‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Tops in Home Viewership After Blu-ray Disc, DVD Release

Five movies generated significant gains in home viewership after their May 19 release on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, led by Paramount Home Entertainment’s Sonic the Hedgehog, which soared to No. 1 on “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended May 23, up from No. 5 the prior week.

The film, based on a popular video game franchise, has been in the top five of the weekly chart — which tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group — ever since its early digital release on March 31.

Walt Disney’s Onward, the studio’s latest Pixar animated feature film, reappeared on the chart at No. 3, also after its release on disc — and in spite of the fact that it has been available since April 3 on the Disney+ subscription streaming service. The film was one of several high-profile movies that was given an early digital release in mid-March after the pandemic-induced shutdown of movie theaters. Onward spent just two weeks in theaters prior to its March 20 digital release.

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Two other films, both from Warner Bros., that returned to the chart after their May 19 release on disc are Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (No. 6) and The Way Back (No. 17).

Universal Pictures’ Emma., also new to Blu-ray Disc and DVD, debuted on the chart at No. 15.

Warner Bros.’ Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, No. 1 the prior week, slipped to No. 2.

Rounding out the top five on the “Watched at Home Chart” for the week ended May 23 are Sony Pictures’ Bad Boys for Life at No. 4 and Bloodshot at No. 5, down from No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

  1. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  2. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  3. Onward (Disney)
  4. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  5. Bloodshot (Sony, 2020)
  6. Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (Warner)
  7. The Call of the Wild (Disney, 2020)
  8. Fantasy Island (Sony)
  9. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  10. The Gentlemen (STX/Universal, 2019)
  11. I Still Believe (Lionsgate)
  12. 1917 (Universal)
  13. Dolittle (Universal)
  14. The Invisible Man (Universal)
  15. Emma. (Universal, 2020)
  16. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney)
  17. The Way Back (Warner, 2020)
  18. Spies in Disguise (Fox)
  19. Ford v Ferrari (Fox)
  20. Knives Out (Lionsgate)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended May 23

Interest in Digital Home Entertainment Spread in Pandemic, DEG Speakers Say

Staying at home during the pandemic increased digital home entertainment interest across the board — for free VOD, SVOD and TVOD — according to speakers at a virtual DEG Expo May 21.

“We’re seeing in this moment really strong momentum for content consumption, discovery, engagement across our whole ecosystem,” said Google’s Jonathan Zepp. “That’s especially true in our user-facing, consumer businesses. For example, since stay-at-home has been in place, our home entertainment transactional business has seen tremendous growth in consumption, and it’s driven not only by new-release, home-premiere titles, but also catalog titles that have been wonderful and enjoyed by families together.”

Consumers were also searching for older shows. As consumers began to shelter in place, search queries for “The Sopranos” grew 67%, “Game of Thrones” 36% and “Mad Men” 31%, noted Google’s David Wang.

“If you take even some of these older titles that are evergreen, we’re seeing significant increases in search volume for these titles over the past several months, and they all roughly correlate with the timing of stay-at-home orders,” he said.

Consumers also increased searches for “Marvel movies in order” and — perhaps coming as no surprise — “virus movies.”

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“Right around the time that the pandemic was declared, we saw a huge spike in the number of queries for virus movies, and thankfully that’s tapered off a little bit, and people are looking for a little bit lighter fare,” he said.

“Tiger King,” Netflix’s much talked about documentary about eccentric big cat collectors, also got a search boost.

Consumers were also looking for content broadly, with searches such as “what to watch on Netflix” up 114%, “best TV shows” up 62% and “action movies” up 58% as stay-at-home orders took effect.

“Eventually you run out of things that you know you want to watch, and you need to discover new content, so we see increases in broad inquires,” Wang said.

Consumers were also looking for specific content providers, with searches for “Disney+ movies” up 135%, “Netflix movies” up 86% and “Hulu movies” also up 86%.

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“Oftentimes, you want to maximize the value of an existing subscription that you have, and you want to find out what’s new or what’s hot on one of those services or maybe you’re trying to understand whether you want to subscribe to a new service,” Wang noted.

