The French video market is more heavily dominated by US films than France's theatrical market.
A new study published by the Centre National de la Cinematographie (CNC) shows that Hollywood films accounted for 74% of gross receipts between 1996-2001 in the video sector, compared with a 57% market share of theatrical BO.
The study, by Benoit Danard, head of the CNC's statistical division, was one of two pieces of research presented at last weekend's Rencontres Cinematographiques de Beaune convention.
Together with the sharply expanded contribution to the CNC's coffers from the special video tax (up from Euros18m in 2002 to Euros40m so far in 2003), the reports underline the growing importance of home entertainment in the French film industry's economic mix.
The report shows that the video market is more open and less concentrated on top selling product than the theatrical sector. A total of 4,200 titles were available at the time of research, with the films released that year only accounting for 11% of total titles available and 54% of receipts. Similarly, the top 20 video titles accounted for 60% of gross receipts, compared with 80% of BO for the top 20 theatrical titles.
Compiled with data largely from the pre-DVD era, the report showed that 73% of US films had been released on DVD, compared with only 44% of French films.
US films pulled further ahead with their performances on video. The value of video receipts for US films was on average 36% greater than their theatrical take.
But French films are more dependent on theatrical performances, achieving average video receipts 39% lower than their BO gross. The performance differential was at its most extreme with small films which achieved less than 500,000 admissions. In this segment the performance of US films on video was more than five times that of the average French picture.
The report appeared to give some weight to the proposition that US films benefit from greater advertising and promotional budgets. It said that 60% of video advertising was on behalf of US films, 19% for French films and 21% for other nationalities. But the lines are blurred by a massive 87% of video advertising that is spent by the video subsidiaries of national broadcasters TF1 and M6, both of which release a mixture of French and US titles.
It rounded off with a rare piece of research on the extras and bonus material being made available on DVDs. French films were more likely to be accompanied by interviews, short films and storyboards. American films are more-likely to have out-takes, music clips, documentaries and second discs.