BASE Adds ‘The Movie Partnership’ Digital Distributor to Membership Group

U.K. home entertainment trade group, the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE) Feb. 15 announced the addition of The Movie Partnership to its membership with immediate effect. Founded in 2009, TMP works with independent movie distributors, sales agents, producers, and financiers, releasing more than 3,500 titles and 2,000 hours of television content into retail channels throughout 80 countries.

Titles handled by TMP include Songbird, Peppermint, Rebel in the Rye and Lying & Stealing.

TMP’s decision to join BASE complements its existing promise to identify opportunities for growth and develop clients’ projects within the retail sector.

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“As a company that works on behalf on many independent distributors, it’s important that we ensure they have as many possible routes to market and opportunities for marketing as possible,” Peter Dutton, founder of The Movie Partnership, said in a statement. “Becoming a fully-fledged member of BASE gives us that.”

BASE CEO Liz Bales said The Movie Partnership is a key independent player in the £3.3 billon ($4.6 billion) U.K. home entertainment market; helping enhance category performance and grow consumer engagement across a range of initiatives.

TMP joins a refreshed BASE Council and an ambitious plan for 2021 and beyond. With category change accelerating, the trade group has continued its core mission to drive commercial and consumer awareness of digital and physical transactional video.

“It’s rewarding to be working with Peter and the team and seeing how these initiatives add direct value to The Movie Partnership’s own mission,” Bales said.

 

Sony’s Rob Marsh Named Chair of British Home Entertainment Organization

The British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE) Feb. 9 promoted Rob Marsh, VP  of commercial (home entertainment) at Sony Pictures Entertainment, to the position of chair, with immediate effect. Marsh, who joined the BASE Council in 2019, will serve alongside existing co-vice chairs, BBC Studios’ Home Entertainment director Lesley Johnson, and Elevation Sales’ managing director Kevin Dersley.

BASE is the trade group representing home entertainment in the U.K. — the world’s No. 2 packaged media and digital market.

Rob Marsh

Newcomers to the BASE Council include Joe Braman, VP of international account management at NBCUniversal, Ruth Sharp, VP and head of digital distribution for WarnerMedia U.K. & Ireland, and Sima Westley, executive director of sales and retail marketing at Warner Bros. Entertainment.

With major studios Disney, Warner, Sony and Universal, independent distributors StudioCanal and Lionsgate U.K., children’s and TV brands such as Mattel and BBC Studios, and third-party distributors via Spirit, the updated BASE Council is positioned to drive an ambitious roster of activity throughout 2021 and beyond.

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“I am honored to have been appointed as the new BASE Chair and am excited to get to work to advance the bold agenda that Council, working through [BASE CEO] Liz Bales and the [management] team has set out to deliver,” Marsh said in a statement.

Marsh said that following a tumultuous 2020, there is much to be optimistic about in 2021, including a proactive approach to the opportunities such as digital transactional, premium VOD, or the resilience of the pay-TV sector.

“That pro-activity means ensuring that the category remains front and center with retail partners and consumers,” he said. “It means ensuring that opportunities for and engagement with digital and physical media are maximized, and that members have access to market insights and consumer analysis needed to shape the conversation.”

Bales said Marsh’s commercial insight-led approach, coupled with unfettered passion for the home entertainment, makes him a perfect fit when it comes to stepping up to help drive BASE’s plans.

“Rob’s presence since joining Council has been instrumental in driving key projects to successful outcomes and energizing robust discussion on the issues that matter,” Bales said. “As well as welcoming Rob to the position of Chair, we invite any industry colleagues not already doing so to join the conversation with BASE and explore the opportunities to support growth across the category.”

BASE COUNCIL 

Rob Marsh, Sony Pictures Entertainment (Chair)

Kevin Dersley, Elevation Sales (Co-Vice Chair)

Lesley Johnson, BBC Studios (Co-Vice Chair)

Liz Bales (CEO, BASE)

Marie-Claire Benson, Lionsgate U.K.

