2013 Year in Review30 Dec, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel
UltraViolet strengthens its retail support with the launch of Target Ticket, while Redbox throws its hat into the digital ring with the launch of Redbox Instant by Verizon. Meanwhile, Amazon gives Netflix some tough SVOD competition, while the venerable rental chain Blockbuster finally gets shut down. Early digital and Digital HD become buzz words, while Xbox One debuts with a Blu-ray player. And it’s still disc sales that maintain the home entertainment industry, despite digital delivery’s sprawling growth not only here but abroad.
» J. Scott Di Valerio becomes CEO of Coinstar, parent of Redbox, replacing a retiring Paul Davis.
» A bipartisan Congress approves an amended Video Privacy Protection Act, giving consumers the right to share their video rental viewing habits on social media sites such as Facebook.
» Rovi announces plans to sell its digital entertainment store platform, which includes disc-to-digital technology licensed by Best Buy’s CinemaNow and Flixster.com, the Warner Bros.-owned site used for UltraViolet access.
» Nearly 13 million Blu-ray Disc players in the United States are connected to the Internet, says The NPD Group.
» The Redbox Instant by Verizon SVOD service is scheduled to launch by April.
» The DEG: Digital Entertainment Group says consumer spending on home entertainment rose for the first time in five years to $18 billion.
» Blockbuster On Demand bows an Android-based app.
» Nielsen says 37% of shoppers bought a movie on disc on Black Friday weekend; the number of 3D Blu-ray titles surpassed 200.
» AT&T U-verse launches an SVOD service for members priced at $5 a month featuring 1,500 titles.
» Blockbuster U.K. files for the British equivalent of bankruptcy protection.
» 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment begins letting consumers pick online which catalog titles should be released on Blu-ray Disc.
» Blockbuster LLC says it will shutter 300 stores in the United States.
» Netflix posts an unexpected $8 million profit, which sends stock skyrocketing.
» Redbox begins selling live event tickets at kiosks in the greater Los Angeles area.
» Warner Bros. names veteran home entertainment executive Kevin Tsujihara as CEO.
» HBO home entertainment president Henry McGee steps down.
» NPD says disc sales dominate home entertainment sales despite all the attention given to digital sellthrough and VOD.
» CES names Dish Network’s controversial Hopper DVR co-winner of Best of Show, despite efforts by CBS to have Hopper removed from consideration. The network is among several embroiled in litigation with Dish over the Hopper.
» Barnes & Noble announces plans to shutter 35% of its stores over the next 10 years.
» Amazon says viewership of its Prime Instant Video streaming is up “dramatically,” without divulging actual viewership data. The company also snags exclusive streaming rights to “Downton Abbey.”
» Redbox ends 2012 with 45% share in the physical disc rental market, as it ups capacity in kiosks.
» Orange County, Calif.-based Movie>Q says it will open two new kiosk-based rental store locations.
» Lionsgate reveals plans to increase its UltraViolet footprint in 2013.
» Netflix and DreamWorks Animation partner for original children’s programming.
» Warner Archive Collection eyes an SVOD service.
» CBS continues to buck tradition, licensing more current broadcast programming to SVOD services.
» Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen says at a tech summit that Dish bought Blockbuster to launch a wireless products and services retail footprint.
» Nearly 25% of Netflix subscribers drop their bundled pay-TV service, according to Cowen & Co. report.
» Walmart reports a “mid-single-digit” same-stores sales decline of home entertainment in the fourth quarter.
» Mattel marks the 25th Barbie disc release, Barbie in The Pink Shoes, with a Blu-ray debut.
» Sony Pictures Entertainment president Michael Lynton says improvements are needed to UltraViolet. Meanwhile, Time Warner CFO John Martin says the media giant remains committed to the cloud-based storage locker.
» Netflix CEO Reed Hastings believes the domestic SVOD market could reach 90 million.
» Netflix quietly celebrates the 4 billionth disc rental with a subscriber in Des Moines, Iowa.
» Media company executives from Time Warner and News Corp. say the home entertainment industry has stabilized.
» Industry veteran Mark Fisher is named president and CEO of the Entertainment Merchants Association.
