DVDs post box office smash in 2006

By Sarah Falson

SYDNEY: DVD sales soared last year with 65.2 million titles worth $1.02 billion sold to retailers, up 14 per cent in terms of units and 15 per cent in value compared with the 12 months from January to December in 2005.

In 2005, DVD sales declined two per cent from the year earlier. According to the Australian Visual Software Distributors Association (AVSDA) chairperson, Liz Van Hooven, the disappointing 2005 results were a one-off, with DVD sales expected to rise this year.

“We had some great titles last year including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Pirates of the Caribbean, Ice Age 2 and independent films like Kenny,” she told The Australian Financial Review.

“We made sure they were easy to get hold of by broadening DVD sales from mass retail to other outlets like petrol stations.”

In addition, Australia’s keen interest in flat screen televisions drove sales, as did a crack-down on DVD pirates.

“Piracy is still rampant, but it has moved from discs on sale at neighbourhood markets to online products. Our focus is not on peer-to-peer and other illegal download services,” said Van Hooven, who is also the managing director of Universal Pictures in Australia.

According to AVSDA, the number of DVDs sold to DVD rental outlets has increased by 22 per cent, while the value increased by only five per cent, suggesting that online DVD rental services such as Quickflix are lending DVDs for cheaper fees.

Blu-ray and HD DVD disc sales reached 1.6 per cent of DVD sales, suggesting that some early adopters have already caught on to the high definition formats. Not surprisingly, Blu-ray accounted for 56 per cent of these sales. 

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