Defining the European Home Entertainment Supply Chain
Distribution in Europe is fragmented since it involves a group of individual countries rather than one nation, each with its own retail landscape. Although there are retailers that do operate in more than one territory there are no dominant Pan-European retailers that are the equivalent of Wal–Mart in the United States; even the Metro Group with its expanding MediaMarkt/Saturn stores are only present in a handful of territories. Instead, each territory has its own dominant retailers with their own ordering/goods in procedures (i.e. direct to store/via DC/via wholesaler and different IT capability and willingness or ability to adopt VMI). This makes for servicing the market a complex and costly challenge.
Similarly, there issues arise as a result of individual national sell-through windo,s which impact the supply chain. For example. the sell-through window is longer in France than in neighbouring Belgium, which means that a separate French SKU is often required and that there are ongoing concerns over grey importing into France of titles that are released earlier in Belgium.
In addition, there is the need for different language SKUs not only in terms of the content on the disc but also in terms of the printed material on the packaging.