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DEG Awards Best Buy, Target

The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) awarded its third annual prize for best DVD hardware and software retailers of the year to Best Buy and Target, respectively, during a reception at International CES, held here earlier this month.

It was the second consecutive year that Best Buy was lauded for leading the industry in consumer education of new entertainment technologies, while Target was honored for its excellence in marketing, merchandising and promotion of all DVD titles.

In accepting the award, Target’s Tracey Koller implored the industry to “all work together to launch [the new high-definition packaged media formats] in a controlled, simple manner for our consumers.” Best Buy recipient Mike Mohan pledged to help “make [the new technologies] easy to understand and use for customers.”

Bob Chapek, president of DEG and Buena Vista Home Entertainment, announced the group’s support of HD technologies, and pledged to provide media, trade and consumers with updated information clarifying the differences between HD formats in an unbiased and non-competitive manner.

“We believe HD will transition the home theater into an even more enjoyable viewing and listening experience,” Chapek said. “The consumer is hungry for high-definition content they can own and collect, and we are pleased that the industry is meeting the demand.”

The DVD trade group, which is comprised of music companies and film studios’ home video divisions, also recognized three products with the Emiel N. Petrone Digital Innovation Awards for Sight, Source, and Sound: Panasonic’s TH-42PX50U 42W-inch plasma display (Sight), Denon’s DVD-5910 CI DVD player (Source) and Yamaha’s YSP-1 surround sound projector (Sound).

Separately, DEG announced that DVD retail sales grew 5 percent last year to $16.3 billion, while unit sales increased 10 percent. Consumers spent an additional $6.5 billion renting DVDs in 2005, representing a 14 percent hike over 2004. All told, more than 1.6 billion units shipped last year, with some 536.7 million discs shipping to retail in the fourth quarter alone.

The DEG and Consumer Electronics Association estimate that 37 million DVD players were sold in the United States last year, with 17 million selling in the fourth quarter alone.

Including VHS sales and rentals, the $24.3 billion spent on home video in 2005 slipped slightly from the $24.5 billion spent in 2004.

Elsewhere, DEG’s annual creative excellence awards for DVD titles went to “The Incredibles: Collector’s Edition” (Theatrical DVD Title of the Year, Buena Vista Home Entertainment); “King Kong: Collector’s Edition” (Catalog, Warner Home Video); “Lost: The Complete First Season” (TV DVD, Buena Vista); “Family Guy Presents: Stewie Griffin — The Untold Story” (Direct to DVD, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment); and “No Direction Home: Bob Dylan” (Music on DVD, Paramount Home Entertainment).