, saw a 6.9% increase in sales from a 0.9% drop in the prior-year period.

“Today we are reporting better-than-expected profitability on slightly softer-than-expected revenue for the third quarter,” CEO Corie Barry said in a statement. “These results demonstrate our ongoing, strong operational execution as we navigate through the near-term sales pressure our industry has been experiencing for the past several quarters.”

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On the fiscal call, Barry offered a more measured projection for the upcoming winter holiday shopping season.

“Based on the sales trends in Q3 and so far in November, we believe it is prudent to lower our annual revenue outlook,” she said.

Fandango, Rotten Tomatoes and Vudu Marketing for the Holidays

Fandango and its Rotten Tomatoes and Vudu sites are marketing for the holidays.

Rotten Tomatoes has created curated watchlists, such as 60 Best Thanksgiving Movies (including Planes, Trains and Automobiles and A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving) and 100 Best Christmas Movies of All Time (including Home Alone and Love Actually).

Meanwhile parent company and movie ticketing site Fandango and Vudu, Fandango’s transactional VOD service, are offering holiday-themed gift cards for titles in theaters and at home.

Vudu is also featuring deals on titles and collections of holiday favorites across Thanksgiving and Christmas as well as round-ups of Hallmark and Lifetime holiday movies.

Rotten Tomatoes’ 2023 Holiday Movie Preview also offers a breakdown of what it considers the best flicks that November and December have to offer, including The Marvels, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, and Wonka, which were named the top three most-anticipated wide releases of the holiday season, respectively, per Fandango’s 2023 Most Anticipated Holiday Movie Survey.

Rotten Tomatoes is also listing Rotten Christmas Movies We Love, the Best International Christmas Movies and Modern Christmas Classics to Add to Your Holiday Movie List.

Also available is a party game Rotten Tomatoes: The Card Game.

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Crunchyroll Launching Fan Shops in Walmart Stores

Anime destination Crunchyroll will launch the Crunchyroll Fan Shop in more than 2,400 Walmart stores nationwide.

Through the new partnership, the Crunchyroll Fan Shop will include exclusive and other anime merchandise and items from series including “Dragon Ball Super,” “Dragon Ball Z,” “My Hero Academia,” “Akira” and more.  Products featured in the Crunchyroll Fan Shop will be continually refreshed throughout 2024. 

“Crunchyroll’s availability at Walmart will make anime more accessible than ever, inviting even more fans into this dynamic and exciting world,” Mitchel Berger, SVP, global commerce, Crunchyroll, said in a statement. “This launch reinforces our commitment to spreading the love of anime to an even wider audience, and we can’t wait to see the joy it brings to fans this holiday season.”

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The Crunchyroll Fan Shop features 16 home video products, including 10 Walmart exclusives and manga, vinyl and other items. Debuting at the Crunchyroll Fan Shop, Crunchyroll is introducing physical subscription cards to allow fans to sign up for one month, three months or 12 months of the streaming service. Subscription gift cards do not require a credit card for purchase.

Exclusive Walmart Blu-ray collections include: 

  • Dragon Ball Z — Seasons 1-3
  • Dragon Ball Z — Seasons 4-6
  • Dragon Ball Z — Seasons 7-9
  • Dragon Ball Super — Parts 1-2
  • Dragon Ball Super — Parts  3-4
  • Dragon Ball Super — Parts  5-6 
  • Dragon Ball Super — Parts  7-8
  • Dragon Ball Super — Parts  9-10 
  • My Hero Academia — Seasons 1-2
  • My Hero Academia — Seasons  3-4

 

Anime merchandise and collectibles include: 

