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France's 2011 physical media sales down 9%; VOD shot up 50%

France's video market - DVD, Blu-ray, VOD - fell 2.7% in 2011 to Euro1.49 billion, down from Euro1.53 billion in 2010, according to domestic video publishers body, Syndicat de l'Edition Vidéo Numérique (SEVN), and market researcher GFK.

Blu-ray disc sales rose 20% in 2011, both in value and volume, to 10 million units sold. Blu-ray now accounts for 16% (Euro210 million) of total turnover of physical media, compared to 12% in 2010. Today, more than six million households are equipped with Blu-ray players, PS3 and/or other BD-capable devices.

While sales of DVD and Blu-ray discs fell 9% to an estimated Euro1.26 billion, revenues from video-on-demand transactions rose more than 50% last year to an estimated Euro230 million. SEVN notes that the offer of legally-accessible content grew very substantially to 20,000 titles, of which 6,500 are films.

SEVN's General Manager Jean-Yves Mirski attributes the overall video revenue fall to the less attractive offer of comedy and action titles in 2011. Sales of new DVD releases fell 13%.

The other factor is the continually high level of piracy despite counter measures adopted under the HADOPI law. Mirski believes that piracy has principally affected the growth rate of Blu-ray and VOD.

SEVN has linked with other professional organisations to bring legal proceedings aimed at blocking access to internet sites directing users to illegal content. It notes with satisfaction the closure of sites such as Allostreaming and Megaupload.

High cinema box-office receipts, especially in the second half of 2011, is seen as a positive development for the video market, both discs and digital.

SEVN campaigns for a reduction of the VAT on video products, bringing it to a same rate whether a title is seen at the cinema, on disc or online. "This measure would help sustain the video industry during these difficult market conditions,"' says Mirski.

Story filed 13.02.12

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