Searches for free content also grew, with “free TV websites” up 179% and “free movies” up 60%.

“What we’ve observed is that a lot of free content has been made available over the past couple of months, generally brought about by COVID and stay-at-home orders,” he said, adding, “I do think that the business model is changing slightly in terms of free content. We see more advertising video-on-demand players, so we see a definite shift in increasing query volume for that. I think we’ve established a new baseline.”

As some areas opened, such COVID-spawned entertainment search activity decreased, he said, pointing to South Korea, where the infection curve flattened early, as an example.

Still, he thinks there has been a permanent shift in viewing habits.

“Even as we start going out a little bit more, I think the general consumption of streaming over something more linear is probably here to stay,” Wang said.

Pandemic Stay-at-Home Orders Lift Digital Home Entertainment Sales, Rentals to Record Heights in March

Stay-at-home mandates due to the novel coronavirus pandemic sent digital home entertainment transactions in March soaring 48% from March 2019, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group numbers released May 6.

Consumer spending on electronic sellthrough (EST) and transactional video-on-demand (TVOD) came in at $596 million, the digital sector’s highest monthly revenue to date.  Theatrical product was especially strong, with digital movie sales up 57% and digital rentals up 67%. The gains were due in part to several big movies becoming available early for digital viewing, including Sony Pictures’ Bloodshot, Disney’s Onward and Warner Bros.’ The Way Back and Birds of Prey.

Not included were titles such as Universal Pictures’ The Invisible Man, Emma and The Hunt — all of which became available at a premium VOD price on March 16, five days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic. Had those numbers been included, the tally would have been even higher.

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Other early digital releases in March included Disney’s Onward, which was released digitally on March 20, two weeks after its theatrical opening, and Sony Pictures’ Bloodshot, released to home audiences just 11 days after its box office debut.

John Dick, CEO of consumer insights company CivicScience, said in a statement, “We are in an unprecedented time with the majority of people at home and many with more time to fill than usual. Given how convenient it is to rent or buy content digitally from home, the environment is perfect for demand to skyrocket as people look for ways to engage with the world and each other through films and television shows.”

During the first quarter of 2020, U.S. consumers spent an estimated $6.9 billion on home entertainment, a 15% uptick from the first quarter of 2019.

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The gain came despite a 4.6% drop in the box office value of films released in the three-month period that ended March 31, DEG reported.

The DEG estimates subscription streaming rose 27% in the quarter, to $4.56 billion from $3.6 billion in the first quarter of 2019. SVOD’s share of the total home entertainment market rose to 65.6% from 59.4% in the first quarter of 2019.

DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales in the quarter that ended March 31 were down 22.43%, to an estimated $637.78 million.

‘Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker’ the Most-Watched Transactional Home Release

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the final installment in the “Star Wars” sequel trilogy, was the most-watched home release the week ended April 4 outside the streaming universe, according to a new weekly tally of transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

The new “Watched at Home” chart measures disc sales, digital purchase (electronic sellthrough, or EST) and digital rental.

The Rise of Skywalker was released digitally March 17 and on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD two weeks later, on March 31, by Disney and LucasFilm. The disc release gave the title a boost. On the previous week’s chart for the week ended March 28, before its availability on disc, The Rise of Skywalker was No. 6.

Directed by J.J. Abrams, The Rise of Skywalker earned more than $515 million at the domestic box office and just over $1 billion worldwide.

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Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog debuted at No. 2 on the “Watched at Home” chart the week ended April 4, solely on the strength of its digital sales. The film, which earned $306.8 million at the global box office, was made available for purchase through digital retailers on March 31, just 46 days after its theatrical opening. The early release was  prompted by a mass shuttering of movie theaters due to efforts to contain the novel coronavirus pandemic; the normal theatrical-to-home window is about three months. Sonic becomes available on disc and for digital rental on May 19.

The third spot on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart went to another early digital release, Sony Pictures’ Bad Boys for Life. The third “Bad Boys” movie, with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, grossed $204.4 million in North American theaters and $419 million globally. The film was made available for home viewing on March 31 and will be issued on disc on April 21.

Another Sony Pictures release, Jumanji: The Next Level, finished the week at No. 4, down two spots from the prior week. The fantasy adventure film, which generated $796.6 million in worldwide movie-ticket sales  to become the tenth-highest-grossing film of 2019, was released through digital retailers on March 3 and on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD on March 17.

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Rounding out the top five was Universal Pictures’ 1917, the acclaimed World War I movie that was released digitally March 10 and on disc March 24. The previous week 1917 was ranked at No. 3.

The week ended March 28’s most-watched film, Disney’s Onward, slipped to No. 6 the week ended April 4. The latest Pixar animated movie was made available for digital purchase on March 20 and premiered on the subscription streaming service Disney+ on April 3.

  1. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney)
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  3. Bad Boys for Life (Sony Pictures)
  4. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony Pictures)
  5. 1917 (Universal)
  6. Onward (Disney)
  7. Bloodshot (Sony Pictures)
  8. The Call of the Wild (Disney)
  9. Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Disney)
  10. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  11. Dolittle (Universal)
  12. Knives Out (Lionsgate)
  13. The Gentlemen (Universal/STX)
  14. Spies in Disguise (Fox)
  15. Frozen II (Disney)
  16. Ford v Ferrari (Fox)
  17. Contagion (Warner)
  18. The Way Back (Warner)
  19. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony Pictures)
  20. Just Mercy (Warner)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended April 4

DEG Nordic Launching ‘Mega Movie Week’ Promo to Drive Digital Transactional Market

As consumers around the world stay home during the coronavirus crisis, The Digital Entertainment Group: Nordic Committee (DEGN) March 23 is launching “Mega Movie Week,” a cross-category campaign to drive consumer engagement with the digital transactional market.

During “Mega Movie Week” DEGN members, including NBCUniversal, Nordisk Film, SF Studios, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Entertainment, will offer consumers a range of the latest digital movies at special prices for one week only with retailers including the Apple TV app, Google Play Store, Viaplay, SF Anytime, Blockbuster, PlayStation Store, Rakuten TV, Canal Digital, Altibox and Elisa.

“Inspired in part by shared learnings from two successful iterations of ‘Mega Movie Week’ managed in the U.K. by DEGN’s sister association, Digital Entertainment Group International, and by the evolution of previous Scandinavian consumer education campaigns, the DEGN’s ‘Mega Movie Week’ campaign drives awareness for a range of compelling consumer offers aimed at encouraging consumer trial of digital transactional services,” according to DEGN.

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The campaign will be supported by a targeted, multi-territory online media campaign, with digital platforms driving further engagement through a range of on- and off-platform activity and a suite of CRM plans to keep new audiences engaged beyond the week-long campaign, according to DEGN.

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“’Mega Movie Week’ represents an unprecedented collective vision from Nordic territories to embrace an opportunity to capitalize on the growth of digital transaction by encouraging engagement through a compelling, limited time offer,” said Johan Mannerhill, DEGN chair and managing director, Nordic, at Warner Bros. Entertainment, in a statement. “The campaign is the perfect way to drive engagement with the ease of digital purchase and to increase awareness of the benefits it offers. We hope to build upon the learnings from previous ‘Mega Movie Week’ activations spearheaded by the DEGI, at the same time developing a powerful activation wholly relevant to local markets.”

More details on the program are here:

  • DK (Denmark)
  • FI (Finland)
  • SE (Sweden)
  • NO (Norway)

Offers and platforms will vary across territories taking part.

 

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.

SVOD Again Fuels Consumer Home Entertainment Spending in Q3 2019

Consumer spending on home entertainment rose 11% in the third quarter of 2019, according to the latest quarterly report from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Spending on digital purchases and streaming was up 19%, the DEG reported, fueling total Q3 consumer spending on all forms of home entertainment to more than $6.3 billion.

