DVD sales fell 6.6% last year to $2.76 billion

TOKYO — Sales in the Japanese home entertainment market, including DVDs and video cassettes, fell 10.8% to yen 330.8 billion ($2.8 billion) in 2006, according to figures released Monday by the Japan Video Software Assn. — the second year sales have slipped.

DVD sales fell 6.6% last year to $2.76 billion or 98.3% of the total. Video cassettes, with only a 1.7% share, continued their march to extinction.

Japanese animation accounted for the biggest sales slice, with 24.5%, though the $460 million total represented a year-on drop of 14.1%.

Foreign pics came in second, with $387 million for 20.6% share, but suffered a 40.9% year-on sales decline.

Meanwhile, Japanese pics gained 5.8% in 2006 to $82 million, for a 9.7% share.

Japanese and foreign TV dramas also enjoyed sales growth, as did animation for kiddies.

Sell-through DVDs accounted for 66.9% of all sales, but the $1.88 billion total was a 15.5% drop from 2005. Meanwhile, rental shop sales grew 2.4% year-on to $896 million.

Finally, sales of discs in next-generation formats, including HD DVD, Blu-ray and UMD, amounted to just 0.3% of the total.

According to JVA numbers, DVD and video cassette sales grew from 2000 to 2004 when a new record of $3.18 billion was set. Since then, however, sales have slumped, with a lack of Hollywood hits being a major factor.

“It may be natural to take a negative view (of the sales decline), but there are genres with a lot of potential so we don’t want people to think that everything is heading in a bad direction,” said JVA general manager Toshio Goto. “We can come back quickly from a drop of 10% — it’s not the end of the world.”

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