Joe Braman, NBCUniversal

Rob Callow, Spirit Entertainment

Matt Cherry, Mattel

Dean Pappadakis, The Walt Disney Company

John Rodden, StudioCanal

Ruth Sharp, WarnerMedia U.K. & Ireland

Sima Westley, Warner Bros. Entertainment

2020 U.K. Home Entertainment Revenue Jumped 26%; Warner’s ‘Joker’ Top-Selling Title

Following a 2020 that saw the coronavirus pandemic upend the global entertainment industry, home entertainment in the United Kingdom blossomed, with revenue up 26% to £3.3 billion ($4.5 billion) compared with £2.6 billion ($3.5 billion) in 2019, according to new data from the British Association for Screen Entertainment, the Official Charts Company, Futuresource Consulting and Kantar.

Top-selling title in 2020: Warner Home Video’s Joker, with the Oscar-winning drama tallying 1.4 million units across digital and physical formats. The four best-selling titles all topped one million transactions across disc, EST and TVOD, and the balance of the Top 10 all exceeded 500,000 transactions. In short, it was a banner year for U.S. studios.

“2020 saw digital home video reach new heights, with digital sell-through and rental growth accelerating despite pandemic enforced movie delays,” David Sidebottom, principal analyst, entertainment, Futuresource Consulting, said in a statement. “The strength of library content has been truly impressive and sustained throughout the year, even more notable given the continued proliferation of wider video streaming services.”

Like much of the world, the No. 2 home entertainment market saw consumers staying home in the face of the threat from coronavirus, with digital formats making huge gains; taking advantage of the instant access and range of content choice. Total electronic sellthrough (or digital purchase) sales across both film and TV content delivered 14.5% growth year-on-year after a record period of growth during the March lockdown.

Spend on TVOD (transactional video-on-demand), supported by shoppers new to the category, saw almost 24% growth. Kantar reported that the total number of customers buying and renting across the video category grew by 14% between March and November to 12.9 million as audiences sought flexible access to content across transactional methods.

At the same time, SVOD continued its meteoric growth, up an astounding 42% in 2020. Streaming services now account for 74% of the total market value, with new services joining the market in 2020 such as Disney+, and an expansion in the uptake of existing services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video during the first lockdown period. Kantar also revealed that 23% of British households signed up to a subscription service during the first quarter — around the time Disney+ launched with a further 7% and 3.5% of households, respectively, doing so in the following two quarters of the year.

Driven by catalog titles, re-releases and select new titles, 30% of consumers bought packaged media (DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K UHD Blu-ray), up from 25% in 2019.

“The shift to digital doesn’t diminish the resilience of physical formats, though, as evidenced by the performance of TV and catalog content on disc, and by the strength of premium formats like Blu-ray and 4K UHD, both underlining that many viewers are still driven by collection and the access to the best possible home viewing experience that disc provides,” said Liz Bales, CEO of BASE.

Electronic Sellthrough

Electronic sellthrough ended 2020 with 27% growth in volume and 16% in value, with digital formats accounting for more than 43% of the transactional market. During the first 12-week lockdown period, the share of spend for digital film was 45% of the total £138.6 million retail disc and EST spend, up from 26% across the same period in 2019. This huge growth was largely retained after lockdown, with EST ending the year with 36% of spend, up from 26% in 2019.

Due in part to shifts in the new release slate, catalog content has grown its share of all film EST transactions from 49% to 56% in 2020, the catalog share is up 42% year on year, with positive growth every week since the first lockdown period.

VOD

The year saw title-level data on transactional video-on-demand activity become available for the first time from the Official Charts Company and based on data from digital retailers, delivering a view of consumer engagement with VOD services. VOD activity saw a period of rapid growth during the COVID-19 March lockdown, with an average of 600,000 rentals per week before lockdown rising to more than 1 million rentals a week after lockdown was implemented.

Digital rental’s popularity is now evident, with more than 30.8 million rental transactions made through October (Q4 data will be available in Q1 2021), a significant portion of the total 75 million pieces of content that have either been purchased or rented across disc, film EST and VOD.

The year also saw distributors adopt a test and trial approach to bring content to consumers with the likes of premium EST and premium VOD (PVOD). Kantar reports that 1.1 million shoppers have rented a PVOD title since March (with the ‘Premium’ element being classified as a rental price above £10), accounting for 6% of all digital rentals and 20% of total rental spend.

Proving the value in these high-definition disc formats, 2020 saw an increase in average selling price across the Blu-ray format, up 7.1% year-on-year to £15.94 ($21.75). Echoing its performance on other formats, catalog content has thrived on Blu-ray, remaining in positive growth and ending the year with a value of over £73 million ($99.5 million).

Consumers continued to show strong engagement with 4K Ultra High Definition, with sales up 20% year-on-year, and accounting for 23% of total Blu-ray sales. High value re-releases of catalog content thrived in 2020, with a vast array of classic content given the 4K UHD treatment. Total consumer spend topped £19.2 million ($26.2 million), which accounted for 73% of total 4K UHD spend.

Consumers have proven in 2020 that there is continuing demand to own classic catalog titles on premium disc formats, and with a huge treasure trove of content yet to receive re-releases, the 564 titles currently available on the 4K UHD format seems likely to keep rising entering 2021.

Television Content

TV content proved to be robust in the disc market, with 28% consumer spending, up from 23% in 2019. During the second and third quarter of 2020, with the flow of new-release movies impacted by national lockdown measures, TV content showed a growth of 5.4% to a 26% of consumer spend in this period.

Catalog TV content soared, with growth of 5.7% year-on-year surpassing £80 million ($109 million), with the category accounting for three of the top four best-selling TV titles of the year. Top-selling titles included Game of Thrones S8 (Warner Bros.), Chernobyl (Acorn Video by RLJ Entertainment), BBC Studios’ Doctor Who Classic Series Blu-ray Collections; Outlander S5 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment); Downton Abbey the Complete Collection (Universal), and Gangs of London (Dazzler Media).

New releases such as The Crown S3 (Sony) and Gavin & Stacey: A Christmas Special (BBC Studios) also excelled, ending the year in third and seventh place, respectively, in the TV chart. BBC Studios’ newly commissioned animations of lost “Doctor Who” episodes, “The Faceless Ones” and “Fury from the Deep,” also performed well, contributing to combined sales across all content came at £4.9 million ($6.7 million), a 15% year-on-year growth from 2019.

Market Share

Disney ended the year as the leading distributor across combined disc and digital volume sales, with a 19.1% share, with Frozen 2 leading the way with 1.3 million units sold. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment continued its reign as the largest distributor across disc sales for both volume and value, remaining a full percentage point above the second-place distributor.

2021 Slate

Looking ahead to 2021, as the U.K. public cautiously anticipates the return to normality in a vaccinated post-pandemic world, so does home entertainment. With Tenet (Warner) performing strongly across digital and premium disc formats in the final weeks of 2020, and as the first major new release title to launch since the spring, consumer demand is clearly high, with a plethora of titles ready to perform across a diverse 2021 slate.

Pending releases include Minions: The Rise of Gru (Universal), Luca (Disney), Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (Sony), and Tom and Jerry (Warner). Other releases include James Corden’s musical take on Cinderella (Sony), and Everybody’s Talking About Jamie (Disney); superhero spinoffs and sequels with Disney’s Eternals and Black Widow, as well as Venom: Let There Be Carnage (Sony) and Warner’s Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman 1984; Antlers (Disney); Spiral (Lionsgate distributed by Elevation Sales) and Last Night in Soho (Universal).

Universal’s F9; Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Sony); A Quiet Place Part II (Paramount Pictures), Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount), Space Jam: A New Legacy (Warner), and No Time to Die (Universal).

