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Fraggle DVD's staggered for mass-market release

HIT will offer fans downloads, screensavers, games, and Web-exclusive collectibles in the year to come

Courtesy of Video Business On-line
October 22, 2004

HIT Entertainment will widely distribute the first two DVDs of Jim Henson '80s HBO series Fraggle Rock on Jan. 4 after first releasing the titles in select outlets.

Order Where It All Began on DVD from Amazon.com.

Where It All Began special edition and Dance Your Cares Away each contain three episodes of the brightly colored, Muppet-filled show. But in what it calls an early "niche release," HIT will make the first disc available Oct. 19 through a limited number of retail and online outlets.

Shipping about one-tenth the units planned for the national release, the early-bird special will be available through select retailers including music chain TransWorld, consumer electronics retailer Best Buy and the HIT Web site.

"It's not the traditional mass market, if you will--more the video specialty," HIT home entertainment senior VP Debbie Ries said.

The two-tiered release strategy came about because of an Internet-based fan group that calls itself Fraggies or Fraggle Rockers. Fan Web sites and a 30,000-signature online petition demanding a DVD release caught the attention of HIT executives in June.

"These people were so anxious to have product that we thought, 'Why don't we go ahead and give them what they want before Christmas and then take a little more time to do the national launch so we can get more pieces in place?'" Ries recalled. "We felt sure that there was enough pent-up demand to support the staggered launch."

The January push will benefit from the additional disc and the greater marketing effort, Ries believes.

Order Dance Your Cares Away on DVD from Amazon.com.

"For the general market, it's nice to have two titles, just to have more presence on the shelf," she said. "We'll get circular space and really make it a national launch."

In addition, HIT will employ a grassroots marketing campaign to further cultivate the online fan base. Offerings will include such things as downloads, screensavers, games, Web-exclusive collectibles and chances to vote on which episodes will be released next. These will be located on a combination of the HIT site and fan sites. "We're going to where they are as opposed to driving them to us," Ries said.

"And then our longer-term plan is to look at bringing it back for today's preschoolers," she said. "The preschool parents are going to be interested because it's Fraggle Rock as they remembered it, and then the actual content is for the children. It's interesting: A lot of the Fraggies said, 'I want this for my kids. I loved it when I was growing up.'"

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