'Fellowship' is lord of the discs

LONDON — A billion DVDs have been sold in the U.K. since the format launched less than a decade ago, according to the British Video Association.

The bestselling DVD ever in the U.K. is “Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring,” which has sold almost five million units.

The two “Rings” sequels — “The Two Towers” and “Return of the King” — have also proved homevid hits, coming in second and fourth respectively in the all-time DVD sales chart.

Other top sellers are “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” in third and “Shrek 2″ in fifth spot.

The DVD one billion mark was reached seven years quicker than it took the same number of VHS units to fly off shelves.

“This landmark achievement shows the strength of DVD as a format and the continuing enthusiasm for DVD by the public,” commented Lavinia Carey, BVA director general. “The video sector is now looking beyond this moment to the future of home entertainment and the hope that the additional quality that high definition formats will deliver can bring further value, quality and choice to the market place.”

But while sales of DVDs continue to grow, the rate of growth is slowing down as a result of a maturing market, according to the BVA. Also, fierce competition has lead to price erosion, reducing the overall value of the market.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more