Home Video Sales Continue to Fall in France

"The Intouchables" propped up home video sales in 2012.

American titles increased their market share, but overall sales declined in the first three quarters of 2013.

PARIS -- Sales of home videos continued their slow but steady decline in France, with DVD and Blu-ray sales down 13.8 percent in the first nine months of 2013, according to the latest figures from France's National Cinema Center (CNC), which tracks the film industry.

The latest report comparing year-over-year sales follows reports in January and July, showing sales down 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively. This time, decline was even steeper with number of units sold down 13.8 percent and revenue down 15.5 percent in the first three quarters of the year.

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This is mostly due to a steep decline in DVD revenues, which slid 18.2 percent, to $645.8 million (€468.6 million). Though the price of new-title DVDs remained stable at around $23.43 (€17), overall revenues were still down slightly as lower-priced, older titles between $4.13 and $11 (€3 and €8) still held on to a large portion of the sales. A total number of 55.9 million DVDs were picked up by French consumers from January through September, down 15.4 percent from last year.

Blu-rays increased their piece of the shrinking home video pie, with a slight increase from 20 percent to 22.5 percent of the market, but overall sales still fell by 5 percent from 2012, to $187.8 million (€136.3 million) and 8.9 million discs sold. The average price of Blu-rays was bumped up a bit to nearly $31.7 (€23) for new or premium titles and $18 (€13) for older fare.

During the first three quarters of the year, the sales of French films fell a significant 34.3 percent. The steep decline can be partially attributed to the runaway success of 2011's feel-good hit The Untouchables, which broke box office records and hugely boosted home video sales when it hit the market in mid-2012. Without such a strong title propping up numbers, sales of French films fell 28.9 percent from 2012, for a total of 7.15 million units moved and $111.6 million (€81 million) in sales.

American films fared better, increasing the market share of disks sold in France from 60 percent in 2012 to 65 percent. But while the market share did increase, overall sales fell 12.9 percent, for a total of 19.8 million disks and a total $333 million (€241.8) in sales.