Electronic sales, kiosk usage gain popularity
Growth in kiosk usage, as well as increases in digital sales and rentals, boosted the homevideo biz in the U.S. by 1% in the first half of the year, to $8.4 billion.Biggest gains came from the digital category, which was up 78% to collect $2.4 billion, according to the Digital Entertainment Group. That includes electronic sell through, video-on-demand and subscription-based streaming services. Studios were particularly pleased with electronic sale of titles, up 22% during the period. Although the revenue is still low at $329 million, the major sees EST as a way to eventually boost profit margins as physical disc sales decline and as usage of the cloud based storage locker UltraViolet increases. UltraViolet now has more than 4 million accounts registered to access DVDs, Blu-rays and digital purchases, the DEG said. Still, consumers are increasingly turning to rental options for their filmed entertainment outside of theaters. Subscription-based streaming and disc delivery rental services, offered by companies like Netflix, rose 13.5% to $1.8 billion during the first half of 2012. The VOD category was up 12% to $984 million, seeing considerable growth in the second quarter, up 17% versus a gain of nearly 12% in the first. But streaming services rose a whopping 430% during the period to $1.1 billion as more consumers access rentals through mobile devices, videogame consoles and TVs with internet connections. While kiosk operators saw revenues rise 23% to $990 million during the period, traditional rental stores saw business decline 33% to $598 million. When not factoring in VOD rentals, the overall rental category came in at $2.3 billion, off 26%. Overall, the physical sale of DVDs and Blu-ray still generate the majority of Holllywood’s homevideo sales, earning $3.7 billion during the six-month period, a decline of 3.6%. Hollywood continues to see growth in Blu-ray, with the format seeing a 13% increase in sales, although the DEG did not break out sales figures. Sales of older catalog product grew 26% as more studios release higher profile titles from their libraries. The DEG also said are now 42.1 million Blu-ray compatible devices and nearly 80 million HDTVs in U.S. households.