Fueled by digital — subscription streaming as well as transactional — home entertainment spending in the first quarter of 2019 rose 6.4% from the first quarter of the previous year, to $6.04 billion, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.
Subscription streaming, led by Netflix, rose 21% in the quarter to an estimated $3.6 billion, DEG said, citing IHS Markit estimates.
The increase shows that with the reliance by streamers on original and TV content, the at-home sector is becoming increasingly impervious to the whims of the box office.
The theatrical value of films that came to the home market in the first quarter, according to DEG, was down nearly 20%.
Take streaming out of the equation and consumer spending on home entertainment was down 9.3%.
Consumer spending on digital transactional video, both purchase (electronic sellthrough, or EST) and limited-time viewing, came in at nearly $1.23 billion, up 4.6% from just under $1.18 billion in the first quarter of 2018.
EST sales rose 6.7% to $665.5 million, up from $623.7 million, while limited-time VOD, the digital equivalent of rental, generated an estimated $564.1 million in consumer spending, up 2.3% from $551.6 million.
Disc sales continued to decline, falling below the $1 billion mark in the first quarter of 2019 to an estimated $822.25 million, a drop of 23% from $1.06 billion in the first quarter of 2018 — pretty much in line with the decline in the collective box office earnings of movies that were released to the home market in the same time frame, to $2.89 billion from $3.59 billion in the year-ago quarter.
The disc rental market fared better, with consumers spending just under $400 million to rent DVDs and Blu-ray Discs from Redbox kiosks, freestanding video rental stores and Netflix’s disc-by-mail rental option. That’s down 14.6% from the prior year’s first quarter.
Citing CTA numbers, DEG noted “there is continued significant growth among 4K Ultra HD hardware products,” with Ultra HD TVs now in about 53.4 million households, an increase of 55% from a year ago. The number of households with at least one 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray playback machine rose 63% to 14 million.
The top-selling disc release of the first quarter, according to NPD Group’s VideoScan tracking service, was 20th Century Fox’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
The top 10 DVD and Blu-ray Disc sellers of 2019, through March 31:
- Bohemian Rhapsody (Fox)
- Aquaman (Warner)
- Ralph Breaks the Internet (Disney)
- Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (Warner)
- A Star Is Born (2018) (Warner)
- The Grinch (Universal)
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Sony Pictures)
- Mary Poppins Returns (Disney)
- Halloween (2018) (Universal)
- Creed II (Warner)
Source: NPD Group