French video market steadies

Volume rises 12%, sales value up almost 1%

Gaul’s free-falling video market appeared to bottom-out last year, registering an increase in sales and steady earnings compared with 2008.

Sales rose 12% from 83 million to 94 million purchases, according to preliminary figures for 2009 prepared by market research company GfK and reported by video industry body Sevn.

Sales were worth E1.38 billion ($2 billion), less than half a percentage point up on 2008, but good news in a market that has lost a third of its value in the past four years.

Blu-ray sales grew from 1.9 million units in 2008 to 4.5 million last year. This was worth $157 million, up 110%.

Video-on-demand is also rising, with earnings up from $76 million in 2008 to $115 million in 2009.

DVD sales volume was up 10%, but down in value by 4% compared with 2008.

Sevn attributed the positive result to narrowing release windows in France, which allowed a lot of titles onto the market in the lucrative final quarter of the year.

The industry has also worked hard to exploit back catalogs and develop Blu-ray, the organization said. It hopes to reap further benefits as government anti-piracy measures bite this year.

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