Buoyed by a more than 20% increase in electronic sales and streaming, home entertainment spending is again trending upward, with consumer spending in the first quarter of 2015 coming in at an estimated $4.6 billion, up 0.23% from spending in the first three months of 2014.
The gains were due primarily to continued double-digit growth in subscription streaming, led by over-the-top (OTT) services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as Digital HD, or electronic sell-through
Numbers released this morning by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, an industry trade group, show streaming expenditures for the first three months of 2015 at $1.14 billion, up 23% from $928 million in the first quarter of 2014. Consumer spending on Digital HD, meanwhile, rose 22%, to an estimated $431 million in the first three months of this year compared to $352 million between January 1 and March 31, 2014.
Disc sales continue to decline. The DEG estimates consumers spent $1.6 billion on buying Blu-ray Discs and DVDs in the first quarter of 2015, down more than 13% from the $1.8 billion they spent in the first three months of 2014.
On the rental side, DEG statistics show most people rent their Blu-ray Discs or DVDs through Redbox and other kiosk outlets. Spending at these disc vending machines rose 7.7% to an estimated $535.5 million in the first quarter of 2015, from $497.2 million in the first quarter of 2014.
Consumer spending at video rental stores amounted to an estimated $168.9 million, an 8% drop from $183.6 million in the first three months of last year.
Disc-by-mail subscription spending fell 15.3% to $190.3 million in the first quarter of 2015 from $224.6 million in the first quarter of 2014.
Thomas K. Arnold is editorial director of Home Media Magazine.