» More than 600 fans converge on a Walmart in Phoenix, Ariz., for the midnight packaged-media release of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2 from Lionsgate.
» Anchor Bay Home Entertainment secures packaged-media distribution rights to future scripted shows from AMC Networks, Sundance Channel and IFC.
» NPD says telecommunication subscribers rent more transactional VOD movies than cable and satellite TV subscribers.
» Managing partners The Walt Disney Co. and News Corp. discuss the future of Hulu, including the option to sell it for the second time.
» Redbox Instant launches to the public.
» Netflix eyes 4K resolution content, while original episodes of “House of Cards” are filmed in the Ultra-HD format.
» CBS licenses earlier seasons of ratings winner “The Good Wife” to SVOD services.
» M-Go, the transactional VOD service co-owned by Technicolor and Dreamworks Animation, signs a transactional VOD, digital sellthrough deal with Lionsgate.
» A Deloitte report finds that tablets spur users to rent — not buy — movies.
» The U.S. Supreme Court expands First Sale Doctrine ruling that intellectual property acquired abroad can be resold domestically.
» Trans World Entertainment says it will open 20 f.y.e. (For Your Entertainment) stores in 2013.
» Universal extends its Redbox distribution deal through 2014.
» Blockbuster U.K. is acquired by a private equity firm.
» Amazon Prime Instant Video and Netflix expand their original programming slates.
» UltraViolet-enabled movies top 9,000, while registered user accounts reach 11 million, according to industry data.
» Best Buy founder Richard Schulze returns as chairman of the board.
» NPD said Fox TV’s canceled series “Prison Break” was the most binge-watched SVOD program in 2012.
» The SEC says it won’t punish Netflix’s Hastings for posting investor information on Facebook.
» Former News Corp. COO Peter Chernin’s media company bids $500 million for Hulu.
» B. Riley & Co. analyst Eric Wold says Q1 average Redbox kiosk revenue dropped 16%.
» NPD says video game consoles top Blu-ray Disc players as a main Internet conduit.
» A federal court rejects Viacom’s $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Google-owned YouTube.
» Flixster.com expands on Xbox 360.
» UltraViolet bows in Europe.
» Warner and Walmart partner to promote Man of Steel in theaters and, eventually, on Blu-ray Disc.
» IHS says Blockbuster U.K.’s closure could negatively impact the British packaged-media rental market by 22%.
» DEG says Blu-ray Disc and digital helped up Q1 home entertainment spending 5%.
» 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment adds QR codes to UltraViolet-enabled discs.
» Blockbuster LLC considers increasing its by-mail disc rental presence.
» Hulu Plus adds 1 million subscribers in Q1 to reach a 4 million total.
» YouTube bows an SVOD platform with third-party content channels.
» Fox becomes the first studio to launch early Digital HD access on new releases.
» News Corp. COO Chase Carey says Hulu will continue its dual revenue focus.
» Warner Bros. realigns its home entertainment division and expands Ron Sanders’ duties.
» Cinedigm and Universal sign a home entertainment pact.
» Coinstar’s CEO says additional disc quantities and Blu-ray titles should boost Redbox revenue.
» Netflix again tops peak bandwidth usage, according to a Sandvine report.
» Microsoft announces its new Xbox One video game console will feature a Blu-ray Disc drive.
» Target tests its Target Ticket transactional VOD service.
» Redbox says smaller box office titles rent better.
» An Aussie website plans to sell UltraViolet movies in the United Kingdom.
» Amazon moves forward with production of five original series.
» Lionsgate eyes syndicating original series created for SVOD, including Netflix.
» Best Buy CEO says stores will decrease packaged-media shelf space.
» Amazon and Viacom ink a streaming deal focusing on kids content.
» Redbox Instant offers a link to Roku streaming devices.
» Disney bows its Digital Copy Plus website, melding digital access with packaged media.
» Gaiam Vivendi inks a distribution deal with Random Media.
» NPD says PlayStation 3 users prefer to watch movies on disc.
» Walmart’s Vudu.com bows a disc-to-digital service in the home.
» Netflix and DreamWorks Animation partner for original kids programming.
» Sony releases “House of Cards” on disc June 11.
