The value of U.K. home entertainment grew 13.3% in 2021 to £3.7 billion ($5.01 billion) in 2021, according to numbers released by the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE).
Based on data from the Official Charts Company, Futuresource Consulting, Omdia and Kantar, the figures show that James Bond film “No Time To Die” was the biggest home video physical format title of 2021 with 1.14 million retail sales, of which more than 717,000 units sold in two weeks, the largest week one disc sales since 2017, and the biggest ever week one on 4K UHD. Overall, more than 21.1 million discs were sold in the U.K.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group emerged as the biggest U.K. distributor with its title “Wonder Woman 1984” leading the country’s total 27.5 million rentals on Video On Demand (VOD). The data also notes that over half of U.K. households have Subscription Video on Demand (SVOD) services. However, the growth of SVOD slowed in 2021, with year-on-year growth of 28%, down from the 44% surge of 2020. 16 million of 27 million U.K. households had at least one SVOD account by the fall, with the average amount of subscriptions per household holding at 2020 levels with 2.3 services per household.
Netflix remained the largest U.K. subscription service , followed by Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, Sky’s NOW and Apple TV, while Peacock content became available to SKY Subscribers in the U.K.
David Sidebottom, principal analyst for entertainment at Futuresource Consulting, said: “2021 has no doubt been one of the most challenging on record for the U.K. home video sector, but continued consumer thirst for transactional content in 2021 was evident despite a more limited slate. The sector remains incredibly robust heading into 2022, with transactional digital video sales set to bounce back, potentially to record levels, boosted by a plethora of new movie releases.”
Popular retail Blu-ray titles included “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group), “Black Widow” (The Walt Disney Company), “The Thing” (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment), “Wonder Woman 1984,” “The Suicide Squad” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group), “Godzilla Vs Kong” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group) and “Tenet” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group) with “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy” (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group) delivering the highest value for 4K UHD sales, with over £1.3 million against 19,200 copies.
Kevin Dersley, co-vice chair at BASE and MD for Elevation Sales, said: “The physical market faced a challenging year, but the strength of catalogue, TV, and the continued consumer discovery of the premium home entertainment experience of 4K UHD and Blu-ray, served those consumers who bought over 21 million discs in 2021. With the reopening of cinemas consumers will now be able to find and enjoy their favorite new releases in stores again as well. For avid film fans and everyday high-street shoppers alike there is an ongoing and important role for DVDs and Blu-rays to play in what promises to be an exciting year of releases in 2022.”
Early forecasts suggest that 2022 could be the biggest year on record for home entertainment.
Liz Bales, chief executive at BASE, said: “Throughout this pandemic, entertainment at home was the refuge that many chose to take from an uncertain world, and it became clearer than perhaps ever before: audiences are the life-blood that fuels our industry. Serving audiences the content they love is driving a new, innovative world of home entertainment. Last year, faced with challenge, our industry was forced to adapt, but now, because of those changes, 2022 may be the biggest and best year for home entertainment ever.”