Picks and Pans Review: Spotlight On...
JUICE'S SCOTCHED TAPE
WHEN O.J. SIMPSON SPOKE AT THE Oxford Union two weeks ago, he drew an overflow crowd and found many a receptive ear. But back home, most of the public has been decidedly unwilling to fork over $29.95 for O.J. Simpson: The Interview, the 2½ hour video Simpson released last February, in which he asserts that "the world of Faye Resnick" was involved in the deaths of his wife and Ron Goldman. A mere 40,000 tapes have been sold, estimates Steve Dworman, president of the Infomercial Marketing Report: "To describe it as a colossal failure would not be a stretch." (Dworman notes, however, that the video probably cost less than $150,000 to produce and should be in the black.) By comparison, a Weather Channel video, The Chase, has sold 75,000-100,000 units in the past year, and there are wildlife tapes that reach the 30,000 mark in one week via TV spots. But it's precisely the lack of TV exposure that has hurt The Interview's sales, says Simpson video producer Tony Hoffman. A few local stations and Black Entertainment Television have accepted his ads, but cable networks have refused them. "We've been boycotted," he claims. (CNBC says it was a "management decision" not to air the ads; Court TV claims no ad was ever delivered for review.) As for over-the-counter sales, major video outlets, such as Blockbuster, have decided against stocking the tape, though Blockbuster does carry Simpson trial videos from CNN and Court TV, because, says spokesman Wally Knief, "they are not controversial." At Vidiots in Santa Monica, a few miles from Simpson's estate, retail buyer Meg Johnson hasn't had any requests for the video. "Everyone has had their fill of it," she says.