EMI Music Australia has signed a deal to release DVDs of free-to-air television broadcaster Seven Network's local drama shows. The agreement, the first of its kind for EMI, could generate A$5 million

EMI Music Australia has signed a deal to release DVDs of free-to-air television broadcaster Seven Network's local drama shows. The agreement, the first of its kind for EMI, could generate A$5 million ($3.8 million) for the company in the first year, its managing director John O'Donnell says. Precise terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Through the pact, DVD releases will be generated from such Seven programs as "All Saints" and "Last Man Standing" and general interest programs including "The Great Outdoors" and "Harry's Practice".

"All Saints," with a weekly viewership of about 1.2 million, is expected to translate into sales of 100,000 DVD units. The show, which has aired for eight seasons, will be released in chronological order through the end of 2006.

EMI and Seven are also working with EMI acts around the Melbourne Cup horse race in October, O'Donnell says.

The Australian DVD market -- comprising movies, TV and music -- was worth A$1 billion ($760 million) in 2004 with shipments of 57 million units, according to the Australian Visual Software Distribution Assn. This represented a 50% rise in volume from the year before. DVD distributors forecast a 10%-12% increase this year.

DVD sales make up about 8% of EMI Music's revenue at present, according to O'Donnell. He aims to increase this figure to 15% by 2010. "We want to get more into the DVD market, it's a growing and exciting part of the consumer entertainment dollar."

EMI Music is the third largest label in Australia, with a 19.6% market share in 2004, according to the Australian Record Industry Assn.

EMI and Seven have collaborated in the past. The major has provided music for the network's many sporting programs since 2003, including coverage for the Rugby World Cup. Seven is one of the highest-rating TV networks in Australia, with an estimated 35.8% share of the 18-49 age group.