  • Attack on Titan: Attack on Titan 1 (Series No. 1) (Paperback)
  • Attack on Titan, Volume 34 (Paperback)
  • Fire Force: Fire Force 1 (Series No. 1)
  • Fire Force: Fire Force 2 (Series No. 2)
  • Toilet-bound Hanako-kun: Toilet-bound Hanako-kun, Vol. 17 (Series No. 17)
  • Toilet-bound Hanako-kun: Toilet-bound Hanako-kun, Vol. 18 (Series No. 18)
  • Blue Lock: Blue Lock 1 (Series No. 1) (Paperback)
  • Blue Lock 7
  • Demon Slayer Statues
  • Anime Plush
  • Naruto S.H. Figurarts
  • Dragonball Z S.H. Figurarts
  • Dragonball Z Banpresto Figures
  • Dragonball Z Ramen Bowl
  • Naruto Ramen Bowl
  • Jujutsu Kaisen Maxx Yume Capsules
  • Kanno Yugo – Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Golden Wind (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) – Vinyl
  • Bleach Original Soundtrack – Vinyl

Redbox to Increase Catalog, Niche Titles in Kiosks as Netflix Exits Disc Biz

As Netflix gets ready to ditch the disc, Redbox has announced it will increase the number of catalog and niche titles in its kiosks to serve former Netflix disc customers.

Netflix closes its disc operations this week, Redbox announced it has been working to provide content that the former DVD.com audience will enjoy in its approximately 29,000 Redbox kiosks nationwide. The titles will include hard-to-find films such as Ugly Dolls, catalog titles including Jerry Maguire, and films from third parties that include Vertical and Decal. These titles are in addition to the latest films from major studios, which will soon include the hit films Oppenheimer and Barbie.

Starting Sept. 29 and running through Oct. 1, Redbox will launch on X (formerly known as Twitter) the social media campaign “Show Us Your Red Envelope.” DVD fans who respond to Redbox’s tweet calling for customers to share photos of their Netflix Red Envelopes may receive a free movie night. Former DVD.com customers can also submit suggestions on the titles they want to rent in kiosks.

Redbox launched more than 20 years ago and has rented more than 2 billion discs across thousands of titles. That equates to Redbox DVD cases wrapping around the earth — twice, the company notes. This year, the most popular films at Redbox kiosks include The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Plane and Cocaine Bear, according to the company. 

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“Redbox continues to be a destination for millions of consumers, and we’re thrilled to expand our kiosk offerings to include hard-to-find titles and classic movies that everyone enjoys,” said William J. Rouhana, Jr., chief executive officer and chairman of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment. “We are expanding our content offerings at approximately 29,000 kiosks to include third-party studio titles and new movies such as Barbie and Oppenheimer, which will be available in the coming months. I look forward to hearing from former DVD.com customers on the titles they want to see at our kiosks.”

Best Buy Q4 Entertainment Revenue Inches Up $2 Million

Best Buy March 2 reported fourth-quarter (ended Jan. 23, 2023), entertainment revenue of $1.21 billion, which was up $2 million from the previous-year period.

The segment, which includes products such as DVD/Blu-ray Disc movies, video game hardware and software, books, music CDs and computer software, saw comparable store sales increase 0.2%, compared with a 9.5% drop in the previous-year period.

Overall, the nation’s largest consumer electronics retailer realized a $1.46 billion decline in domestic quarterly revenue to $13.5 billion, from $14.9 billion in the prior-year period. For the fiscal year, sales dropped almost 11% to $42.8 billion, from $47.8 billion in the previous fiscal year.

“We believe the macro and industry backdrop will continue to be pressured in FY24 and we will continue to adjust,” CEO Corie Barry said in a statement. “At the same time, we remain incredibly excited about our industry and our future — there are more technology products than ever in peoples’ homes, technology is increasingly a necessity in our lives, and technology innovation will continue.”

CFO Matt Bilunas said the comparable sales outlook decline from 3% to 6% for the year is expected to improve after the first quarter.

“Most year-over-year [sales] comparisons [should] ease through the year,” Bilunas said.

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With Decline in Disc Sales, Black Friday for Home Entertainment Just Isn’t the Same

Black Friday came and went with some pronounced changes from just a few years ago: Shorter lines, plenty of parking, and fewer elbows from shoppers determined to grab the last bargain-priced item before you do.

Two factors are at play here: the rise in e-commerce, which has shifted much of the bargain-hunting from Walmart to Amazon, and extended Black Friday sales that in some cases began right after Halloween. The shift to online shopping really accelerated during the pandemic, and the bulk of the foot traffic has yet to return.

