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Spain's piracy epidemic has studios considering no longer selling DVDs there

March 30, 2010 | 10:22 am

As if problems in the U.S. home entertainment market weren't bad enough, with declining sales revenue and continued pressure from low-cost rental services Redbox and Netflix, the major movie studios are close to being overwhelmed by piracy in a second major foreign market.

The illicit downloading and streaming of movies in Spain has become so severe, executives say, that it may soon no longer make sense to try to sell DVDs in the country. It would be the second nation where piracy has overwhelmed efforts to legitimately sell DVDs, after South Korea.

"Spain is on the brink of no longer being a viable home-entertainment market for us," said Michael Lynton, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Home-entertainment revenue in Spain has plummeted nearly 30% in the last five years, while the number of  DVD and video stores has fallen from 12,000 in 2003 to just 3,000.

See Tuesday's L.A. Times for much more on why Spain has become a hotbed of piracy and what it means for the entertainment industry.

-- Ben Fritz

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