Globe grasps DVD explosion

Sales for U.S. companies jumped by 43% to $14.9 bil

SYDNEY — The U.S. majors hauled in a record $41.6 billion in revenues from all media streams worldwide last year, up from 2002’s $36.5 billion.

That growth was fueled by the rocketing DVD business, a jump in sales to domestic free-to-air broadcasters and a surge in the studios’ foreign theatrical rentals.

The Hollywood companies’ free-to-air TV revenues were flat overseas, while those from pay TV rose slightly at home and abroad.

The stats are revealed in the Motion Picture Assn. of America’s annual all-media report, which is circulated only to members.

The majors’ revs from all media sources hit $24.5 billion in the U.S. last year (up from 2002’s $21.7 billion) and clocked $16.6 billion internationally ($14.7 billion previously).

Of the worldwide total, 46% came from homevideo; 28% was from free TV; 18% was generated by theatrical; and 8% from pay TV.

The top five markets in all-media terms were the U.K. with $3 billion, Japan’s $1.9 billion, Germany’s $1.7 billion, France’s $1.5 billion and Canada’s $1.3 billion. Rounding out the top 10 were Spain’s $1.1 billion, Italy’s $839 million, Australia’s $811 million, Holland’s $400 million and Mexico’s $346 million.

The MPAA reported the majors’ theatrical billings overseas soared to $3.1 billion, up from the prior year’s $2.5 billion. This was boosted by favorable exchange rates, particularly in Europe and Latin America, and a paucity of locally produced hits in many markets, with the notable exception of South Korea.

According to the study, the domestic B.O. rang up $9.48 billion, a slight decline from 2002’s $9.5 billion.

The majors’ homevid revs climbed to $11.2 billion in the U.S., an increase of $1.2 billion, and to $7.7 billion abroad, a gain of $1.4 billion.

Worldwide, DVD sales for the U.S. companies jumped by 43% to $14.9 billion, offsetting a 34% decline in VHS sell-through revs to $2.7 billion and a 30% drop in VHS rental revs to $1.2 billion.

Internationally, DVD sales tallied $5.5 billion (a 53% bounce), VHS sell-through posted $1.4 billion (down 18%) and VHS rental brought in $735 million (off 25%).

Pay TV generated $1.6 billion in the U.S., up from $1.5 billion, and $1.65 billion abroad, previously $1.62 billion.

The majors reaped $7.8 billion from free TV domestically vs. $6.6 million in 2002, and $3.6 billion offshore, level with the prior year.

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