Italy's home video market grew 3% last year, buoyed by the blossoming DVD sector and an upswing in news-stand videocassette prices and rentals.

The home-video market posted a turnover of approximately $575m in 1999, according to Univideo, Italy's home entertainment association. DVD sales soared, with a 450 % increase in sales over the previous year, 1.2 million discs sold and a turnover of $25m.

Univideo secretary-general Davide Rossi said DVD sales were bolstered by the creation at the end of last year of promotional body DVD GroupItalia. The organistaion is headed by Philips' Gherardo Magri and Fabrizio Ferucci of Columbia TriStar Home Video.

Another factor, according to Rossi, is that many Italians are currently holding back on buying mobile phones - the sector's main rival - as they wait for new third-generation UMTS mobile phones to enter stores.