Blockbuster appoints new marketing chief

Blockbuster, Britain’s largest video rental retailer, has appointed Siobhan Chatburn as its new director of marketing.

Chatburn takes over from Roger Hall, who is working as a consultant for the company until mid-February. After that, he says he will “review a range of opportunities”.

Chatburn will report to the UK managing director Nick Shepherd.

She has been promoted from marketing manager in Blockbuster’s marketing department, which she joined in 1995. Before that, she was promotions manager for Our Price record store, and trade marketing manager for Entertainment UK.

The video chain’s advertising agency is BDDP.GGT and its ad spend is 6m (ACNielsen-MEAL).

Blockbuster has 800 outlets in the UK and more than 6,000 worldwide. According to the British Video Association, the size of the UK video retail market in 1996 was 803m, while the rental market was worth 442m.

However, in Germany, Blockbuster closed its last 18 stores in November because observers say it held out against selling hard-core adult movies, which make up one-third of the 318m rental market.

In the UK, the company has introduced a host of initiatives to arrest the declining rental market. These include putting concessions in petrol station forecourts, introducing cyber cafés in city sites, and an in-store entertainment channel.

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