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Panel mulls non-feature DVD potential

Opportunities for growth in non-feature film programming

CANNES — There are still billions to be made from DVD sales — that was the common verdict at the “DVD: Delve Into the Revenue Potential” conference held at the Mipcom programming mart.

Discussion, moderated by Daily Variety executive editor Steven Gaydos, highlighted the prospective opportunities for explosive revenue growth in non-feature film programming.

Indeed, Alliance Atlantis and BBC Worldwide have enjoyed huge hits with the DVD releases of their respective series “CSI” and “The Office.”

BBC raked in $33 million alone from DVD releases of back catalog titles last year.

The dominance of feature films, which made up 80% of the DVD market in 2001, slipped to 75% last year and continues to give way to TV fiction, children’s programming, music and special interest fare. Trend is expected to grow.

But Stuart Snaith, BBC Worldwide director of video, sponsorship and events, cautioned that costly extras, finding alternative sales outlets for non-feature fare and the plummeting price of DVDs could severely limit future growth.

Nevertheless, Jean-Paul Commin, chief operating officer of France Televisions Distribution and prexy of the Intl. Video Federation, noted that the European market, which represents more than 20% of the worldwide market, accelerated in 2002 after an already remarkable progression of more than 20% in 2001, surpassing sales on VHS for the first time. The figure shot up another 20% in 2002, when Europeans spent some $13 billion on DVDs.

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