The home entertainment business may not be dying after all.
The Digital Entertainment Group reported Monday that sales of home entertainment media (blu-ray discs, digital copies and others) are up approximately one percent in the first six months of the year, besting last year’s by a slim margin.
Of particular note is another double-digit increase in the sales of blu-ray discs, which rose 13.3 percent over the same period, a significant portion of that growth came courtesy of catalog releases – older films in a studio’s library. Movies in that category saw sales rise by more than 26 percent, suggesting that as they come available and, perhaps less expensive, movie fans are replacing DVDs in their home libraries. That’s good news for Hollywood studios that have been looking for a way to supplant dwindling DVD revenues.
The continued rise in blu-ray sales can be attributed to a couple of things, according to the report, including convenient and inexpensive hardware. Sony’s PlayStation 3, currently the only videogame system with a blu-ray player built in, accounts for the convenience as the PS3 has become an entertainment hub with the ability to play high definition films or stream them allowing with playing videogames.
But equally important is that fact that the bottom’s fallen out of blu-ray player prices with some more inexpensive models available for under $75. Some of those players even sport streaming and/or “smart” capabilities as well.
Electronic sell-through, storing a movie in a cloud or downloading it to media on smartphones, tablets or PCs for viewing on any device at any time with the proper broadband connection, increased its presence in the marketplace as well. The most prominent version of that: UltraViolet technology developed for movie studios last year. EST revenue rose 22 percent over the same period last year.
Some other tidbits from the DEG report:
- UltraViolet recently surpassed 4 million household accounts. The continuous growth of UltraViolet underscores that consumers are responding favorably to the increased availability of EST, as well as the growing range of UltraViolet services.
- The number of blu-ray homes continued to rise, with 1.4 million Blu-ray Disc players (inclusive of BD set-tops, PS3s and home-theaters-in-boxes,) sold in the second quarter, bringing the total household penetration of all Blu-ray compatible devices to more than 42.1 million U.S. homes.
- Further, more than 4.6 million HDTVs were sold to U.S. consumers in second quarter 2012; HDTV penetration to date is nearly 80 million U.S. households.
Ultimately this report portends nothing but good news for Hollywood because the home video market finally appears to be stabilizing. More importantly, however, unlike the music business, they appear to have taken control of their product, something that the studios have always done rabidly.