Studios keep spotlight on DVD

Disney, Fox, Par ratchet up marketing programs

As the DVD celebrates its 10th birthday, sales have flattened and the spotlight is on the next generation of high-definition discs as well as digital downloading.

But in what could be compared to a collective shout of "Hey, we're still here," DVD marketers are revving up their promotional engines to make sure the format is still front and center in consumer minds.

Buena Vista Worldwide Home Entertainment is linking its Disney Movie Rewards program to the new Walt Disney Pictures release "Meet the Robinsons," the division's first theatrical tie-in.

Members of the loyalty program, which rewards buyers of Disney DVDs, can now earn additional "points" by mailing in their ticket stubs from the movie. The more than 700,000 consumers who have joined the program since its October 2006 launch collect points, generally by buying DVDs, and then can redeem them for merchandise and digital products. Typical prizes include DVDs, games, books and collectibles.

Not to be outdone, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is putting a giant dinosaur on the road to promote the April 24 DVD release of "Night at the Museum."

The film's 21-foot-long "Rexy," sculpted from an actual dinosaur bone structure, heads out on a seven-day, nine-city cross-country tour April 17, beginning at New York's American Museum of Natural History and ending April 24 at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.

Rexy will travel on an open flat-bed truck, chasing a bone pulled by a yellow Hummer, just as in the movie.

Paramount Home Entertainment also has ambitious plans to promote "Freedom Writers," bowing April 17 on DVD. The division is distributing 22,000 teaching kits to schools across the U.S. and Canada, in association with Jordan Education Media, to help further the Freedom Writers Foundation's mission of creating opportunities for kids to reach their academic potential. The story of the foundation's founder, Erin Gruwell, inspired the film; the kits include DVD-based lessons featuring scenes from "Writers."
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