ANAHEIM, CALIF. — Business-card-sized CDs provide a new revenue stream for Cinram International Inc. and a marketing opportunity for promoters. Typically, the replicator faces peak seasonal demands for compact discs and DVDs from September through November.
"We were looking for something to utilize the molding machines and metalizers and stabilize our work force," Jim Lance, general manager in Anaheim, said in an office interview.
Cinram began molding versions of the nifty polycarbonate CDs for Rompus Interactive Corp. of Mississauga, Ontario, in September and Digital Card Media Inc. of Langhorne, Pa., in October.
By the end of December Cinram had molded 580,000, and probably that many again in January alone, Lance said. "It is just getting kicked off."
Content on the CDs may include brochure-type information, marketing data and connections to a promoter's Web site. Like others in this niche market, both Rompus and Digital previously trimmed standard CDs to achieve desired shapes.
But replicating and cutting a disc takes two costly steps and can inherently flaw an optical medium.
"What we did was design and build mold dies, and now we mold two or three different sizes," Lance said.
Cinram is evaluating a larger version that is comparable in size to a sports trading card. Getting these nontraditional discs to operate correctly in a computer drive remains an industry issue.
The promotional cards can cost $1.50 each or more for smaller orders, about $1 each for an average order of 50,000 or perhaps 50 cents each for 500,000 units, according to Rompus and Digital Card Media.