Total homevid sales last year rose by 3%

MILAN — Despite industry fears that the Internet and video-on-demand would destroy the homevid market, Italy’s vid category showed little sign of erosion in 2000, thanks to DVD and the resilience of the VHS biz.

Total homevid sales last year rose by 3% to 1.2 trillion lire ($550 million), while unit sales increased slightly by 2% up to $41.8 million, the National Assn. of Audiovisual Publishers announced Wednesday in Rome.

Old and new formats, also important, are the preferred form of entertainment among Italian families. Per-capita expenditure on DVD and VHS purchases was about $9.40 last year, followed by theatrical films at $9.10 and concerts at $3.50.

According to the study, 280,000 Italian households own a DVD player, while 12 million (about half of Italy’s total families) have a VHS player. But DVD penetration is rapidly increasing, aided in part by the fledging distribution network that is just starting to include newsstands. Sales of this format in 2000 grew by 169% to $63 million with 3.3 million units sold.

VHS sales declined slightly by 2% in terms of units, but in terms of sell-through revenues, had a more dramatic 9% decrease to about $331 million. Rental of VHS rose by 2% to $147 million.

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