Univideo U
Agenzia A

Market Info

The Industry

Audiovisual publishing started in the early 80’s and, during the first 5 years the market developed at a rather slow pace. In the second half of the decade, though, VCR market penetration rose from just 8.5% in 1987 to almost 27% in 1990. As from 1988 the sales market started increasing at higher rates than the rental sector in the three previous years. In 1990 turnover of audiovisual media sales exceeded rentals for the first time. This was also due to a higher level of confidence of Home Video publishers and potential customers, fostered in turn by the final acceptance of the VHS technological standard. Support of both VHS and BETAMAX formats, which coexisted in the initial competitive phase despite their incompatibility, would have been too expensive for Home Video publishers, and would therefore have hampered market development of pre-recorded videocassettes.

The surge in consumption occurred between 1995 and 1996, with the boom of sales in the newsstands: it was the first and only time that newsstands turnover exceeded that of normal trade. In 1997 the reduction of newsstands sales and the sharp decrease in generated revenues, caused Home Video turnover to drop, and then stabilize at a limited growth rate until 2000: in those years Sales and Rental trends did not show substantial differences.

The second half of the 90’s showed the strong rise of other potential competitors: internet and videogames-related time and spending seemed able to divert resources from the Home Video market. 2001 was a difficult year due to the financial crisis, however the Home Video market did not suffer as heavy a blow as other industries: the sales market suffered most, while rental expenditures increased: Home Video was favored by relatively low prices and the increase in family entertainment time. Finally, between 2002 and 2003 the DVD became the media of choice: its total turnover recorded an increase comparable to the first years of the Home Video market.

Over the past 7 years annual sales of DVD players increased from 100,000 units in 1999 to 4,800,000 in 2005, also because of the constant decrease in prices. Market penetration of DVD players is today approaching that of VCRs, i.e. 76%.

The Home Video industry seems therefore ready to face the new challenges of the video entertainment market: high technology and portability. The new High Definition DVDs (HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray DVD) will guarantee a further improvement of audio-video quality, while innovative standards are now emerging into the market. This is for instance the case of UMD (Universal Media Disc) created for the new Sony PlayStation Portable, marketed in Italy as from September 2005. For further information e-mail to: ufficiostudi@univideo.org