NPD: Book-to-SVOD Adaptations Don’t Always Boost Book Sales

A page-to-screen adaptation has typically been an easy way to boost a book’s sales. Some readers prefer to read a book before seeing it on screen, others are drawn to the book after they watch the story on screen, but it was widely believed that a movie or TV-show adaptation would reliably elevate a book’s long-term sales.

That predictable pattern is holding for original adaptations from streaming services, now that Netflix and other SVOD services have become mainstream, according to new data from The NPD Group. However, not all page-to-screen releases on streaming services perform the same.

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NPD recently gathered streaming video data for Netflix’s “Bridgerton” and A Wrinkle in Time (Disney+), placing it alongside U.S. print books sales data from NPD BookScan. The side-by-side comparison revealed the effects of streaming video on book sales, providing additional insight into page-to- screen book sales.

“Book sales are generally bolstered by related video content appearing on Netflix and other streaming services, but the release timing, previous box-office movie releases, and other factors also play an important role,” analyst Kristen McLean said in a statement. “In some cases, when a high-profile original adaptation is released by a streaming service, the sales spike for related books is large and immediate. However, the same can’t be said for every show or movie, especially if the project had a previous release in some form.”

Bridgerton on Netflix has become the exemplar for what a streaming-native adaptation can do for a book series, boosting corresponding books sales by the thousands, according to the NPD. Interest in the book has continued, even after series viewing declined, with the TV tie-in book edition outperforming other formats.

The second book in the series, The Viscount Who Loved Me, experienced a delayed increase in sales as people first discovered the series, catching up as the “Bridgerton” SVOD interest spread.

“SVOD has definitely reached the point where it can generate the buzz to support integrated marketing campaigns that increase book sales, but it’s not always the case,” McLean said.

Indeed, the movie version of A Wrinkle in Time first premiered at the box office in February 2018, followed by its debut on Netflix in September 2018. The box office release had a big impact on book sales, pushing it to the top of the best-seller list for kids throughout 2018, but the move to Netflix (now on Disney+) had a far less dramatic impact on additional book sales.

“It is likely that those who were most engaged with A Wrinkle in Time purchased the book alongside the theatrical release during the initial marketing period, and sales and readership for the story were already saturated by the time the show hit Netflix,” McLean said. “Original content tends to have a stronger impact on SVOD viewing and consumer discovery, which pays dividends with book sales.”

‘Wrinkle in Time’ Bumps ‘Black Panther’ From Top of Disc Sales Charts

After three weeks in the top spot, Marvel’s Black Panther was overtaken on the national home video sales charts by another Walt Disney Studios release, A Wrinkle in Time, the week ended June 9.

A family fantasy based on the popular novel of the same name, A Wrinkle in Time debuted at No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart, following an underwhelming domestic box office run that brought in $98 million.

Black Panther slipped to No. 2 on both charts, selling about two-thirds as many discs in its fourth week as Wrinkle sold in its first.

Debuting at No. 3 on both charts was director Eli Roth’s remake of Death Wish, with Bruce Willis starring as the man who seeks revenge on street crime after his family is brutalized during a robbery. The film earned $34 million at the domestic box office.

Landing at No. 4 on the overall chart, and No. 7 on the Blu-ray chart, was another newcomer, Lionsgate’s The Hurricane Heist, an action thriller about a group of thieves attempting a bank robbery during a category five hurricane. The film earned just over $6 million in U.S. theaters.

Rounding out the top five overall, in its ninth week on shelves, was 20th Century Fox’s The Greatest Showman, which was the No. 6 Blu-ray.

On the Blu-ray chart, No. 4 went to Disney’s new “Signature Collection” Blu-ray re-release of the 1953 animated classic Peter Pan, followed at No. 5 by Paramount’s Annihilation.

Anticipation for the theatrical release of its sequel drove Disney’s The Incredibles back into the top 20, aided by a newly released 4K UHD Blu-ray edition of the 2004 animated superhero film. It rose back to No. 12 overall and No. 11 on the Blu-ray chart, with 44% of its total sales attributed to the new UHD Blu-ray edition.

Blu-ray Disc accounted for 71% of Wrinkle in Time first-week unit sales, with 4% of its total coming from 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. Death Wish saw 58% of its tally come from Blu-ray, while Hurricane Heist had 46% of its total come from Blu-ray and 7% from the 4K disc format.

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended June 10, Death Wish took over the top spot, bumping Warner’s Game Night to No. 2.

Black Panther slipped to No. 3, with Fox’s Red Sparrow at No. 4 and Hurricane Heist debuting at No. 5.

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Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 06-10-18
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 06-09-18
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 06-09-18
Sales Report for Week Ended 06-09-18
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 06-11-18