German Home Entertainment Revenue Dips in First Quarter

VOD boom can't make up for lost DVD/Blu-Ray sales.

COLOGNE, Germany - Germany's home entertainment market continues to erode, if slowly, with both unit and revenue sales slipping in the first three months of this year.

Official figures from the German audiovisual association show a 5 percent drop in sell-through revenues to $447 million (€314 million) in the first quarter, while rental sales held steady at $100 million (€70 million). Total unit sales dipped 3.3 percent to 27 million. This marks the first time in more than a decade that both revenue and unit sales have fallen in the first quarter.

Online sales continue to grow – 900,000 films were sold via electronic sell-through in Germany in Q1 and online rentals jumped 50 percent to 2.2 million titles – but the boost was not enough to replace the loss in traditional DVD and Blu-Ray disks. The top sell-through title in Q1 was Sylvester Stallone’s actioner The Expendables while fantasy title The Sorcerer’s Apprentice topped the rental charts.

In a more distressing trend for the industry, the average sell-through price for new Blu-Ray disks – at $21.32 – was down 11 percent from this time last year. It’s an indication that price dumping by bulk retailers is having a similar effect on the new format as it did on DVD prices, which have fallen sharply in the past few years, now averaging around $16 per disk for new releases.