Germany's DVD boom continues at the expense of the VHS video market, according to figures released by video trade body BVV for the first quarter of 2003.

The number of DVDs sold increased year-on-year by 57% from 7.4m units to 11.6m, while that for sell-through VHS cassettes dropped by 37% from 2002's 8.1m units to 5.1m.

While overall sales revenues for DVDs and videos increased by only 0.3% - from Euros 247.3m to Euros 248m, the popularity of DVDs was reflected in the 30.4% growth in sales in the format from Euros 149m to Euros 194.2m.

According to BVV, the shrinking in the video cassette's market share was largely due to fact that the first quarter of 2003 had not seen a blockbuster release of the calibre of last year's Der Schuh Des Manitu. In addition, turnover with children's videos - a traditional mainstay of the sell-through video market - would come later this year because Easter had not been held until late April.

While the sell-through market has been kept buoyant thanks to the boom in DVDs, Germany's rental sector is, on the other hand, coming under increasing pressure from the growing distribution, downloading and copying of pirated feature films via the Internet.

A year ago, video stores earned Euros 104.7m from 37.2m rental transactions in the first quarter, but the first three months of 2003 saw revenues slip 17.6% to Euros 86.3m and only 32.3m transactions.

As with the sell-through sector, the DVD is becoming the dominant format in the rental market as well: 19.6m DVDs were rented up to the end of March, compared to 12.7m video cassettes. In fact, the year-on-year increase of DVD rentals amounted to 80% (from 2002's 10.9m units), while the video rentals more than halved - to 52% - from last year's 26.3m cassettes taken out from video stores.