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NPD Group: Video-rental kiosks on the rise

BY Allison Cerra

PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. Video-rental kiosks are receiving increasing attention from consumers, which is leading to more competition for consumers among traditional video rental stores and subscription rental services, according to new research by the NPD Group.

While traditional store rentals still account for the greatest share of video rental turns among U.S. consumers today, kiosk rentals are experiencing more growth than either subscription services or store rentals. Through the first half of 2009, the share of rental turns (i.e., the number of videos rented by consumers) reached 19% for video kiosks like Redbox, compared with 36% for Netflix and other subscription services, and 45% for Blockbuster and other traditional brick–and-mortar video stores.

According to NPD’s VideoWatch service, in the coming months both subscription services and traditional video retailers will experience even more competition from kiosks, which are becoming more ubiquitous in grocery stores, mass merchandisers, and quick-serve restaurants. Even so a primary consumer appeal for subscriptions and store rentals is their depth of title selection – a key benefit that might help mitigate the increased competition from kiosks, which offer a more limited list of video titles.

If current kiosk-category expansion plans are implemented, NPD anticipates that video rental kiosks will make up nearly 30% of video rentals in the U.S. next year. “Consumers are obviously responding positively to the perceived value of $1 per day rentals, and they appreciate the convenience offered by video rental kiosks,” said Russ Crupnick, VP industry analysis for NPD.

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FDA investigates liver injury claims from weight-loss medication users

BY DSN STAFF

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Monday announced that it is reviewing adverse event reports of liver injury in patients taking the weight-loss drug orlistat, marketed as the prescription drug Xenical (Roche) and the over-the-counter medication Alli (GlaxoSmithKline).

Between 1999 and 2008, the FDA has received 32 reports of serious liver injury in patients taking orlistat. Of those cases, 27 reported hospitalization and six resulted in liver failure. Thirty of the adverse events occurred outside the United States. The most commonly reported adverse events included yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes (jaundice), weakness, and stomach pain.

The FDA is reviewing additional data submitted by orlistat manufacturers on suspected cases of liver injury, and the issue has been discussed at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Drug Safety Oversight Board.

“The issues here are complex, but FDA has benefited from the input of the board, including comments from representatives from three FDA Centers and several other Agencies in the Department of Health and Human Services,” stated Steven Osborne, executive director of the board.

The FDA’s analysis of these data is ongoing, and no definite association between liver injury and orlistat has been established at this time. Consumers taking Xenical should continue to take it as prescribed, and those using over-the-counter Alli should continue to use the product as directed.

The FDA urges both health care professionals and consumers to report suspected side effects from the use of orlistat to FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.

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Discount Drug Mart launches fleet of Kodak photo printing solutions throughout Ohio

BY Allison Cerra

MEDINA, Ohio Eastman Kodak Co. has signed an exclusive, multi-year contract with an Ohio-owned and operated regional drug chain.

Discount Drug Mart will deploy Kodak Picture Kiosk G4 Digital Stations and Kodak Adaptive Picture Exchange thermal dry lab systems into all 70 Discount Drug Mart stores throughout Ohio.

As part of the new contract, Discount Drug Mart will be upgrading its fleet of older Kodak consumer order stations to Kodak G4 Stations, which will allow Discount Drug Mart customers to take advantage of a wide range of premium photo creation products, including Kodak Picture Movie DVDs, Kodak Picture CDs, enlargements, collage prints, calendars, invitations and greeting cards. Discount Drug Mart will also be increasing the number of Kodak Picture Kiosks per store, allowing multiple customers to experience and create prints and premium products faster and more easily. The newer G4 model can create standard 4 x 6 prints up to 70% faster than older kiosk systems.

“Giving our customers an exceptional photo creation experience is an integral part of our mission, and we felt that Kodak, as the market leader, best delivered that experience,” said John Graycar, director photo operations at Discount Drug Mart. “Kodak is providing both an integrated suite of photo finishing solutions and the technical and business expertise needed to enable all our locations with one-stop access to award winning photo products and services.”

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