‘Potter’ Discs Lift Q2 Video Sales13 Jun, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Blu-ray Disc accounts for 40% of new-release sales
Home entertainment release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 helped increase consumer spending on DVD and Blu-ray Disc 1.6% in April and the first two weeks of May compared to the same period last year, according to a new report.
El Segundo, Calif.-based IHS Screen Digest said disc sales of Deathly Hallows and other select titles throughout a two-week period during the quarter jumped 30% year over year — helping narrow the packaged media sales decline to less than 15%.
Disc sales in the first quarter fell more than 20% year over year.
“Harry Potter arrived just in the nick of time for the U.S. video market,” said Tom Adams, principal analyst and director of U.S. media for IHS. “First-quarter sales reflected a release slate with relatively weak performances at the theatrical box office compared to those issued during the same period in 2010.”
Adams said the huge week-over-week gains from Harry Potter underscore how important big hits are to driving increased traffic and overall sales, even though new-release feature films represent only 28% of physical video unit sales.
The report said the bounce in physical video sales came just as the disc-sales market was due to come up against year-to-date comparisons that included the April 22, 2010, release of Avatar, the biggest box-office title of all time. Indeed, in its first four weeks on the video market, