Catalog titles more than doubled their share of digital transactional spending in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest DEG: The Digital Entertainment estimates, released late in the day on May 11.
Older movies accounted for 76% of all digital purchases (also known as electronic sellthrough) and rentals in Q1, DEG reported, compared with 37% in the first quarter of 2020.
Very few new films have been released to transactional home entertainment platforms so far this year, as studios hold back films in anticipation that COVID-19 restrictions will be further eased and theaters will soon be operating at full capacity.
For most of the first quarter, movie theaters in Los Angeles — the epicenter of the movie business — were dark. Only in the middle of the month were they allowed to reopen, albeit at 25% capacity.
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Among the top catalog titles in the first quarter of 2021: Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Wolf of Wall Street, Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Consumers were also drawn to purchase TV titles, with digital sales of TV shows rising nearly 35% during the quarter to an estimated $215 million. Top-selling TV series included “Yellowstone,” “The Office,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “When Calls the Heart” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”