U.K. home entertainment growth continues

First-half sales are up 3.3% over 2007

LONDON -- Latest figures from the British Video Assn. on Monday show that the U.K. home entertainment industry is bucking the economic trend and showing continued volume growth.

Sales in the first half of 2008 are up 3.3% compared with the same period last year, thanks to the increased level of consumer choice provided by high-definition formats, the BVA said, adding that Blu-ray Discs are up 506% year to date and have a 1.2% share in the total market.

The BVA said 111.6 million units had been sold this year, including nearly 1 million Blu-ray Discs.

"The availability of DVD, Blu-ray and legal downloading means viewers now have more options when deciding how to consume their home entertainment. This increased supply of choice is one factor attributed to the growing demand," the BVA said.

Top title for the year so far is Disney's "Ratatouille," with more than 1.2 million copies sold, the BVA reported, adding that "Stardust," "Atonement" and "The Golden Compass" also had sold more that 800,000 copies on DVD alone.

"History has shown that in times of economic hardship, consumers find even more value in home entertainment when the leisure pound is stretched as it is," BVA director general Lavinia Carey said.