Hollywood1 ThumbWith the recent influx of companies providing mail-order DVD services, some might think the reign of video rental retail stores is coming to an end, but the team at Hollywood Entertainment knows this isn’t the case. According to Sherif Mityas, president and CEO of Movie Gallery Inc., Hollywood Entertainment’s parent company, the home video industry is an $8 billion a year market, and $5.5 billion of that capital still depends on brick and mortar retail outlets. 

However, that also means $2.5 billion has been lost to other arenas, and to keep their company in a strong position in the industry, Mityas and his team continue to reshape their business strategy to complement the market.

In 2005, Movie Gallery acquired Hollywood Entertainment, which operated 1,300 Hollywood Video locations and 550 Game Crazy stores across the US. Although Movie Gallery stores (there are approximately 1,600 total) are more commonly found in rural areas and Hollywood Video outlets are popular in urban locations, the two brands operate with a single business strategy. 

“We have an integrated team in the field and integrated marketing and merchandising strategies for both brands,” Mityas said. With a combined annual revenue of $2 billion and 33,000 employees, the North American retailer has an abundance of resources at its fingertips.

As part of the company’s plan to compete with at-home-delivery DVD service providers, Mityas and his team are developing an online program that will allow customers to order movies and games online. Details of the project aren’t available yet, but Mityas said the program, which will be rolled out before the end of the year, is different than any in the market today.

The introduction of companies like Netflix forced Movie Gallery to change in other ways too. “Those companies forced us to change the way we market to our consumers,” Mityas said. “When marketing, we have to focus on the key differentiator, which, today, is immediacy. If customers aren’t planners, they can go to the store and rent a movie or game whenever they decide they want one. They don’t have to place the order days ahead.”

Additionally, the team at Movie Gallery developed a subscription program called Powerplay that allows participating customers to rent movies and games without due dates and late fees. The program provides customers with the ability to rollover their subscription dollars month to month so they don’t lose any value as their renting needs vary. 

A growing market

The team at Movie Gallery is also expanding its Game Crazy brand in the year to come. The brand currently has 600 stand-alone stores and 1,400 outlets inside Hollywood Video locations across the US where customers can buy, sell, and trade video games.  

The decision was made based on the recent growth of the gaming market, which Mityas said occurred for two reasons. “Games are affordable,” he said. “In tough economic times, someone can purchase a used game that provides hours and hours of entertainment.” The second reason he believes the video game market exploded recently is because of a growing user demographic. A decade ago, the industry’s key customers were males between the ages of 18 and 35. Today, the market has opened up, and companies are targeting men and women of all ages. 

“Today, everyone from grandmothers to five-year-olds are playing video games of some sort,” Mityas said. “The introduction of both portable and more interactive systems contributed to this growth.” Mityas named Nintendo Wii and handheld DS systems as two examples.

Despite a recession, the team at Movie Gallery is confident its business will continue to grow in 2009. “More than anything, the recession helps our business,” Mityas said. “A family can come into one of our stores, grab two movies or a video game and popcorn, soda, and candy for less than $20. The ability to stretch their entertainment dollar is a big deal for US families right now.”

Moving forward

When Movie Gallery acquired Hollywood Video four years ago, it set the pace for the immediate future. In the last few years, the video rental industry continued to become more of a monopoly. Initially, independently owned and operated stores closed. Soon after, many large chains began to follow suit.

“You need to have scale to survive in this market as it becomes more difficult to compete head to head,” Mityas said. “We’re winning our fair share of these situations because we concentrate on providing customers with a great overall experience. Once you build a relationship with a customer, you make it difficult for them to leave.”

The team at Movie Gallery provides its customers with quality customer service by focusing on standardized training in its stores. One program in particular, called Project Exceptional, ensures the company recruits qualified employees and formalizes the type and frequency of training they all receive. The program also helps standardize stores’ appearances in terms of both merchandising and cleanliness.  

In addition to standardizing the performance of front-line employees, the company’s senior management team was also reorganized recently. “Our entire executive team is fairly new, including myself,” Mityas said. “We all bring new ideas to the organization, which are critical to our growth. Looking to the year ahead, we’re all very excited.”

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  • Washington, D.C., April 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced today that he will soon be introducing legislation that would remove marijuana from the list of federally controlled substances so that states could adopt their own cannabis programs.

    “We agree with Senator Schumer that this legislation is long overdue and commend his leadership as the Senate’s top Democrat to finally modernize our nation’s marijuana policies. Removing cannabis from the federal Controlled Substances Act will allow states to continue to successfully regulate cannabis, undermine criminal markets, create new economic opportunities, and will pave the way to much-needed research into the therapeutic potential of cannabis,” National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) Executive Director, Aaron Smith, stated in response to the announcement.

    “We look forward to working with Sen. Schumer and his colleagues in Congress to advance federal legislation that will allow our industry to reach its full potential as one of America’s fastest growing business sectors,” Smith added.

    Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of cannabis and nine states and D.C. permit the use of cannabis by adults over 21. An impressive 64 percent of Americans believe that cannabis should be made legal, while a national poll conducted in January found that 70 percent of Americans oppose federal interference in state marijuana laws.

    As the nation’s largest cannabis trade association, NCIA represents over 1,500 businesses serving the legal cannabis industry. Hundreds of NCIA members will descend on Washington, D.C. May 21-23 for NCIA’s 8th Annual Cannabis Industry Lobby Days to educate lawmakers on the social and economic benefits of regulating cannabis and to share the challenges they face due to the conflict between state and federal laws.

  • LIVERMORE, Calif., April 19, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FormFactor, Inc. (Nasdaq:FORM) will report financial results for its 2018 fiscal first quarter on Wednesday, May 2, 2018, at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time. The public is invited to listen to a live webcast of FormFactor's conference call on the Investors section of the company's web site at www.formfactor.com.  A telephone replay of the conference call will be available approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call. The telephone replay will be available through May 4, 2018, 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time, and can be accessed by dialing (855) 859-2056 (domestic) or (404) 537-3406 (international) and entering confirmation code 6187246. Additionally, the replay will be available on the Investors section of our website, www.formfactor.com.

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