ERA: Physical Discs Still Coveted for Movie Ownership in the U.K.

It may be a streaming video world dominated by Netflix, but when it comes to owning the biggest movies of the year, DVD and Blu-ray Disc still resonate best among consumers in the United Kingdom.

New data from the Entertainment Retailers Association found that among sales of the Top 20 movies in 2018, more than 74% occurred on physical disc. Among the Top 20 music albums, 61% were sold in the physical format.

Meanwhile, subscription streaming services helped the entertainment market in the United Kingdom reach an all-time-high of £7.5 billion ($9.5 billion) in revenue in 2018, according to new data compiled by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA).

For a sixth successive year of growth driven by digital services from the likes of Spotify, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple and Google, digital revenue accounted for more than 76% of entertainment sales in 2018, according to ERA.

Digital revenue now dominates all three sectors, with digital generating 80% of games revenue, 72.3% of video and 71.3% of music.

The biggest music and video hit of the year, Fox’s The Greatest Showman, sold nearly two-thirds of its combined 4.3 million sales on CD, DVD and Blu-ray. The biggest-selling console game of the year, FIFA 19, sold 2.5 million units, around 75% on physical formats.

“The data shows that if you want a real mass-market hit, you need the reach and convenience of physical formats,” Kim Bayley, CEO of the ERA said in a statement. “The challenge for physical retailers is to tap into this huge market of occasional buyers.”


ERA Preliminary Entertainment
Sales Totals 2018 (£m)

2017 2018 % change
Music Physical £459.4 £383.2 -16.6%
Downloads £165.0 £122.6 -25.7%
Streaming £601.9 £829.1 37.7%
Total Music £1,226.3 £1,334.9 8.9%
Video Physical Retail £742.1 £616.9 -16.9%
Physical Rental £40.5 £31.7 -21.7%
Digital £1,341.0 £1,689.4 26.0%
Total Video £2,123.6 £2,337.9 10.1%
Games Physical £792.4 £769.9 -2.8%
Digital £2,750.0 £3,094.0 12.5%
Total Games £3,542.4 £3,863.9 9.1%


‘Super Fans’ Driving Blu-ray Disc, DVD Market

Shout! Factory has created a cottage industry and industry reputation for its catalog packaged-media releases and pricey boxed sets.

The indie distributor’s Streets of Fire: Collector’s Edition took “Best Catalog Title” at the 2018 Home Media Awards, while in August it will release Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Complete Series — 25th Anniversary Edition Steelbook– a 20-disc collection selling for $200.

Shout!, along with other distributors, is targeting a growing lucrative consumer: the super fan. This demo apparently thinks nothing about spending $300 on Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s DC Universe 10th Anniversary Collection, or $65 on Paramount Home Media Distribution’s Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series, among others.

Indeed, these hardcore consumers are prepared to spend hundreds of dollars (and British pounds) on their lavish DVD and Blu-ray Disc collector’s sets and high-grade vinyl LPs  and are driving home entertainment sales, according to new data from the Entertainment Retailers Association. More than two thirds of sales of Blu-ray Discs in the U.K. are generated by the passionate fan.

“Music, video and games may reach virtually the entire population, but it is these £400-a-year [$500] super fans who are the backbone of the market,” Kim Bayley, CEO of ERA, said in a statement.

Indeed, British super fans accounted for 61% (£98.8 million/$131 million) of £162 million ($217 million) spent on Blu-ray Discs in 2017, compared to £62.9 million/$84.5 million of the£580 million ($780 million) spent on DVD.

The ERA estimated the U.K. Blu-ray super fan base at around 247,000 people — equivalent to the population of Southampton.

“Super fans are the connoisseurs of entertainment,” Bayley said. “They are passionate about music or film or games and tend to favor the more sophisticated higher-value formats.”