But for home entertainment, Black Friday has for all practical purposes ceased to exist. A steady decline in DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales, and a dramatic shift in consumer spending toward subscription streaming, has made the days of shoppers scooping up bargain-priced discs seem as antiquated as renting a videocassette at Blockbuster.

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The once-ubiquitous “dump bins” of $5 DVDs at Walmart are gone. Completely. Earlier this year, Media Play News reported that the nation’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer was shaving 20% off its already-small footprint for physical media, but the absence of cheap DVDs still came as something of a shock.

Best Buy, on the other hand, included DVDs and Blu-ray Discs front and center — literally — in its Black Friday blowout deals. At the consumer electronics chain’s store in Oceanside, Calif., there were standalone displays for “Black Friday Deals” and “$7.99 and Up” movies, though by midday Blu-ray Discs priced at the low end were gone and all that remained were mostly 4K Ultra HD editions of films such as Hacksaw Ridge, Total Recall, Dirty Dancing and the first two “John Wick” movies, priced at $17.99.

Best Buy also had a separate standee for Top Gun: Maverick, which was discounted to $24.99 for the Blu-ray Disc and $29.99 for the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

Target offered a buy-two-get-one-free deal on movies, books and games, as well as a selection of discounted holiday-themed DVDs with new slipcover box art.

Earlier this month, Samba TV released the results of a new survey, taken in late summer, that found 71% of shoppers were planning to take part in Black Friday shopping, up from about 60% last year. For tech-savvy millennials, the percentage, surprisingly, was even higher, at 88%.

Still, the survey found that just 31% of U.S. adults are planning to do most of their holiday shopping in stores this holiday season, which explains the lighter crowds. 

Online, however, is a different story. Adobe, which tracks sales on retailer websites, on Nov. 26 reported total online Black Friday sales of $9.12 billion, 2.3% more than U.S. shoppers spent online on Black Friday last year. 

Cyber Monday (today, Nov. 28) is once again expected to be the biggest day for online shopping, with Adobe projecting total sales of $11.2 billion.

On Thanksgiving Day, U.S. shoppers spent $5.29 billion online, another record. Popular items included Apple watches and AirPod, smart TVs and speakers, and gaming consoles. 

Adobe says sales from smartphones accounted for 55% of online sales on Thanksgiving Day. These sales are expected to account for 53% of total Black Friday sales, the company predicts.

Netflix Launching ‘Netflix at The Grove’ Pop-Up Store

Netflix will launch a pop-up store at The Grove shopping mall in Los Angeles Oct. 13-Jan. 6.

“Netflix at The Grove” will feature a broad range of limited-edition items from some of Netflix’s most-popular titles, including “Stranger Things,” “Bridgerton,” “Squid Game” and more. Items on sale include the Hellfire Club raglan shirt and Palace Arcade hoodie, the soon-to-be-released Inside Bridgerton book from series creator Shonda Rhimes, an assortment of Funko collectible figures from “Squid Game” and “Stranger Things,” and a curated series of products from some of the children’s properties on Netflix, including the iconic dollhouse, new apparel line and Gabby Girl Doll from “Gabby’s Dollhouse,” and kids activity books from “Ada Twist, Scientist” and “Cocomelon. ” 

The Netflix at The Grove pop-up store will feature licensed items from the streamers shows and films.

The 10,000 square foot space will feature “photo-ready vignettes,” according to a blog post, featuring life-size versions of notable Netflix characters, including Vecna from “Stranger Things,” the Young-Hee doll from “Squid Game,” Queen Charlotte’s throne and more. 

Previous Netflix experiences include “Stranger Things: The Experience,” “Stranger Things: The Store,” “The Queen’s Ball: A Bridgerton Experience,” “Money Heist: The Experience” and “Viva Las Vengeance: Army of the Dead.”

“Following the incredible success and excitement from our fans for our immersive experiences around the globe, this felt like the most organic next step to continue our growth and bring Netflix’s most beloved shows together in a completely new way,” Greg Lombardo, head of live experiences at Netflix, said in a statement. “Celebrating our fans and giving them the opportunity to put themselves in the world of the stories they love is at the heart of what we do, and we’re thrilled to bring this experience to life at The Grove.”

