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News in Brief - january 2015


FRENCH SUPERMARKET chain Carrefour has launched its own online VoD service branded Nolim Films. The service, which offers 3,000 cinema and TV episodes at launch, aims to offer the richest library on the French market in the medium term. Nolim Films isn?t aiming to compete with existing SVoD platforms such as CanalPlay or Netflix, but seeks to attract viewers who want to download or stream a single title whenever they want and on any connected device.
Incentives include movie titles just four months after their French cinema release. As a partner of UltraViolet, Carrefour will allow customers buying a DVD or a Blu-ray Disc in its supermarkets to also get the digital copy free of charge. It is the first supermarket group to back UltraViolet in France.

FROZEN, with 7.48 million units, has surpassed Avatar (7.36 million) to become the top-selling Blu-ray disc of all time in the USA, according to The Numbers. Only 17 movies have sold more than 3 million units on Blu-ray. Next to DVD numbers, these are quite small. At the last reliable count, Avatar had not yet cracked the top 20 DVDs of all time in spite of its box office and Blu-ray dominance. In 2014 alone, Frozen sold more than 11 million DVDs - impressive since #2 was The Hunger Games with 3.4 million units sold. As of last year, the top-selling DVD of all time was estimated to be Finding Nemo with over 40 million units sold.

ACCORDING TO NIELSEN there are still 139 million people that use a DVD or Blu-ray player in the US, and household penetration of the devices is still at a relatively high 81%. What?s more, device owners still spend 5 hours and 16 minutes a month using it. The number of disc player users fell 1.7% from Q3 2013 to Q3 2014. Time spent with the device fell even faster, down 2.4% to 5 hours and 16 minutes. The number of homes with a player is down from 83% in Q3 2013.

THE FRENCH VOD and SVoD market is expected to be worth €250 million to €280 million in 2014, according to industry estimates, writes ZDNet France. This will not be enough to offset an expected 14% decline in the physical video market (DVD, Blu-ray) to €797 million, a headline figure released by national film centre CNC and market researcher GfK. According to preliminary data, 2014 will be the first time the combined physical and digital video market falls to under €1.1 billion, comparing with €1.2 billion in 2013. France's physical video market has halved from €2 billion in 2004.

THE CEO OF IRELAND'S XTRA-VISION and HMV, Gerry Butler, revealed the company is looking to roll out 80 DVD vending machines nationwide bearing the Xtra-vision brand name over the next four weeks in an investment that is worth a "six figure sum." This is on top of 20 vending machines already deployed. Butler says that there is scope to double that number in Ireland as well as move into the UK. Extra-vision will also start selling books in stores.

THE US POSTAL SERVICE filed a lawsuit 23 December against the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) for the right to create a new product for DVD and disc mailings. The agency wants the court to overturn the oversight body's decision that denied the Postal Service the ability to create a new product called the "Round Trip Mailer" specifically for mass, round-trip DVD mail for services such as Netflix or GameFly. The PRC said that the Postal Service has too much market control over that category since no other company provided the mass shipping of DVDs and that digital services did not serve as a check against the agency's market power.