Video Sales ‘Critical’ to the British Film Industry

July 6, 2012 Updated: September 25, 2019

Sales of DVDs, Blu-rays, and downloads account for more than half of the UK film industry’s revenue, making them a “critical” form of funding, according to a new report from the British Video Association.

Films like PaulThe Inbetweeners Movie, and the documentary Senna, made more than half of their money through sales or rental of home entertainment formats like DVD. With Senna, just 6 percent of its revenue came from cinema screenings.

The British Video Association (BVA) says in the report that the success of films like these proves that video is the “lifeblood” of the industry, with more than £2.3 billion being spent by consumers.

“Video continues to be a critical part of the film industry’s ecosystem,’ said Eddie Cunningham, president of Universal Pictures International Entertainment, in a statement.

Paul and Senna are two great examples of British film-making at its best, and the revenue generated from video – more than 60 percent coming from home entertainment on these titles – is hugely important in helping British producers re-invest back into production and continue to create great films,” Cunningham said.

The BVA highlights the knock-on effects of being able to rely on video as a source of revenue, especially for TV series.

Forecasts of the revenues from video were essential to ITV’s hugely successful Downton Abbey series being commissioned in the first place. Its subsequent popularity on video ensured it was recommissioned for two further series.

It’s not often a TV programme makes the jump to the big screen, but sales of physical formats like DVD and Blu-ray convinced Channel 4 that there was a market for a movie version of The Inbetweeners.

David Root, head of 4DVD, said in a statement: “It was because of our confidence of a healthy DVD income from the previous success of The Inbetweeners TV series on DVD that Channel 4 could budget to see a return on its investment and was able to fund the making of The Inbetweeners Movie.

“Without this, millions of Inbetweeners fans might not have been able to enjoy their exploits on the big screen.”

The BVA also emphasised that it would like to see copyright law enforced to prevent what it says is half a billion pounds a year being lost through theft. It would like “a fast-track legal process” to block websites that offer copyrighted content for download.

In April, five internet service providers in the UK were required by law to block the Pirate Bay file-sharing website, although critics said this would do little to dispel piracy as there are easily available workarounds such as proxy servers.

Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, told the BBC: “Internet censorship is growing in scope and becoming easier. Yet it never has the effect desired. It simply turns criminals into heroes.”

Following the ban, The Pirate Bay announced that the number of visitors to the site had risen by 12 million.

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