Subscription streaming, according to the DEG, solidified its position as the dominant way consumers watch movies, TV shows and other filmed content on demand, with subscription streaming leading the way at $4.1 billion, up nearly 25% from the third quarter of 2018. Earlier, data from digital measurement firm Conviva found a 63% increase in third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) video viewing hours.

During the third quarter of 2019, DEG says, consumers spent just under $700 million on digital purchases, up 13.1% from the third quarter of last year. A la carte streaming, the digital equivalent of renting a disc, fell nearly 10% to an estimated $448 million.

Total spending on digital came in at nearly $5.3 billion.

On the physical side, consumer spending on purchased Blu-ray Discs, DVDs and 4K Ultra HD discs came in at an estimated $736 million, down 13% from the prior year’s Q3. Including electronic sellthrough, consumers spent more than $1.4 billion to own content, about 2% less than in the third quarter of 2018.

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Disc rentals at physical video stores suffered another big drop, coming in at just $56.2 million, down 21.5% from the prior year. Kiosk rentals, mostly Redbox, generated an estimated $214.4 million, down 21.4%, while subscription disc rental — carried mostly by Netflix’s legacy disc-by-mail rental business — was off 19% to $72.6 million.

The box office value of films that were released for home consumption in the third quarter was down 1.5%, the DEG reported.

Top disc sellers in the third quarter of 2019 included Disney’s Avengers: Endgame and live-action Aladdin remake, along with Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum and Warner’s Shazam!, according to NPD VideoScan data.

For the first nine months of 2019, consumers spent an estimated $18.34 billion on home entertainment, an 8.3% uptick from the first nine months of 2018. Subscription streaming accounted for more than 63% of total home entertainment dollars spent, or $11.6 billion. Total digital spending accounted for nearly 82% of total consumer spending, or just under $15 billion, while packaged-media sales and rentals trailed at 18.4%, or $3.4 billion.

Willow Bay Recalls Career, Praises Young People in Accepting DEG’s Hedy Lamarr Award

Willow Bay, dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, received the third annual “Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology” from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group Nov. 12 on the Sony lot in Culver City, Calif.

The DEG created the Innovation Award to recognize female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

Presenter Robin Tarufelli, managing director of Deloitte and chair of the DEG’s Canon Club, noted that “Dean Bay is widely known for her journalism work on camera as a reporter and anchor at various news agencies, including ABC’s ‘Good Morning America,’ NBC’s ‘Today Show’ and CNN’s ‘Moneyline.’”

She also noted her contribution to digital journalism.

“Like Hedy, few people know Dean Bay is also a powerful inventor in the field of digital communication,” she said. “As a senior editor, she helped pioneer Huffington Post online, where she led various verticals including the launch of business and lifestyle. At USC, she launched the USC Annenberg Center.”

In accepting the award, Bay expressed the regret of husband Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Co., that he couldn’t attend the event.

“My husband Bob had to launch Disney+ today,” she said. “He really wanted to be here, but they’ve got something else going on.”

Bay praised the career of Lamarr, a Hollywood actress who was also an inventor with several patents.

“I got no patents,” Bay joked, adding, “I’m blown away to be mentioned in the same sentence as Hedy Lamarr, a true pioneer not just in her inventions but in forging new ways to be a woman fully in all dimensions.”

She noted that Lamarr is “the mother of Wi-Fi” and was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

“I bet not a lot of those inventors looked like Hedy,” Bay said, noting “how much all of our lives thanks to digital and wireless are advanced because of her and how much my career actually was inspired from her scientific advance.”

Bay recalled her days as the first female anchor of CNN’s “Moneyline,” where she interviewed Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and others in the late 1990s.

“In those days they would say things like, ‘I don’t know whether men, when the markets are heading downward, we just don’t know whether men want to get bad financial news from a woman,’” she recalled. “Somehow they managed.”

She also worked alongside The Huffington Post’s Ariana Huffington, who she called “one of the great digital media pioneers.”

