The Beatles Anthology on video and laserdisc
& Deluxe Sneak Preview video press kit


The first Anthology Video advertisement, and the laserdisc box (back, spine, and front)

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The first trade ad announcing The Beatles Antholgy ten-hour video release premiered in the July 7, 1996 issue of Video Store magazine. The VHS set included 8 seventy-five minute videotapes and was released on September 5th with a retail price of $159.98. Retail selling prices have ranged from $89.00 to the full list price. In early 1997, warehouse club Costco was selling the set for only $79.00.

The laserdisc version was released at the same time with a suggested list price of $229.98. In San Francisco, the 8 disc box set was originally advertised by Virgin Records for $154.00, below wholesale cost. The sets were officially announced July 10, 1996 at the VSDA (Video Software Dealers Association) convention in Los Angeles by Turner Home Entertainment.

During the summer of '96 Capitol's video division test marketed three different direct-response spots (60 seconds, 90 seconds, and two minutes) in eight different markets. The ads offered the tapes individually, and consumers had the option of receiving a new one each month. A variety of price points were tested and the total individual prices for the set exceeded the package list of $159.98. The video release coincided with the repeat airing of The Beatles Anthology special on ABC Aug. 31, Sept. 5 and Sept. 7, 1996. On October 29th, Capitol released Anthology 3 on cassette and CD, with vinyl following in mid-November. The album debuted at No.1 on the Billboard charts, the Beatles' 18th No.1 album.

Front and back sleeves for Laserdisc set
Laserdisc labels

All 8 laser sleeves, front and back and the laserdisc labels for Vol. 1

"Sneak Preview" Video Press Kit

Sneak Preview box one
Sneak Preview box
Sneak Preview videotape box

Side and front view of box, plus videotape front and back covers

This cleverly designed promotional package included a custom-boxed 5-minute promo VHS videotape and a 3-ring binder of Anthology literature. The container is a "hinged" 6-sided color box made to look exactly like a stack of old worn Beatles records, with Meet The Beatles on the top (as the opening lid) and Let It Be on the bottom. The side shows a photo of the spines of all albums from Meet The Beatles to Let It Be, including the United Artists title A Hard Day's Night. The opposite side is a photo of the jacket openings, with some of the inner sleeves "hanging out." Three of the "albums" are "imports.". Shown above is the sticker for the front of the video press kit "sneak preview" shipping box.

promo box spine

The Meet The Beatles album is the "lid" of the box, which lifts up revealing the notebook binder - custom designed with Anthology artwork on the front and back. Inside the notebook is an introduction letter, a six page Beatles biography, advertising information and schedules, a tri-fold color ad, and photos of Anthology products. Underneath the notebook is a custom storage pocket for the videotape. Issued in very limited numbers, these press kits were originally selling for around $300.00! Now, in late 1997, the price has reached nearly $500.00 for sealed copies, if you can find one.

Front of notebook
Sneak Preview Notebook

Front of notebook, and inside showing intro letter, trade ad, and inserts

Sneak Preview videocassette

Sneak Preview 5-minute Videotape

Inside front lid and notebook storage
Box shown with the lid open - the inside of the lid has the All Together Now headline and showing a picture of the complete anthology videotape box set. The white dots at each uper corner are velco strips that held the box lid closed. The bottom half of the photo shows how the notebook binder is flush with the top of the box. A semi-circle thumb tab cut-out is to the right.

notebook page
notebook page
notebook page
notebook page
notebook page
notebook page
notebook page

The introductory letter and the 6 biography pages from the notebook

Special thanks to Perry Cox for providing an open copy of the Sneak Preview promo set so we didn't have to open a sealed copy, and to Robert York for help on the images...

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