Page last updated at 12:05 GMT, Tuesday, 5 January 2010

US cinema takings beat DVD and Blu-ray sales

Harry Potter fans
The Harry Potter films have been a hit both at the box office and on DVD

More money was spent in US cinemas last year than on DVD and Blu-ray discs for the first time since 2002, according to industry figures.

US box office receipts totalled $9.87bn (£6.1bn) while DVD and Blu-ray sales made $8.73bn (£5.44bn), Adams Media Research reported.

Company president Tom Adams said the 2009 figures are preliminary as late December figures are being finalised.

Sales of DVDs have been undercut by the rise of low-cost rental.

Hollywood has traditionally relied on DVD sales to underwrite the cost of producing and marketing films but the market has diversified in recent years.

Growing sectors include on-demand television and online distribution.

Companies such as kiosk chain Redbox, which rents DVDs for $1 a day, are proving to be popular with the public - DVDs can be picked up and returned in fast-food restaurants, pharmacies and shops.

Diversified market

Online subscription services such as Netflix Inc have also been a success in the past decade - they offer a "watch instantly" service where some subscribers can watch films on a PC or TV at home.

"These two sectors of rental have really been growing, and causing people to hesitate about how many discs they're going to buy," Mr Adams said.

The $8.73bn spent on buying films on DVD and Blu-ray was down 13% from 2008.

US box office receipts were up 10% on the previous year, according to Adams Media.

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