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DVD Has Strong Hold on Western Europe and US

19 May, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

DVD penetration in Western European households is on a par with the United States and shows no sign that growth will fall off, according to figures from the Digital Entertainment Group Europe (DEGE).

The format has caught on best in France and the United Kingdom so far, with household penetration at 50 percent in France and slightly less in the United Kingdom. Spain is close behind with 46 percent penetration, followed by Germany at 40 percent. Italy is starting to catch up with 20 percent household penetration.

“It's six years since the DVD format was launched in Europe, and sales are showing no signs of abating. Consumers are enjoying the quality of the DVD as well as the range of added extras,” said Philippe Cardon, president of the DEGE and SVP and GM of Warner Home Video Europe. “As in the United States, more and more consumers are buying a second DVD player for their home. In 2003, the penetration of multi-player DVD households was around 10 percent, and we expect this to increase to an average of 20 percent in 2004 across major European countries. Family households have different viewing needs, and having more than one player means family members have more choice of what to watch.”

Almost 20 million DVD discs were sold in France and Germany in the first quarter of 2004, nearly double the sales in the same quarter of 2003, according to DEGE. Also, sales grew 51.9 percent in Spain and 7.3 percent in Italy for the quarter.

According to a DEGE chart, Western Europeans love many of the same films that American viewers favor: Titles that made the quarter's top 10 list in at least four of the countries [France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the U.K.] in the quarter include The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and the first two installments of the “Lord of the Rings” franchise.

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