“Amongst the many seismic changes in consumption habits that 2020 has seen, the most encouraging for home entertainment was the indication that subscription services and transactional formats can not only co-exist, but grow in tandem,” said Craig Armer, strategic insight director, Worldpanel Entertainment. “For the first time in at least 8 years, the number of buyers and renters of transactional formats grew, helped by a complete resurgence in the popularity of VOD. Encouraging levels of return for a second purchase amongst new consumers suggests habits being formed that should continue into 2021.”

British Home Entertainment Wants the ’80s Back.

“The ’80s called. They want their store back,” was a memorable line from RadioShack’s 2014 Super Bowl ad. Now, the British Association for Screen Entertainment is launching a marketing campaign pushing top movies and music albums from the 1980s onto coronavirus-rattled consumers in the 21st Century.

The trade group Oct. 5 announced that its “Must See Movies ’80s marketing event is slated for Oct. 10 at major supermarkets and retailers in the region, including Amazon. The campaign is joining the Official Film Chart and  National Album Day 2020 — the latter looking to do the same themed marketing with packaged music.

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Retailers will showcase range of classic ’80s titles on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and transactional VOD, including BigBlade RunnerBill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, CocktailConan The Destroyer, Dirty Dancing, Dune, E.T.GhostGhostbustersThe GooniesLabyrinthThe Lost BoysPurple RainRobocopStand By MeTop Gun and Who Framed Roger Rabbit, among others.

“Great music and cinematic stories have always gone hand in hand and the ’80s is a perfect example,” Toyah Willcox, British musician and National Album Day 2020 ambassador, said in a statement. “Cinema in the ’80s was revolutionary for bringing high octane action and rock music together and I am proud to have been a part of this era. Cinema in ’80s was also about bringing the audience thrills, thrills and even more thrills. Never has there been a more appropriate time to revisit this celluloid adventures.”

 

BASE: Packaged Media Helps Up 2019 U.K. Home Entertainment Retail Market 9.5%

To paraphrase Mark Twain, “the reports of [the death of packaged media] are greatly exaggerated” — in the United Kingdom anyway.

Sales of DVD, Blu-ray Disc, 4K UHD Blu-ray and electronic sellthrough movies and TV shows in the world’s No. 2 home entertainment market generated more than £891 million ($1.2 billion) in 2019, according to year-end data compiled by the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE) and culled from statistics originating within the Official Charts Co. and Futuresource Consulting.

About 54% of the 2019 transactional revenue came from packaged media, underlining that where content ownership is concerned, the disc is still the preferred choice for many consumers. In fact, 42% of consumers who made a physical transaction within the past 12 months did so to add to a collection, 43% bought to give as a gift, and 46% bought so they could re-watch on multiple occasions.

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The top-selling disc in 2019 was Disney-owned 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment’s Bohemian Rhapsody, with the Oscar winner selling more than 1.7 million units across physical and digital formats. The success of the Freddie Mercury biopic came on the heels of Fox’s 2018 chart topper, The Greatest Showman, which itself continued to perform strongly in 2019, selling an additional 468,000 copies across all formats (giving it total sales of more than 3.1 million copies). Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s A Star Is Born followed up with 702,000 copies sold.

“Consumer appetite for paid-for digital video continued its impressive momentum in 2019,” David Sidebottom, principal analyst of entertainment at Futuresource Consulting, said in a statement. “Both EST and [transactional VOD] grew once again, albeit at a lower rate than previously after an incredibly strong 2018 performance. SVOD goes from strength to strength, as the new wave of SVOD service heralds the next era of digital video, as we enter 2020.”

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Indeed, subscription streaming video — driven by Netflix and Amazon Prime Video — helped grow overall home entertainment revenue 9.5% to £2.6 billion ($3.4 billion) from £2.37 billion ($3.1 billion) in 2018. SVOD accounted for nearly 66% of total revenue.

The picture is far from black and white, however, with nearly 40% of SVOD subscribers also transacting on physical or digital formats, as well as the 7.2 million consumers without over-the-top video subscriptions.

BASE said a proliferation of consumption models, including physical media and digital consumption at home and on the move, means that access to home entertainment content is more pervasive than ever before.

With SVOD now an entrenched layer of the home entertainment industry, it not only provides a diversity of choice for consumers, but also serves as a launchpad for high-quality original content that then goes on to reach an even wider audience via transactional formats.

“In a year that has seen consolidation between studios and independent distributors alike, the reality is that consumption habits are changing and are likely to continue to do so, with the debut of services like Disney+, Peacock and HBO Max all likely to further [drive] that change,” BASE CEO Liz Bales said.

The executive reiterated that content ownership — especially locally produced — remains of significant value to many consumers.

“Opportunity often comes from change, as evidenced by the U.K. production boom, and so we look to 2020 with excitement and a wealth of content and delivery well-equipped to meet evolving audience needs,” she said.

Blu-ray accounted for 27% of the disc market share, up from 24.3% in 2018. BASE contends the enduring appeal of disc is underscored by consumers’ investment in higher-end hardware and utilizing the Blu-ray and 4K UHD capabilities of games consoles.

The trade group said the average selling price across the Blu-ray format increased 4.7% to £14.88. Within the Blu-ray format, 4K UHD now represents 16.3% of the Blu-ray market, and a total of 4.3% of the overall disc market. There are more than 450 4K UHD Blu-ray titles available.

At the same time, EST grew 4.5% in sales volume and 3.5% retail value suggests that the digital revolution that has taken place in recent years is increasingly permeating the choices consumers are making for owned media too, with increasing numbers of consumers opting to grow their digital collections as well.

Among the Top 10 titles of 2019, digital purchase accounted for 33% of copies sold, with Bohemian Rhapsody and Disney/Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame selling in excess of half a million combined digital copies. All of the EST Top 10, including Toy Story 4 and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Venom sold in excess of 175,000 units each.

Among studios, Disney led with 18.6% market share across all formats, and driven by Toy Story 4 (827,000 copies), Mary Poppins Returns (751,000 copies), Ralph Breaks the Internet (360,000 copies), Aladdin (637,000 copies), The Lion King (679,000 copies) and Dumbo (392,000 copies).

Avengers: Endgame sold more than 1.33 million copies to land at second place on the combined chart; Captain Marvel (638,000 copies), and catalog title Avengers: Infinity War (351,000 copies) also featured in the best-selling titles of the year.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment continued its reign as the largest disc distributor based on volume driven by its studio slate, Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks and Entertainment One.

Rocketman came out on top as Paramount’s best-selling disc title in 2019; Danny Boyle’s Beatles-inspired Yesterday performed well; and even outside of its new release window, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again became Universal’s fourth-best-selling title in 2019. Returning franchises, including How To Train Your Dragon: Hidden World, Johnny English Strikes Again and The Secret Life of Pets 2 saw strong sales, while spinoffs and remakes, including Bumblebee and The Grinch, also boosted the studio’s market share.

Other top-selling titles included Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Warner), which sold more than 662,000 copies including boxed sets, while Venom (Sony) ended the year in eighth place on the combined chart with sales of 653,000.

In the TV content, Game of Thrones: The Complete Eighth Season (Warner) sold more than 192,000 copies in the final four weeks of the year, topping the TV title chart and landing in the top 10 chart for consumer spend on disc, and also helping the “Thrones” catalog secure the title of best-selling TV franchise of 2019.

“Chernobyl” (Acorn Video by RLJ Entertainment) saw sales of 116,000 units, making it the second-highest-selling TV title of the year. BBC Studios continued to see franchise success with “Peaky Blinders” as well as both the new and classic series of “Doctor Who,” the latter of which ranked as the second-highest-selling TV franchise of the year.

U.K. consumer fascination with the Royal Family continued by another year of strong sales for seasons one and two of “The Crown” (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) at number four on the TV chart, as well as “The Crown” franchise placing at number four in the TV franchise chart based on volume.