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In early December, “Netflix at The Grove” will expand its experiential offerings to include a second floor with new immersive elements tied to the programming coming to Netflix this holiday season. Titles featured will include Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Slumberland, Enola Holmes, The School for Good and Evil, Matilda, and “Emily in Paris,” as well as a brand new slate of holiday programming including Falling for Christmas, Christmas With You, The Noel Diary and “The Great British Baking Show: Holidays.”

Paramount+ to Be Bundled With Walmart+

Walmart and Paramount Global have reached a deal to allow Walmart+ subscribers access to Paramount+ as a perk, according to reports.

The deal was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources familiar with the discussions.

Walmart, according to an earlier New York Times report, has also held talks with subscription streaming video giants Disney+ and Peacock about incorporating the platforms in its e-commerce shopping service Walmart+, which costs $12.95 per month and features free shipping, fuel discounts and a free six-month subscription to the Spotify music service.

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According to The New York Times, which cited sources familiar with the situation, Walmart is interested in emulating marketing agreements Disney+ and Paramount+ have with Verizon and T-Mobile offering their wireless subscribers limited free SVOD access.

‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ Leads Weekly Vudu Chart

A24’s multiverse fantasy Everything Everywhere All at Once led the chart of the 10 most popular films on Fandango’s transactional digital service Vudu the week ended July 10.

The film, newly available for digital rental, stars Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn Wang, a flustered immigrant mother who is contacted from a parallel universe and told that only she can save the world. The film is also available for digital purchase.

Remaining at No. 2 on the chart was DreamWorks Animation’s caper comedy The Bad Guys, available for digital purchase. Distributed by Universal, the animated adventure follows reformed but misunderstood criminal animals who attempt to become good.

Landing at No. 3 was Open Road Films’ Liam Neeson actioner Memory, also newly available for digital rental. Also offered for digital purchase, the film follows an expert assassin caught in a moral quagmire.

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Disney’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, available for digital purchase beginning June 22, fell from the top spot to No. 4 on the chart. The Marvel Comics-based sequel stars Benedict Cumberbatch, who returns as Doctor Stephen Strange, master of the mystic arts. Strange seeks to protect a teenage girl from a parallel world who has the power to travel between the multiverses and is being pursued by an entity who seeks to control her power.

Landing at No. 5 on the chart was Universal’s The Northman, available for digital purchase and rental. Based on the Viking legends that inspired Hamlet, it tells the story of a deposed Viking prince who returns from hiding to seek revenge against his uncle for murdering his father.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended July 10, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Everything Everywhere All at Once
  2. The Bad Guys
  3. Memory
  4. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
  5. The Northman
  6. Last Seen Alive
  7. The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
  8. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
  9. Morbius
  10. Ambulance

Vudu Mounts Sale on More Than 100 Focus Features Films

As Focus Features’ The Northman arrives on Vudu May 12 and Downton Abbey: A New Era arrives in theaters May 20, Fandango’s transactional VOD service Vudu is hosting a sale on more than 100 other titles from the Focus Features library, celebrating 20 years of indie filmmaking.

The sale ends May 23.

This year’s Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay, Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, is available for sale at $12.99, while features such as Downton Abbey, The Card Counter, The Sparks Brothers, Wolf, Blue Bayou, Stillwater and Last Night in Soho are available at $9.99 each. Other titles, such as Promising Young Woman, Let Him Go, Harriet, On the Basis of Sex, Emma, Kajillionaire, Never Rarely Sometimes Always and The High Note, are on sale at $6.99 each.

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Vudu is also hosting a “Mix & Match” bundle sale, where customers can choose two qualifying Focus Features titles for the total price of $9.99. Qualifying titles include:

  • Atomic Blonde
  • Atonement
  • BlackKKlansman
  • Boy Erased
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Burn After Reading
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • The Danish Girl
  • Darkest Hour
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  • Harriet
  • In Bruges
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • Milk
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Phantom Thread
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Tully
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor