DVD sales in Italy jumped a massive 33% in2005, according to national home entertainment body Univideo.

Univideo estimates that 40million DVDs were sold last year. The average price of DVDs dropped 21% to$17-18 (14-15 Euros). Meanwhile, video sales slumped 47%.

Official figures for 2005will only be available in March or April. Univideopresident Davide Rossi said that estimates wereslightly below the industry's hopes. However, he said that in light of thecountry's current negative economic climate, the data highlighted "thestrength of the sector, which is guaranteeing support and profits to the wholefilm industry, in spite of increasingly complex competition sometimes due tonew media whose business plans are somewhat baffling."

The boom in DVD sales also comes on theshoulders of a consistent rise in the sale of DVD players since 2001. At thesame time, the price of DVD players dropped 25% drop in 2004 to anaverage of just under $108 (90 Euros).

DVD players first made theirdebut on the Italian market in 1999.

At the end of 2004, the lastyear for which official figures are available, 36% of Italian homes had DVD players.

The DVD sector in Italy has to contend with rampantpiracy. Competition is also likely to soon include the three Italia mobilenetwork's controversial plans (which have been temporarily postponed) to offerfull-length feature films to customers for just $10.50 (9 Euros) for repeatedviewings.

Top five DVD bestsellers in 2005

1. The Incredibles

2. Shrek 2

3. Madagascar

4. Shark Tale

5. Star Wars

* dataprovided by GFK