“It was when blogs first came about,” she recalled. “It was when comments first came about. It was really in many ways one of the precursors of social media.”

She then went on to become the first female dean of the USC Annenberg School.

During her acceptance speech, she praised members of the younger generation, including her students at USC, for their passion.

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“We are watching a very young generation emerge into their roles as innovators and leaders on a very public stage,” Bay said. “We know them on a first name basis — Malala, Emma, Greta, Chanel. Malala used her voice to educate us about women’s education. Greta [Thunberg] stunned the world with her speech before the U.N. on climate change. Emma Gonzalez in Parkland is becoming one of this country’s leading voices on gun control. And there’s Chanel Miller, who wrote Know My Name, in which she courageously uses her voice and shares her story of sexual assault. These young women are making their mark in the public sphere, and they are inspiring so many of us.”

She exhorted the audience to help the younger generation to make their mark.

“Find a young person in your orbit and reach out to them,” she said. “We need to help them live up to their potential, and in doing that, we will live up to ours.”

Bay shared the spotlight with a student from her school. The DEG also presented the “Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology,” which recognizes female college students whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise, to Maya Tribbitt. Tribbitt is earning her bachelor’s degree in journalism and international relations at the USC Annenberg and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and will receive a financial award to continue her education.

Tribbitt interned at Amazon and worked for Kamala Harris in her Los Angeles office.

DEG Fetes 2019 Hedy Lamarr Award Recipients

Willow Bay, dean of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, received the third annual “Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology” from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group Nov. 12 on the Sony lot in Culver City, Calif.

The DEG created the Innovation Award to recognize female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

In her acceptance speech, Bay said her husband Bob Iger unfortunately couldn’t attend as he had another engagement, launching the new streaming service Disney+.

The DEG also presented the “Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology,” which recognizes female college students whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise, to Maya Tribbitt. Tribbitt is earning her bachelor’s degree in journalism and international relations at the USC Annenberg and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and will receive  a financial award to continue her education.

DEG: Home Entertainment Spending Posts 7% Gain in First Half of 2019

Consumers spent nearly $6 billion on home entertainment in the second quarter of 2019, a 7% gain from the same period last year.

The gain came despite a nearly 10% year-over-year decline in the box office value of movies that became available for in-home viewing during the quarter, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Granted, the rising reliance of subscription streaming services like Netflix on original content, mostly digital TV series, has made comparisons between home entertainment spending and the box office earnings of movies a bit less relevant.

But the disparity still suggests a growing number of consumers prefer to enjoy their entertainment at home.

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For the first six months of the year, consumer spending on home entertainment came in at just over $12 billion, a 6.7% uptick from the first half of 2018.

The box office value of films released to the home during that same period, meanwhile, fell more than 15.5% to just over $5 billion.

As expected, increases in consumer spending on streaming were largely responsible for the gains in overall home entertainment spending.

DEG estimates consumers spent nearly $7.5 billion on subscriptions to Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services in the first half of this year, a 22% increase from the first half of 2018. Spending in the second quarter, which ended June 30, rose more than 23% to $3.89 billion.

The only other category to post an increase in consumer spending during the first half of 2019 was electronic sellthrough (EST), or the digital purchase of movies and other content, which generated an estimated $1.2 billion in consumer spending, up 3.3% from the first six months of 2018.

Breaking the numbers apart, DEG says first-half spending on theatrical EST was up nearly 8%, while spending on video on demand for theatrical movies rose more than 9%. Total transactional VOD spending in the first half of the year came in at just over $1 billion, a decline of nearly 4% from the prior year’s first half.

Combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales for the first half of 2019 amounted to an estimated $1.5 billion, down about 21% from the first six months of 2018. In the second quarter, disc sales generated $716 million in revenue, down 19.3% from the second quarter of 2018.

Combined disc and digital ownership for the half-year was $2.75 billion, down 11.8% from the previous year. Content ownership in the quarter was $1.27 billion, down 12.1% from the same period a year ago.