Overall rental market hit $7.67 bil

DVD rentals rose 10.3% in 2006 but overall rentals dipped slightly due rapid declines by the moribund VHS format.

The overall rental market hit $7.67 billion, according to Rentrak’s Home Video Essentials point-of-sale tracking service, with $7.39 billion of that coming from DVD rentals. The overall tally, which includes a la carte, subscription and online rentals, reps a 1.5% decline, however.

Nevertheless, the strong showing by DVD flies in the face of a growing perception in the financial community and the business press that consumer demand for DVD is weakening. “Flightplan” brought in the most rental coin, followed by “Wedding Crashers,” “Walk the Line,” “Failure to Launch” and “Fun With Dick and Jane.”

VHS rentals racked up only $281 million in 2006, down 74.1% from a year earlier. The format accounted for 14.1% of U.S. rentals in 2005, but just 3.7% in 2006.

Faced with evaporating demand — by consumers and retailers — major studios stopped releasing titles on videocassette before the fourth quarter selling season heated up (Daily Variety, Nov. 15, 2006).

Top DVD Renters for 2006

Rank/ Title (Label)/ Release date/ Index*

1 “Flightplan” (Buena Vista) Jan. 24 100.0

2 “Wedding Crashers” (NL/WB) Jan. 3 98.8

3 “Walk the Line” (Fox) Feb. 28 98.6

4 “Failure to Launch” (Paramount) June 27 85.2

5 “Fun With Dick and Jane” (Sony) April 11 84.0

6 “Click” (Sony) Oct. 10 81.7

7 “Inside Man” (Universal) Aug. 8 77.5

8 “King Kong” (Universal) March 28 73.3

9 “RV” (Sony) Aug. 15 72.3

10 “Lord of War” (Lionsgate) Jan. 17 71.9

11 “The Benchwarmers” (Sony) July 25 69.8

12 “Rumor Has It…” (Warner) May 9 66.9

13 “The Break-Up” (Universal) Oct. 17 65.5

14 The Family Stone (Fox) May 2 65.3

15 “The Chronicles of Narnia” (Buena Vista) April 4 64.7

16 “Derailed” (Weinstein/Genius) March 21 64.4

17 “Jarhead” (Universal) March 7 64.2

18 “The Lake House” (Warner) Sept. 26 61.9

19 “Firewall” (Warner) June 6 61.5

20 “A History of Violence” (New Line/Warner) March 14 60.7

*Index puts the top title at 100 and lists all others as a percentage of the top title’s rental revenue

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