This continued success of TV content launched and accessible via streaming and catch-up services signposts the considerable consumer appetite to own SVOD-driven series on physical formats, also demonstrated by the success of Good Omens (BBC Studios) which landed at number 11 on the TV chart.

Despite the successes of standout titles, the final six months of 2019 saw a significantly reduced release slate, mirroring the smaller theatrical releases seen at the start of the year. BASE expects the 2020 slate to help redress the imbalance from 2019.

A raft of family films, including Frozen 2 (Disney), Minions: The Rise of Gru (Universal), Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (Sony) and The Secret Garden (StudioCanal distributed by Elevation Sales) are set to entertain. The U.K.’s unwavering appetite for musical drama will be sated by Lionsgate’s Military Wives and Universal’s Cats; superhero spinoffs and sequels are also aplenty, starting the year with Joker (Warner), followed by Black Widow (Disney), Venom 2 (Sony) and Wonder Woman 1984 (Warner); Disney/Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and James Bond actioner No Time to Die (Universal).

“We know that audiences find enormous value in our content and the first half of 2020, packed with diverse new IP as well as must-see franchise titles, should serve as the perfect reminder that in a market of consumers hungry for content, there’s plenty of room for those able to adapt,” said Kevin Dersley, co-vice chair of BASE and managing director of Elevation Sales.

Women in Home Entertainment 2019: A Q&A With BASE CEO Liz Bales

The British Association for Screen Entertainment’s mission statement seeks to champion the growth of screen entertainment across a £2.34 billion U.K. disc and digital video market, while maintaining a business environment with few regulatory burdens.

U.S. studio members include Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Lionsgate U.K., Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures International Entertainment, The Walt Disney Co., and Warner Home Entertainment.

As CEO of BASE and Industry Trust for IP Awareness, Liz Bales has headed the trade group since 2014. A commercial lawyer by trade in the acquisition, exploitation and protection of intellectual property, Bales also leads The Digital Entertainment Group Europe.

Bales is recognized for leadership and creation of partnerships and executing targeted initiatives to grow audience engagement, deliver industrywide behavior change and incubate innovation in established trading environments.

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With a successful track record supporting diverse stakeholders on complex challenges with a focus on measurable results and sustainable solutions as well as delivering efficiencies, Media Play News asked Bales about ongoing cyclical change across the world’s No. 2 home video market.

MPN: At the end of 2018, you cited ongoing “high street retail” challenges in packaged media while attempting to accommodate a “broad variety” of home entertainment content and format options. How have those challenges been met through the first half of 2019?

Bales: The home entertainment category has been effectively managing change for over a decade, and in 2019 we are meeting ongoing challenges head on. BASE is driving physical retail innovation in collaboration with a leading U.K. grocer and alongside industry experts, leading ground-breaking trials with exceptional indicative results at an early stage. Focusing on digital formats, the cross-platform ‘Mega Movie Week’ campaign resulted in the U.K.’s largest week of sales for digital ownership on record, topping 1 millionm units with the highest reported incredibly strong new user activation from a host of the participating platforms.

MPN: The U.S. home entertainment market is now 60% subscription streaming video, led by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Yet, consumption of packaged media continues (albeit slowly) while increasingly dwarfed by digital. The trend appears similar in the United Kingdom. How are BASE members adjusting their marketing approaches?

Bales: The rapid evolution of technology is a dominant force, and home entertainment is just one of a plethora of categories taking advantage of the benefits. Ultimately this evolution is about the consumer, whose love of and engagement with content in all forms is enduring and still showing huge growth; the home entertainment category value is up 10% in the last year. An established U.K. production base sees the welcome addition of bold new players, which is a huge positive for both our creative industry and U.K. audiences and while format fragmentation is obviously not without its challenges, the industry is proactive in its response, as witnessed by the remodeling being seen across the distribution landscape.

MPN: How does BASE convince consumers to purchase rather than subscribe to media? Can both distribution models co-exist?

