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News in Brief - march 2010


SPAIN'S Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Commerce will compel TV sets from 21 inches up to integrate high definition tuners for terrestrial digital reception by a Royal Decree. Currently, some TV sets ready for Blu-ray connections are being sold, but not all of them can receive the terrestrial HDTV signal with the maximum quality and they need an external tuner.

ACCORDING to a new report published by Strategy Analytics global DVD sales plunged 9% last year to $33 billion and will drop a further 12% in 2010. The analysts predict that while global Blu-ray sales will reach $6.5 billion this year, that will not be enough to offset the expected continued drop in DVD sales.

BRITISH songwriters, composers and music publishers earned £623 million ($944.8m) in royalties in 2009, up 2.6% on 2008 and the first time the growth in digital revenues outperformed the drop in CD and DVD earnings. In 2009, online revenues grew 7%, or £12.8 million to £30.4 million, while earnings from CDs and DVDs fell by £8.7 million. The overall increase in the market was largely due to a sharp rise in British music use abroad, increasing 19% to £166.9 million.

BBC WORLDWIDE - the commercial arm of the BBC - has agreed to pay £17m to secure full ownership of DVD publishing firm 2Entertain. It is buying the 40% of 2Entertain which it did not already own from the administrators of failed High Street giant Woolworths. Programmes published by 2Entertain include Planet Earth and Top Gear. It said the funds for the deal did not come from television licence fees.

CANAL+ Spain will inaugurate its first 3D transmissions this year, hoping to become the country’s first TV channel in offering this new technology. canalplus3d3D content will be accessible through the iPlus box, the advanced terminal of Sogecable’s pay-TV operator Digital+ which also allows HDTV reception. Starting in the first half of this year Canal+ Spain will begin offering some of its premium content in 3D. Sports and culture will be the first type of content offered in 3D by the pay-TV channel.

A SCREEN Digest report indicates that the number of Blu-ray Discs purchased by consumers in France and Germany grew by 73% in 2009. Across the whole market, BD's proportion of total UK video sales by volume doubled to 3.4% in 2009. The titles with the highest BD conversion rate in 2009 were Sony Picture's Terminator: Salvation and Paramount's Star Trek XI, both of which sold over 20% on BD. Germany has overtaken France to become the second-largest BD market in Europe, while its overall BD conversion rates are the highest in Europe at 5.7%.

THERE are 16,405 digital cinema screens around the world, an increase of 86.4 per cent on 2008, with further growth to come in 2010 as digital 3D pushes the market towards a 35mm-free cinema sector. This means that 14.8 per cent of the world's modern cinema screens are digitized, and 9,000 are also equipped with digital 3D (55 per cent of total digital screens). At the end of 2009, there were 4,580 digital screens in Europe, up from 1,547 in 2008.

NIELS Leibbrandt has stepped down as the European Committee Chair of the Blu-ray Disc Association, reportedly returning home to the Netherlands for personal reasons. He has been succeeded by Graham Heaton, International Media and Publicity Director for Warner Bros.

GLOBAL demand for recordable Blu-ray discs is expected to grow sevenfold from 2009 to 310 million discs in 2012 as more people use recorders and personal computers compatible with these discs, according to the Japan Recording Media Industries Association. In Japan alone, demand for recordable Blu-ray discs for taping television programmes and other material is projected to exceed 200 million discs between April 2012 to March 2013 (Japan’s fiscal year).

IN AN interview with The Wall Street Journal, James Cameron said that Avatar will have a 3D Blu-ray release later this year. "It's all right on schedule," Cameron was quoted as saying. "We'll do the Blu-ray and the standard def DVD 22 April, that's our plan as of right now, and that'll be pretty much bare bones. And then we'll do a value-added DVD and a 3D Blu-ray in I think November sometime." However, Fox Home Entertainment couldn't confirm the release dates.

MALAYSIAN police have detained a man, believed to be the mastermind of an DVD piracy syndicate, producing counterfeits in 20 illegal premises throughout the city of Johor. The police detained 281 individuals involved in DVD piracy.