Par exits Korean DVD market

Move is a blow to future viability of local disc sector

Paramount will withdraw from the ailing South Korean DVD market Friday, signing over homevideo distribution rights to local major CJ Entertainment.

Par is the second Hollywood studio this year to shutter homevideo in South Korea: Universal turned over its operations to Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Korea in April.

Paramount and Universal each account for roughly 20% of the homevideo market, and the move is a blow to the future viability of South Korea’s DVD sector.

With Fox’s plans uncertain following managing director Jesse Lee’s move to Fox Japan, the three major Hollywood players in the market are Sony, Warners and Buena Vista.

Internet piracy has been blamed for the stagnation of the DVD sector, in spite of a decade of growth in theatrical admissions.

With one of the highest rates of broadband penetration in the world, a widespread culture of illegal downloading flourishes among young viewers.

To boost sagging ancillary markets, Warners has pacted with local broadcaster MBC to sell legal downloads of its films online from the second half of this year.

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