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More Than Two Thirds of Consumers Have Never Bought a Digital Video

So much for digital dollars: A majority of consumers has never rented or bought a digital copy of a movie or TV show, according to a new GfK study. What’s more, the average digital media collection is much smaller than physical disc collections or even VHS collections have been on average.

46 percent of consumers have ever bought or rented a digital movie or TV show, according to GfK’s recent Home Technology Monitor. In contrast, 86 percent of consumers have rented or bought a DVD or Blu-ray in the past, and 78 percent have done so with a VHS tape.

Hollywood has long pushed to make digital home entertainment more attractive, with a particular emphasis on digital sales. However, these efforts don’t seem to resonate with consumers, with 70 percent of the GfK’s respondents telling saying that they have never bought a digital video.

Digital locker services like Disney’s Movies Anywhere service and the competing Ultraviolet service doesn’t seem to have moved the needle on digital ownership. 37 percent of respondents said they bought physical media in the past that came with the option to access a digital version of the movie. However, two-thirds of those buyers never activated those digital copies.

A closer look at consumers who do embrace digital formats also doesn’t spell good news for the studios. 33 percent of consumers who do rent digital movies do so every month, compared to 60 percent who had done so with physical media in the past. And while the average DVD collection used to contain about 87 discs, digital collections are only made up of 23 titles on average.

The flip side of this is the continuing strength of streaming services. GfK doesn’t mention Netflix by name, but the market research organization reports that 78 percent of consumers who have never bought or rented a digital video are streaming content instead.

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