Free DVDs: A horror show for video clubs

Video club owners gathered yesterday outside the Economy Ministry to protest against Greek newspapers’ practice of giving away DVDs, which they said was driving the country’s movie rental industry out of business and costing the government millions in tax revenues. Newspapers and magazines include for free or a minimal charge a total of more than 15 million DVDs a month, according to the head of the Association of Greek Video Clubs, Alexandros Davilas. This costs the owners of some 2,500 rental outlets in Greece 210 million euros a year in lost earnings and means the government misses out on some 33.5 million euros in VAT deductions, claims Davilas. The rental of DVDs is taxed at the normal VAT rate of 19 percent, whereas newspapers, and consequently the DVDs sold or given away with them, benefit from a lower rate of 4.5 percent.