Bales: BASE runs a variety of initiatives that focus on informing the consumer on the benefits of the various formats including ownership, rental and subscription. There is a broad range of different needs and spaces in which consumers consume entertainment content, and clear areas where transactional purchase has natural advantages over subscription and vice versa. As long as consumers are made aware of the myriad benefits of ownership across all formats, then both distribution models can continue to co-exist and meet the differing needs of a range of audience types.

MPN: With Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, complete ownership of Hulu and pending launch of a branded subscription streaming service — the latter two likely earmarked for the U.K. — how does traditional home entertainment retail compete?

Bales: Traditional home entertainment retail has already been competing with subscription streaming services for over a decade and Disney is one of a number of entities that will launch direct-to-consumer services in the coming months and years. The response from traditional home entertainment is of course insight led; gaining an understanding of audience behavioral trends and consequent engagement is a high priority. We know that consumers view content from multiple formats, and fans of film and TV have a range of choices; to visit the cinema, buy the latest content digitally or on disc as well as streaming exclusive content from subscription services.

Customers love choice and across the category content owners provide just that. With all of the current and future developments in the home entertainment business, it is imperative that we consider any possible impact on copyright infringement; the category as a whole must work together to ensure that the customer experience comes first, and ensure clarity and simplicity when it comes to accessing content easily and legally even as habits evolve.

The consumer will ultimately vote with their wallet and define the success of new services, but all evidence points to transaction and ownership continuing to be a desired option for many.

MPN: With studios and media companies increasingly focusing on subscription and ad-supported VOD, it would appear BASE has to wear multiple hats to satisfy industry members. Is that true? If so, how has that changed the internal focus at BASE?

Bales: Navigating change has been a constant for many years, the pace of which only escalates. Members have always looked to the organization for a comprehensive category level understanding of current market performance, but now increasingly look to us for a view on future challenges and opportunities.

Ultimately, home entertainment is one part of an expansive and interconnected value chain, and to genuinely add value for members our expertise in home entertainment has to be complemented with a thorough knowledge of surrounding sectors, not only subscription and ad–supported VOD, but extending to theatrical distribution and broadcast.

This is quite a task, but it is one that makes for dynamic and exciting roles within the team and is a challenge the organization has risen to with a passion.

Click here for the 2019 list of Women in Home Entertainment

BASE: Packaged Media Still Dominates Sluggish Half-Year U.K. Home Video Sales

Despite competition from subscription streaming video services, consumers in the United Kingdom continue to covet ownership of physical and digital home entertainment.

Half-year sales figures from the British Association for Screen Entertainment — citing Official Charts Co. data — found consumers in the world’s No. 2 home video market purchased more than 32 million DVD, Blu-ray, 4K UHD and EST (electronic sellthrough) combined units for a retail value of £294.5 million ($366.5 million).

Despite a tough retail environment, physical disc formats remain the first choice for consumers, with a total of 22.3 million physical copies sold at a value of £215.8 million ($268.7 million), with DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD formats representing 65% of sales.

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At title level, disc remains the consumer’s go-to for ownership, and is the majority-selling format for 80% out of the top 100 titles.

Approaching 1 million physical copies sold, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment’s Bohemian Rhapsody leads the competition with more than 913,400 physical copies sold.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group’s A Star is Born follows, selling 531,900 copies on disc, as U.K. consumers continue their appetite for musicals, with musicals and music-led titles making up half of the Top 10 best-selling disc titles.

Long-standing franchises also continue to see physical success, with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald selling more than 542,000 copies.

That said, SVOD continues to shrink the retail market.

The combined volume of disc and digital sales declined 16%, with customer spend down 17.4% against a backdrop of evolving consumption habits.

Indeed, June saw the lowest retail sales on record as consumer confidence continues to be challenged.

“Notwithstanding an extremely challenging retail landscape across many categories as we reach the halfway point in 2019, consumers remain wedded to ownership in many cases, with the substantial growth of digital transaction and the enduring strength of physical disc sales testament to the integral part that collection and curation plays in all of our leisure time,” Liz Bales, CEO at BASE, said in a statement.

