Czech film distributors and publishers have a new and growing source of revenue: cheap DVDs placed in newspapers, tabloids and life-style magazines.
About 3 million cheap DVDs are enclosed in Czech periodicals every week, according to the economic newspaper Hospodářské noviny (www.ihned.cz).
These DVDs cost only about 40-60 crowns (€1.5-2.3) and it is not always necessary to buy the accompanying publication. The DVDs are covered only in light paper packaging. By comparison, a DVD in a plastic case available at music shops costs 199-599 crowns.
Even though the cheap DVDs compete with their counterparts sold in shops, Czech distributors support selling their film titles this way because they bring in additional revenue in a country where the market is in crisis because of Internet piracy.
"While the price of cheap titles is lower than in shops, a huge edition of every title produces very important revenues from sales to distributors," said Kateřina Jelínková, who manages the DVD inserts in the tabloid Aha!, (www.iaha.cz), which offers cheap new DVD titles about three times a week.
In the first half of 2007, cheap DVDs earned about 147 million crowns for Czech distributors, compared to 96 million crowns in all of 2006, according to figures provided by the company DVD Group.cz (www.dvdgroup.cz) to Hospodářské noviny. "The business with cheap DVDs is increasing," said Daniel Hort from the marketing department of Czech publishing house Ringier (www.ringier.cz).
Ringier publishes several Czech daily tabloids, including Blesk (www.blesk.cz) and Aha! Titles are usually older Czech movies, but include newer domestic hits from directors like Jan Hřebejk or Filip Renč. Some Hollywood big-budget films are also available such as the Bridget Jones comedies and the musical Chicago.
"It is important to offer quality - even on cheap DVDs. People are choosing their favourite movies," said Michal Kroupa from leading Czech distributor Bontonfilm (www.bontonfilm.cz). "I believe this source of selling DVDs could be very interesting in future."
A cheap DVD production run can provide 300,000 copies, about two-thirds of which are sold in kiosks or tobacco shops. At a sale price of 40 crowns, revenues could reach 8 million crowns. More expensive DVDs sell only a few thousand copies, producing revenue closer to 5 million crowns, according to Hospodářské noviny.