» NPD says the shuttering of ESPN 3D portends the death of the format in the home.
» Paramount bows SuperTicket featuring an early theatrical release and Digital HD copy for Brad Pitt’s World War Z zombie thriller.
» Microsoft and Sony unveil the new Xbox One and PlayStation 4 video game consoles at the E3 confab in Los Angeles.
» Netflix says it will allow (and track) multiple users on a single family account, instead of just the primary credit card holder.
» Ernst & Young issues a report stating that most entertainment revenue will come from digital distribution by 2015.
» Disney and Sony experiment with shrinking the retail window in South Korea in the face of a dormant home entertainment market and piracy.
» Discovery Channel says it is working on a subscription VOD service.
» Netflix begins an Emmy PR campaign for its original series “House of Cards,” the first non-TV program ever nominated.
» A Bernstein Report says the demo of consumers opting to forgo bundled pay-TV service entirely is getting younger.
» Coinstar, parent of Redbox, renames itself Outerwall.
» Samsung acquires set-top box manufacturer Boxee.
» Amazon begins streaming episodes of CBS summer series “Under the Dome,” just 72 hours after initial broadcast. The e-commerce behemoth is paying CBS $700,000 an episode to do so.
» Warner and Cineplex Entertainment in Canada give moviegoers the opportunity to preorder UltraViolet editions of the actioner Pacific Rim.
» Best Buy takes preorders for Universal’s Despicable Me 2.
» Georgia supermarket chain Ingles cuts the rental price of Blu-ray Disc movies to $1.29 a day — 14% less than Redbox.
» Amazon Prime Instant Video and Miramax ink an SVOD license deal.
» Corporate owners Disney, News Corp. and Comcast pull Hulu off the auction block and pledge $700 million in new funding.
» Amazon reports HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and Fox’s A Good Day to Die Hard are the top-selling packaged-
media titles in the first of half of 2013.
» Japanese Wuaki.tv bows an SVOD service in the United Kingdom.
» Google bows a $35 USB streaming stick called Chromecast.
» NPD reports kiosk and transactional VOD revenue grew in the first half of 2013.
» Redbox rents its 3 billionth disc and expands operations into Canada.
» Netflix upgrades accounts with personalized profiles.
» DEG says Blu-ray Disc and digital distribution offset DVD revenue declines in the first half of 2013.
» Blockbuster LLC announces shuttering another 100 domestic stores, leaving it with 350 stores in operation.
» Netflix creates a new executive position targeting consumer electronics.
» Parks Associates says Roku remains the No. 1 streaming media device.
» Leichtman Research Group says the ongoing economic malaise is driving subscriber growth in low-cost SVOD platforms.
» Netflix expands its pay-TV distribution deal with The Weinstein Co. to include all new releases.
» Sony announces it will bow the PlayStation 4 on Nov. 15.
» DEG promotes Amy Jo Smith to president.
» Netflix and Hulu say they will significantly increase their original programming slates in 2014.
» Warner launches a massive marketing push for the 75th anniversary packaged-media release of The Wizard of Oz.
» Aussie CE retailer JB Hi-Fi bows the first UltraViolet-enabled movies down under.
» Roku hires its first chief marketing officer.
» Microsoft says it will debut the Xbox One console Nov. 22 — a week after Sony’s PS4 launch.
» Sony bows its Video Unlimited 4K movie streaming service.
» Netflix bows its first original stand-up comedy series, featuring Russell Peters.
» M-Go inks license deals with CBS and bows an app with LG TVs.
» Warner Bros.’ Tsujihara says UltraViolet is on the “right path.”
» Virgin Media becomes the first MVPD to offer Netflix as an option to U.K. subscribers.
» CinemaNow bows a disc-to-digital service in Canada.
» Georgia-based MovieStop bows an UltraViolet storefront with FlixFling.com.
» Redbox lowers year-end fiscal guidance due in part to consumers renting movies for fewer days.
» Universal Studios Home Entertainment ups Craig Kornblau in a reorganization.
» NPD says monthly video game sales increased for the first time in 21 months in August.
» Target bows its Target Ticket transactional VOD and electronic sellthrough platform.