“The standout success of titles like Bohemian Rhapsody shows that even in the context of a wealth of options vying for that leisure time, high quality content continues to excite and inspire home audiences to bring their favorite titles home on both digital and physical formats. Consumers and our colleagues across the category have much to look forward to with an extensive slate of stellar content set to release in the next half of the year.”

Virgin Media Joins U.K.’s ‘FindAnyFilm’ Website

Virgin Media was one of the first pay-TV operators to incorporate direct-access to Netflix. Now the British telecom is going old-school – joining FindAnyFilm.com, the industry website designed to assist consumers in purchasing and watching movies and TV shows in the United Kingdom.

Launched in 2009 by the U.K. Film Council, FindAnyFilm.com provides access to more than 130,000 titles, enabling users to search for any film or TV show and discover results across all formats, from cinema listings to DVD and Blu-ray Disc, digital download and streaming services.

Virgin Media Store enables subscribers to browse and buy content and then watch it straight away on a TV or mobile device through the Virgin TV V6 and TiVo boxes or through the Virgin Media Store app.

“We’re excited to have joined FindAnyFilm.com so their users can discover the amazing range of content available from Virgin Media Store,” David Bouchier, chief digital entertainment officer at Virgin Media, said in a statement.

Liz Bales, CEO of the British Association for Screen Entertainment, welcomed the addition of Virgin Media to the FindAnyFilm website, adding the telecom joins recent members Which.co.uk and Gigwise.

“All of these additions are part of our wider strategy to address the ongoing challenge of film and TV copyright infringement by delivering the widest range of entertainment to the broadest audience possible, ensuring they’re enjoying content safe in the knowledge that they are accessing the content they love via the most reliable and legitimate sources and methods,” said Bales.

FindAnyFilm’s Q1 trailer for upcoming movies on disc and digital in the U.K.

 

British Home Entertainment Eyes Bullish Half-Year Sales

The British Association for Screen Entertainment said more than 38 million copies of movies and TV shows sold in the first six months of 2018, including 21% and 5% increases, respectively, in digital and disc sales of the Top 10 releases.

New releases represented 44% of sales in the world’s No. 2 home entertainment market, up 3% from the previous-year period.

Through the first-half of the year, digital retail represented 22.4% of revenue, up 6.9% from the previous-year period. Average consumer spending on digital transactions increased to £31.50 ($41.19).

Blu-ray Disc sales represented 12.9% of revenue – up 0.7% — with 4K UHD now representing 12% of the Blu-ray market. DVD generated 64.7% of sales, down from 72.3% last year.

“Whether you consider the performance of the top [sellers], the rise in digital transactions or the increased consumer spend on high-definition Blu-ray and 4K UHD titles, there is much to suggest that being able to access a film in your home … remains important to many,” Liz Bales, CEO at BASE, said in a statement.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment’s The Greatest Showman ended the period as the top-selling title, with 1.4 million units sold. The movie is also Britain’s all-time fastest-selling digital release, with more than 500,000 units sold since May.

Robert Price, managing director at Fox Home Entertainment in the U.K., said there was much to be positive about the home entertainment sector thus far in 2018, especially in the context of a challenging trading environment and unsteady consumer confidence.

“As an industry we must ensure our relevance to audiences sustains,” Price said. “We need to capitalize on successes where we see them and be bold and collaborative in approaching challenges and meeting the needs of a customer base still clearly very much in love with ownership and collection.”

Other top-selling digital releases included Justice League (Warner Home Entertainment) with more than 170,000 digital copies sold; Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Fifty Shades Freed (120,000 units), and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Blade Runner 2049 from (112,000 digital copies).

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s Star Wars VII – The Last Jedi sold more than 1.03 million copies across all formats, and StudioCanal’s marmalade-eating bear found a home with more than 835,000 families with Paddington 2 (released by Warner in the United States)

Sony’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle sold more than 600,000 units since its release in April. Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther sold 513,000 units.