Digital Lifted Consumer Home Entertainment Spending to Record Heights in 2019

Consumer spending on home entertainment rose 8.4% to a record $25.2 billion in 2019, spurred by the at-home sector’s biggest growth engine, digital, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Subscription streaming, digital movie sales and digital movie rentals over the Internet all generated significantly more money than they did in 2018, DEG reported.

The trade association estimates consumers spent $15.9 billion on subscription streaming, which now accounts for 63% of the entire home entertainment market. That’s a 23.7% spike from 2018.

Digital movie sales, commonly known as electronic sellthrough, or EST, were up 5.1% to nearly $2.6 billion — while digital movie rentals through Internet services, such as FandangoNow, Redbox On Demand, Vudu and Google Play, were up 9%. This reflects “consumers’ continued engagement with VOD, increasingly through Internet services,” DEG reported.

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Consumers spent a total of $5.9 billion on buying movies and other filmed content, either on Blu-ray Disc, DVD, 4K Ultra HD or digital, DEG reported. That’s down 9.4% from 2018. Disc sales declined 18.2% to $3.29 billion.

Rental spending dropped 12.3% in 2019 to $3.4 billion, DEG reported. On the digital side, a la carte streaming generated $1.96 billion, down 6.2% from the prior year — chiefly due to consumers’ shift away from traditional pay-TV services. Disc rentals, meanwhile, slipped 19.5% to $1.44 billion, the biggest chunk of which came from kiosks, which finished the year with estimated sales of $884.6 million. Redbox leads the kiosk market, with more than 40,000 red vending machines, generally situated at large grocers and mass merchants such as Walmart.

Also on the rental side, Netflix’s legacy disc-by-mail rental business brought in an estimated $301.2 million, while the country’s waning number of video rental stores — once the home entertainment sector’s dominant revenue producer — collected just $250 million, a 21.1% decline from 2018.

On the transactional side, the top-performing movies included Disney’s Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel, Warner Bros.’ Aquaman and A Star is Born, and 20th Century Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody. TV standouts included seasons one and two of “Yellowstone,” from Paramount; the “Game of Thrones” franchise, from HBO/Warner; Sony Pictures’ season four of “Outlander,” based on author Diana Gabaldon’s historical time travel book series of the same name; season nine of zombie series “The Walking Dead,” from Lionsgate; and season 12 of “The Big Bang Theory,” from Warner Bros.

According to DEG numbers, combined spending on disc sales and rentals was $4.73 billion, compared with $4.54 billion spent on electronic sellthrough and VOD, giving disc a 51% share of the transactional home entertainment market, down from 56% in 2018 and 62% in 2017.

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At the same time that the DEG released its annual year-end numbers, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment shared some of its “Attitudes and Usage” study findings.

The key point: Home entertainment has evolved into a true multi-platform business. Universal found that consumers are using around three platforms on average, the most common bundle being disc purchase, disc rental and subscription streaming.

2 thoughts on “Digital Lifted Consumer Home Entertainment Spending to Record Heights in 2019”

  1. In your fourth paraghraph you state that digital movie rentals were up 9% then in your 5th paragrah you state that streaming rentals were down 6.2%. Can you please clarify this for me? Is there a differnce between digital rentals and streaming rentals?

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