Germany's home entertainment market has posted record results for the first nine months of 2003 thanks to the ever increasing popularity of the DVD.

New figures published by the trade association BVV (Bundesverbandes audiovisuelle Medien) show overall turnover for the sector grew year-to-year by 10.4% from Euros 888.5m to Euros 981m.

This was 70% more than the German cinemas' box office turnover of Euros 584.1m between January and September of this year (, Nov 14).

The sell-through market saw 2002's record revenues of Euros 629.4m topped by 20.6% to Euros 759.1m, with 29.2% more videos and DVDs sold this year (39.75m units in total) than in the same period 12 months ago.

The increase was largely down to consumer enthusiasm for DVDs: the number of units sold climbed by an impressive 78.6% from 2002's 21.16m to 37.79m.

However, the corresponding turnover in the first three quarters increased by 'only' 49.4% from Euros 415.6m to Euros 620.7m as many of the DVD titles coming onto the market were from the labels' back catalogues at prices below those for new releases.

In addition, Warner Bros. Pictures Germany's Willi Geike noted last week that the revenues generated on new titles was stagnating because of the growing problem of piracy through illegal copying and downloads from the Internet.

At the same time, the boom in DVD sales has more than compensated for the contraction in turnover by VHS sell-through cassettes, which slid by 35.3% to Euros 138.4m.

"The DVD thus continues to be the locomotive for the film industry and it is definitely realistic to expect that by the end of this year Euros 1bn will be generated by the sale of the silver discs alone since the run-up to Christmas with strong sales is still to come", BVV noted.

Meanwhile, the situation of the rental market remains difficult. 11.6% fewer rental transactions were registered overall in the first three quarters of 2003 - from 93.74m in 2002 to 82.86m - even though 66% of the transactions were for DVDs and 65.1% more DVDs were rented from rental stores than in the previous year. 2003 saw only 28.2m video rental transactions posted compared to 60.63m 12 months ago.

The BVV pointed out that the fact that turnover from the video/DVD rental market had fallen by 14.4% to Euros 221.9m was "primarily a result of the growth in the illegal duplication of films".