Annual DVD unit sales in Germanypassed the 100 million mark for the first time last year, according to statistics prepared by the GfK market research institute for the home entertainment industry body BVV.

A total of 100.7m units were sold in 2006, up from 98.7m in 2005, with record sales in the fourth quarter - especially December, when 18.6m DVDs passed over the counter compared to 16.8m in 2005.

At the same time, the aggressive marketing of new releases at special cut-down prices led to the overall turnover for sell-through titles slipping by 4% from 2005's $1.8bn (Euros 1.366bn) to $1.73bn (Euros 1.307bn) last year. The average price for a DVD also fell by 4% from $17.70 (Euros 13.39) to $16.99 (Euros 12.86).

However, business in the video stores suffered from the competition of the FIFA World Cup and the summer heatwave: rental turnover fell by 11% from 2005's $423m (Euros 320m) to $375 (Euros 284m) and the number of rental transactions dropped by 12m to an all-time low of 112m.

Despite this, the home entertainment sector's overall turnover of $2.1bn (Euros 1.591bn) was almost double that of Germany's cinemas, which posted revenues of $1075m (Euros 814m) in 2006.