DVDs featuring television shows both old and new have become the new Hollywood financial blockbusters.

In a year where hugely expensive movies featuring giant apes and pious lions doing battle with evil have failed to slow the slide in US cinema attendance, sales of TV DVDs have brought some cheer to the entertainment industry.

Consultant Adams Media Research says 2005 sales of TV shows on DVD are expected to reach $2.7 billion (€2.27bn; £1.55bn) - excluding rentals. Total DVD sales are forecast to total $12.9bn in the US.

Comments Kevin Tsujihara, president of Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group: "The appetite that consumers have to watch television shows over and over, and to collect their favourite programmes, has been remarkable."

Film DVDs retail in the US for around $20 each, compared with $60 or more for a complete season of TV shows, such as Desperate Housewives or classics such as The Honeymooners.

Ken Ross, vp at CBS, believes the rise of the market is down to the advent of the DVD itself. Sales of TV programmes were impractical in the VHS era because networks and studios could fit only a few episodes on each tape. The higher capacity of DVDs allows an entire TV season to be fitted in a package of discs no thicker than a hardcover book.

Data sourced from Financial Times online; additional content by WARC staff