New data from the European Audiovisual Observatory finds that 90% of U.S. theatrical movie releases since 1996 have migrated to video-on-demand distribution in at least one foreign country. Runner-up, the U.K., has 79% of its theatrical releases in worldwide VOD release.
At the same time, 56% of European films released in theaters between 1996 and 2020 were available on VOD in May. Compared to U.S. films, that’s a smaller share. But as there are many more European films than American movies in release theatrically, in absolute values, the number of European films migrating from the theater to VOD is 2.6 times higher than the number of U.S. films.
The report underscores the value VOD has in expanding the consumer reach to all movies — especially lower-budget indie titles — compared with traditional theatrical exhibition. In regard to European movies, VOD brings the most additional distribution to films with 50,000 tickets sold or less.
“[The data supports the] cooperation rather than competition [between] cinema and VOD, while VOD opens up new markets to less successful films,” Gilles Fontaine, head of the Observatory’s department for market information, said in a statement.
Notably, the report found that a movie’s availability on VOD was driven by transactional VOD (59%) more than by subscription VOD (41%). SVOD’s share of VOD presence is higher for films with higher box office revenue. On a country basis, exclusivity between TVOD and SVOD seems to be the rule, with exceptions: Movies with higher admissions or originating from the U.S. were more often available both on TVOD and SVOD.