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Echo Boom: Europeans Love TV DVD As Much As Americans Do

2 Aug, 2005 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The TV DVD boom is hardly limited to the United States. Overseas, the “novelty of the concept is already changing the makeup of the DVD-buying public,” according to a new report from Screen Digest.

Indeed, “demographic groups that have shown comparatively little interest in feature-film titles are now flocking to TV DVD,” the report states.

In Western Europe alone, Screen Digest pegs TV DVD sales last year at €1.75 billion, up from €1.25 billion in 2003 and just €600 million in 2002. Screen Digest also found that TV DVD sales account for nearly 30 percent of the overall DVD business in Britain, where demand is great, both for American shows like “Friends” and homegrown series such as “The Office.”

Overseas, “the TV DVD sector is as diverse as the video industry itself, with titles ranging from multimillion sellers like ‘Friends' or ‘The Office' to older cult titles aimed at a niche audience,” said Helen Davis Jayalath, senior analyst with Screen Digest.

“Despite the vast range of titles already available, our research indicates that this sector will continue to outstrip the overall DVD market in terms of growth for the next few years.”

Jayalath noted that consumers in France and the United Kingdom have been buying TV DVD for years — chiefly homegrown shows. In the rest of the world, she said, “the genre is an essentially new idea” that's fast gaining popularity.

Some key findings in the study:

• Growth rates for TV DVD are forecast to outpace those for the overall DVD market between now and 2009.

• The TV DVD boom is opening up the DVD marketplace to new demographic groups, chiefly older buyers.

• TV DVD prices are holding up better than those for feature films.

• Local content dominates the British and French markets.

• There is little correlation between TV ratings and the success of a show on DVD.

The 77-page report also shows that the discounting that's recently hit U.S. TV DVD has not yet arrived on European shores.

Last year, the average price of a complete-series set in the United States was $30. In Germany, it was more than $40, and in Britain it was $50.

Screen Digest has been published for more than 30 years and is read in more than 40 countries.

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