According to figures released on both sides of the Atlantic, the home video industry saw some stabilization and even growth in the first quarter of this year. It was good news for both Blu-ray Disc and digital delivery: Blu-ray sales grew by 23% in the US and 15% in the UK, while digital sales in the UK grew by 14%. There are now nearly two million active UltraViolet accounts in the US.
In the US, according to figures compiled by DEG members tracking sources and retail input, overall consumer spending was up 2.5% compared to the first quarter last year, driven by the healthy consumer appetite for Blu-ray. Blu-ray now accounts for one out of four of all of the physical sell-through dollars spent by consumers compared to less than 15% two years ago. The progress in Blu-ray Disc sales is even more significant when viewed as growth off an ever-increasing base, says the DEG.
Highlights for the US home entertainment’s first quarter include:
- Blu-ray Disc and EST continued their steady gains with consumer spending on Blu-ray jumping 23% and EST up 17% compared to the same period last year.
- Physical sell-through of theatrical product was up 2% for the quarter, while catalog sales on Blu-ray Disc were up 27%, and TV on Blu-ray sales were up 54%.
- Consumers have opened nearly two million UltraViolet accounts to access their movies and TV shows in the cloud.
- The number of Blu-ray homes continues to climb, with 2.4 million players sold in the first quarter (including BD set-tops, PS3s and HTiBs).
- Total household penetration of all Blu-ray compatible devices now stands at more than 40.8 million U.S. homes.
- Further, 6.5 million HDTVs were sold to US consumers in the first quarter 2012. HDTV penetration to date is now at more than 77.6 million US households.
In the UK, the video entertainment market remained steady in the first quarter of 2012, according to a British Video Association (BVA) announcement. Blu-ray Discs grew in volume by almost 18% and 3.5 million discs sold in the first quarter. The 15% rise in value to £45.2 million, combined with DVD sales, meant that physical discs accounted for 70% of total video market value and remain the most popular way for viewers to access video entertainment. Demand for digital video also continues to rise, with sales increasing more than 14% to £72.8 million.
Lavinia Carey, Director General of the BVA said: “The Q1 figures show that the video industry is holding its own against a tough economic background. Given the pinch on the consumer purse, illustrated by the 4% drop in ASDA’s income tracker, it is heartening to see a 3.1% increase in the average weight of disc purchase, even though inflation remains relatively high. The rise in digital and Blu-ray sales is where we would hope to see growth and it is encouraging that our audience is increasingly enjoying viewing content on a range of formats, alongside the nation’s traditional favourite – the physical DVD.”
However, the total value overall of consumer spending on video entertainment in the UK slipped 3%.