PlayStation Store Dropping Digital Movie and TV Show Sales and Rentals

The Sony PlayStation Store will drop the sale and rental of digital movies and TV shows, beginning Aug. 31. The platform, which has sold and rented studio movies since 2008, cited an increase in the consumer adoption of subscription streaming services and ad-supported VOD services, for the decision.

“At [Sony Interactive Entertainment], we strive to provide the best entertainment experience for PlayStation fans, and that means evolving our offerings as customer needs change,” Vanessa Lee, head of video business for Sony Interactive Entertainment, wrote in a March 2 blog post. “We’ve seen tremendous growth from PlayStation fans using subscription-based and ad-based entertainment streaming services on our consoles.”

The PlayStation Store was not a member of Movies Anywhere, the studio-backed transactional retail platform that includes Vudu, Microsoft’s Movies & TV, DirecTV, Xfinity Store, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Verizon, FandangoNow and Row8.

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Users can still access movie and TV content they have purchased through PlayStation Store for on-demand playback on their PS4, PS5 and mobile devices, she wrote.

“We thank our fans for their continued support, and we look forward to further enhancing the entertainment experience on PlayStation,” read the blog.

The move follows the 2019 shuttering of Sony PlayStation Vue, the  online TV platform that in 2015 followed Dish Network’s Sling TV into the nascent streaming market.

Ironically, Sony is pulling out of the TVOD retail market at a time when digital sales and rentals are at an all-time high, thanks in part to the coronavirus pandemic. According to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, digital sales of movies, TVs shows and other filmed content, known as electronic sellthrough, rose 16% to $3 billion. Digital rentals were up 18%, to $2.3 billion.

MPAA: Global Home Entertainment Market Up 16% in 2018

It’s an over-the-top video world and it’s got the revenue to prove it.

Global home entertainment consumer spending increased by 16% in 2018 to reach $55.7 billion from $48 billion in 2017, according to new data from the Motion Picture Association of America. The growth was driven by digital home entertainment, with U.S. digital spending increasing by 24% and international digital spending increasing by 34%. Since 2014, digital spending has increased 170% globally.

Much of the spending was driven by subscription streaming video services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, in addition to sales and rental of digital movies and TV shows.

Globally, the number of subscriptions to online video services reached 613 million, an up 27% from 2017. Subscriptions to online video services surpassed cable subscriptions for the first time in 2018.

The number of SVOD subscribers in the U.S. increased 17% to 186.9 million, according to the MPAA.

“More than 80% of U.S. adults watch movies and TV shows via traditional services, while more than 70% watch via online subscription services,” read the report.

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In 2018, overall spending on home entertainment in the U.S. increased to $23.3 billion, up 12% over 2017. Americans now spend 52% of their media time on a digital platform.

Indeed, global sales of DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K UHD Blu-ray content fell 14% to $7.3 billion from $8.4 billion in 2017. Domestic packaged media revenue declined 15% to $5.8 billion from $6.8 billion.

The MPAA, citing data from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group and IHS Markit, found that when subtracting SVOD revenue from the equation, transactional revenue in the U.S. from packaged and digital media, video stores, kiosks, digital sellthrough and transactional VOD dropped 5% to $10 billion from $10.5 billion in 2017.

Citing The-Numbers.com, the MPAA report listed Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment’s Black Panther as the top-selling disc in 2018. (The NPD Group’s VideoScan tracking service has ranked Disney’s Avengers: Infinity War as the top-selling disc of last year.)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was listed as the top-rental title, citing comScore.

Meanwhile, box office ticket revenue in the U.S. — driven by Black Panther and Incredibles 2 — climbed 7% to a record $11.9 billion from $11.1 billion in 2017.

“In today’s dynamic marketplace, stories come to life for audiences in theaters, at home, and on the go,” Charles Rivkin, CEO of the MPAA, said in a statement. “Our companies continue to deliver content where, when, and how audiences want it – and the numbers released today speak volumes.”

 

Google Play Offering Deals on Past Oscar Winners, Featuring This Year’s Nominees

To celebrate the 91st Academy Awards Feb. 24, Google Play Feb. 15-28 is offering deals on some of the past Oscar-winning movies and featuring a collection of this year’s Oscar-nominated films.

Titles on sale include Thelma & Louise, Gone with the Wind, Rain Man, Dirty Dancing, The Wizard of Oz, La La Land, Moulin Rouge, Walk the Line, Juno, Little Miss Sunshine, Lady Bird, The Blind Side, Moneyball, Million Dollar Baby, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Isle of Dogs, I,Tonya, American Sniper, RBG, Darkest Hour, The Shape of Water, 12 Years a Slave, Birdman and Moonlight.

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Google Play is also featuring apps and games inspired by this year’s Best Picture nominees.

A complete list of Oscars content on Google Play is on its Oscars Hub.

Lionsgate Q3 Home Entertainment Revenue Falls, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht Departs

Lionsgate Feb. 7 reported third-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2018) home entertainment revenue from movies of $149.7 million, down 31% from revenue of $189 million during the previous-year period. Through nine months of the fiscal year, movie revenue fell 22% to $462 million compared to $588.6 million last year.

Sales of DVD and Blu-ray Disc movies fell 35% to $68 million from $104 million, while digital sales dipped about 4% to $81.7 million from $85 million.

Through nine months, packaged media movie revenue is down 33% to $209 million from $311.5 million last year. Digital sales are down less 9% at $253 million from $277.1 million.

Sales of TV shows on disc reached $2.5 million, compared to $4.1 million during the previous-year period. Digital sales reached $10.9 million, down 58% from $25.7 million last year.

Motion Picture segment revenue reached $362.6 million. Segment profit decreased 19.9% to $43.5 million, reflecting underperformance of certain titles in fiscal 2019 compared to the outperformance of Wonder in the prior year quarter.

Media Networks segment revenue increased to $366.8 million due to strong OTT (i.e. Starz) subscriber growth. Segment profit increased 9.6% to $134.1 million from the prior-year quarter. Overall domestic subscribers were sequentially consistent in the quarter at 25.1 million and up 1.1 million year over year.

Starz had a strong revenue and subscriber quarter, ending the quarter with 25.1 million overall domestic subscribers, which was consistent sequentially and up 1.1 million subscribers from the prior year quarter.  Starz achieved strong over-the-top (OTT) subscriber growth for the sequential quarter as well as year-over-year.

“We’re pleased to report a strong quarter with significant free cash flow and continued revenue and subscriber growth at Starz,” CEO Jon Feltheimer said in a statement.  “As we refill our feature film and television pipelines at a robust pace and take our integration of Lionsgate and Starz to the next level, all signs are pointing to strong growth in the year ahead.”

Feltheimer gave a shoutout to departing Starz CEO Chris Albrecht, who helped transition the pay-TV and OTT platform following Lionsgate’s $4.4 billion acquisition in December 2016.

“[Chris transformed] Starz from a legacy media network to a forward-looking streaming platform,” Feltheimer said on the fiscal call.  “He worked closely with me to position Starz for the next phase of its growth and he leaves behind a strong programming slate and a talented leadership team. I’m confident we will maintain our momentum without missing a beat.”