U.K. crosses billion DVD sales mark

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LONDON -- More than a billion DVDs have been sold in the U.K. in the decade since the format launched, the British Video Assn. reported Wednesday.

To date, the best-selling DVD of all time here is "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," which has sold almost 5 million units. The best-selling British title is "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," with 3 million units.

The BVA also noted that the landmark total was reached seven years sooner than on VHS, showing, director general Lavinia Carey said: "The strength of DVD as a format and the continuing enthusiasm for DVD by the public."

She added, "The video sector is now looking beyond this moment to the future of home entertainment and the hope that the additional quality that high-definition formats will deliver can bring further value, quality and choice to the marketplace."

However, Carey pointed out that growth is slowing "as a result of a maturing market" and "fierce competition has lead to price erosion, reducing the overall value of the market."

She also revealed that the BVA is monitoring the development of the download market but suggested that "it will be some years yet before the Internet becomes a significant distribution mechanism for such media."
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