» Comcast’s CFO says declining DVD sales alter movie production strategies.
» Netflix’s Hastings tells analysts MVPDs must decide whether SVOD is a friend or foe.
» Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes says he’s amenable to selling HBO Go to non-HBO households.
» PricewaterhouseCoopers says 63% of online viewers use Netflix to access video.
» AOL bundles Redbox and iTunes in a new service.
» Hulu Plus says it is considering ad-free streaming, following the path taken by Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video.
» Kaleidescape inks a distribution deal with Lionsgate.
» Outerwall’s largest investor, Jana Partners, ups its stake in Redbox’s parent company and advocates dumping new business ventures, including reportedly Redbox Instant.
» Cinedigm buys Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment.
» Hulu names Mike Hopkins as its CEO.
» Netflix and Disney ink a streaming deal for the Dutch market.
» comScore says online video consumption increased 18% in September.
» Netflix’s subscriber base tops 40 million globally.
» Sony partners with Vudu.com to offer bonus features on electronic sellthrough.
» Redbox says consumers rented a record 199.5 million discs in the third quarter.
» Amazon’s LoveFilm Instant adds exclusive content.
» Studios adopt a Digital HD moniker to help brand electronic sellthrough (and UltraViolet).
» Netflix’s CCO says the service pulls resources from its disc segment to boost streaming operations.
» Fox expands its early new-release digital strategy.
» DEG says growth in consumer spending on digital distribution helped lift home entertainment in the third quarter.
» Comcast says it is considering offering a low-cost bundled pay-TV plan featuring SVOD.
» Dish Network says it will shutter all remaining corporate-owned Blockbuster stores, effectively killing the venerable rental icon.
» Disney and Netflix partner for four original live-action series based on Marvel Comics characters.
» Sony inks a distribution and administrative support deal with Criterion.
» In a nod to MVPDs, Comcast’s SVOD service, Streampix, gets access to CBS programming unavailable on Netflix.
» Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos backpedals on comments made that the streaming service is considering greenlighting original movies released day-and-date with theatrical.
» Paramount and Lionsgate attribute revenue growth in part to strong home entertainment results.
» Cinedigm’s CEO says its recent acquisition of Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment is on par with Lionsgate’s purchase of Artisan Entertainment in 2003.
» Dish Network says it plans to upgrade Blockbuster @Home, the brand’s remaining digital platform.
» Sony reports selling 1 million PS4s in the first 24 hours after the console’s launch.
» Time Warner’s CFO says the TV Everywhere concept is not resonating with consumers.
» Comcast launches the first MVPD retail digital movie service and hints it may also support UltraViolet.
» Amazon Prime Instant Video debuts its first original series, “Alpha House.”
» NPD says consumers are streaming more than renting discs.
» Microsoft reports selling more than 1 million Xbox One consoles in the first 24 hours after launch — mirroring sales of Sony’s PS4.
» Sony bows digital movie gifting on Walmart’s Vudu.com.
» Blockbuster U.K., which was bought out of bankruptcy by a private investor group, is set to cease operations.
» Sony says it sold 2.1 million PlayStation 4 consoles since its Nov. 15 launch.
» Universal commits to donating a portion of Fast & Furious 6 home video sales to Paul Walker’s charity. Walker, who appeared in every “Fast & Furious” film except Tokyo Drift, died in a car crash Nov. 30.
» M-Go says it will offer gift cards for the winter holidays.
» Redbox president Anne Saunders departs from the company, with Outerwall CEO Scott Di Valerio assuming the position.
» IHS Screen Digest analyst Tom Adams says home entertainment profits remain with packaged media — for now.
» Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group CTO Darcy Antonellis leaves the studio to become CEO of video service Vubiquity.
» 21st Century Fox COO Chase Carey says the TV Everywhere concept has been poorly executed.
» Hulu reports 5 million subscribers and $1 billion in revenue in 2013.
» Universal says initial home entertainment sales of Despicable Me 2 topped $80 million — including record first-week digital sales.
» Kaleidescape hires new CEO Tom Furlong.
» NPD says there will be more than 200 million TVs and related devices in U.S. homes by 2015.
» David Bishop steps down as president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, effective March 2014.