Electronics giant phasing out movies on video in favor of DVDs

Friday, June 21st 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Circuit City Stores, the nation's second-biggest electronics chain, is phasing out movies on videotape altogether in favor of DVDs.

``The people who are buying movie titles these days want to buy them on DVD,'' Circuit City spokesman Jim Babb said Friday. ``People have embraced the technology in a big way, and we're responding to that by increasing the space given to DVD titles.''

Some of the chain's stores already have cleared their shelves of all VHS movies. The Richmond-based company will continue to sell VHS movies on its Web site and stock blank tapes and videocassette recorders in its more than 600 stores, Babb said.

Circuit City has no timetable for eliminating VHS tapes from all of its stores, Babb said.

Similarly, Borders is largely phasing out VHS tapes except for sports and exercise videos, said Ann Binkley, a spokesman for the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based music, movies and book retailer.

``For a big title, like `Harry Potter,' we'll bring a limited amount of VHS along with the DVD,'' Binkley said.

Charles Van Horn, president of the International Recording Media Association, a trade association based in Princeton, N.J., said Circuit City's move is premature. He noted that about 90 percent of U.S. households have at least one VCR, while only about 30 percent have a DVD player.

``Circuit City will disappoint the 60 percent of consumers who have a VCR but no DVD,'' Van Horn said.

He said that while the DVD player is ``the fastest-growing video product ever,'' it will take time to catch up with the VCRs. And even after it does, the two products will coexist in most homes for years to come, he said.

Van Horn said other retailers are trimming their VHS movie inventory to make room for more DVDs, just as music stores cut back on music cassettes to expand their CD selection. However, he said he does not expect other retailers to phase out VHS tapes any time soon.