May 11, 2021
Consumer home entertainment spending in the first quarter of 2021 rose 10% to $7.8 billion, according to the latest DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group estimates, released late in the day on May 11.
Spending in the first quarter of 2020, mostly before the pandemic, was $7.1 billion, the trade association estimates.
Estimates for the first quarter of 2021 do not include premium video-on-demand (PVOD), which since the pandemic began has been a significant source of revenue to Hollywood as theaters were mostly dark.
As expected, the biggest gains came from subscription streaming, which according to DEG estimates chalked up a 27.2% consumer spending gain, to $5.95 billion from $4.68 billion in the first quarter of 2020. The segment is led by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+ and HBO Max, services that in March 2021 were joined by Paramount+ and Discovery+.
Streamers gobbled up nearly 77% of the quarter’s total spend, according to DEG estimates. SVOD numbers, the trade group says, come from Omdia, a technology research firm that is part of Informa Plc., a British multinational publishing, business intelligence, and exhibitions group.
On the transactional front, digital sales fell nearly 18% to an estimated $615.8 million, while digital rentals (VOD) slipped 26.7% to an estimated $494 million. Again, it should be noted that these figures do not include PVOD.
Combined Blu-ray Disc and DVD sales came in at an estimated $479.3 million, down nearly 25% from the first quarter of 2020.
Observers note that the first quarter of the year was hampered by a dearth of new movies, as studios held back releases in anticipation of theatrical reopenings and capacity ramp-ups once vaccination rates increase and the threat of COVID-19 is reduced through herd immunity.
Los Angeles, the epicenter of the movie business, could reach herd immunity from the coronavirus among adults and the oldest teenagers by mid to late July, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a May 10 news briefing.