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Sales and Rentals in January Show DVD's Growing Market Share

23 Jan, 2003 By: Judith McCourt

Sales and rentals in the first two weeks of January mirrored the increase in DVD players in U.S. households, especially in the gift-giving fourth quarter.

More than 25 million DVD players were sold in 2002, pushing the number of DVD households in the United States to north of 40 million, according to figures released by the DVD Entertainment Group. When DVD-ROM drives and DVD-capable video game machines are added to the mix, the number of DVD playback devices hits more than 95 million.

With DVD households soaring, sales and rental of software is following suit.

Sales of top 50 sellers for the week ended Jan. 11 were skewed toward DVD, with 84 percent of those titles' sales on disc, according to Nielsen VideoScan data. By comparison, in January 2002, when household DVD penetration was 26 million households, DVD unit sales accounted for two-thirds of the unit volume.

For the week ended Jan. 19, Nielsen First Alert data tagged Buena Vista Home Entertainment's Signs as the top seller on both VHS and DVD.

Rental revenue jumped for the week ended Jan. 12. According to Video Store Magazine market research, weekly rental revenue tallied $211.7 million, up 10.3 percent from the comparable week in 2002.

The DVD/VHS rental revenue mix is hovering around 50/50. DVD rental revenue was $101.6 million, 48 percent of the weekly gross. By comparison, in the comparable week last year, DVD rentals made up just 23 percent of total rental receipts.

Buena Vista's Signs topped the rental chart for the second consecutive week, pulling in $16.7 million in rental revenue and pushing its cumulative take to $31.3 million since its release.

The rental newcomers in the top 10 for the week were all from Universal Studios Home Video, a supplier that typically turns in strong first-quarter performances. They included About a Boy (No. 3, $13.92 million), Blue Crush (No. 5, $9.48 million) and Undercover Brother (No. 7, $7.24 million).

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