Germany's DVD boom continued unabated during the first six months of 2003, spurred on by the lure of new releases such as Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, James Bond;Die Another Day and The Matrix.

According to statistics from the country's home entertainment industry body Bundesverband audiovisuelle Medien (BVV), the DVD rental market grew by a massive 70% in the first six months of the year. German DVD fans rented 32.83m DVD's in the first half of 2003 compared to just 19.31m in the same period last year.

Video rentals meanwhile fell by more than 50% from 41.98m to 19.02m during the same period as home entertainment enthusiasts swopped clunky videotape for the better sound and picture qualities of DVD.

Sell through revenues from DVDs and videos meanwhile rose by 12.7% to Euros 493.1m in the first half, nealry Euros 80m more than the Euros 414.5m taken at the German box-office in the same period.

According to GfK, the market research company that collated the figures, the number of DVD titles passing over shop counters rose from 27.15m last year to 33.04m in the first six months of 2003.

Taking into account the whole video and DVD market, including sell-through and rentals, total revenues, for the period were Euros 632.3m, over 52% more than the countries box office take.

Gfk said sales of DVD machines had also rocketed. In the first half of 2002, 13.72m DVDs were sold in Germany; twelve months later, this total had almost doubled to 23.71m, a year-on-year increase of 72.8%.

The market research firm said forecasts that the countries DVD market would be worth Euros 1bn by the end of the year were now "more than realistic."

The boom in DVD sales more than compensated for the decline in interest in sell-through VHS cassettes, Gkf said. Turnover in videotape sales slipped from Euros 158.6m last year to Euros 95.8m in 2003.

However taking into account the dramatic fall in videotape rentals and the rise in DVD sales, the number of rental transactions over all fell by 15.4% to 51.85m compared to 61.29m in the first half of 2002. Turnover in the rental sector slipped year-to-year by 17.9% to Euros 139.3m.

BVV blamed a that a combination of a hot summer, the lack of a home grown hit title and video piracy were to blame for the fall.

"Together with extraordinarily good summer weather and the absence of a single title like Der Schuh Des Manitu (...), the reason for this downturn lies primarily in the increased illegal copying of films."

Top 10 DVD sell-through - Jan-June 2003

1 Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets (Warner Home Video)
2 Die Another Day (MGM)
3 The Matrix (Warner Home Video)
4 Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone (Warner Home Video)
5 Minority Report (20th Century Fox)
6 Lilo & Stitch (Buena Vista)
7 We Were Soldiers (Eurovideo)
8 Men In Black II (Columbia TriStar)
9 LOTR - The Fellowship (Warner Home Video)
10 Resident Evil (Universum)

Source: GfK