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DVD Group Changes Name, Adds Members

Reflecting the expanding capabilities of DVD technology, the DVD Video Group announced Thursday afternoon that it has changed its name to the DVD Entertainment Group and has welcomed five major music companies to its member ranks.

Rusty Osterstock, Panasonic general manager and member of the DVD Entertainment Group board, said the name change will reflect the emergence of the new multichannel music DVD formats, including Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio.

The new members, which have joined the group’s previous 21-member body, include BMG Entertainment, EMI Recorded Music, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group.

In the coming year, the group will begin aggressive promotion of the new audio disc formats by producing various information pieces for consumers, trade and media use.

Meanwhile, Philips executive VP and DVD Entertainment Group chairman Emiel Petrone, proclaimed DVD video players are the most successful consumer electronics product launch in history, replacing direct-broadcast satellite systems in that distinction.

Petrone said the industry sold more than 4 million DVD video players (up 257%) and tallied more than $1 billion in 1999. Software shipments totaled more than $2 billion on sales of 100 million units, up 400% over 1998 figures. Petrone said that more than 30,000 video rental outlets are offering titles in the format this year.

Petrone reported that DVD video player sales would add another 12 million units this year, achieving a 10% household penetration level by the end of the year. Software sales, he predicted, will top 200 million units.

In other news, Petrone reported that Steve Nickerson, the former Toshiba marketing VP and DVD Video Group board member, has joined Warner Home Video to assist in the international marketing of video software.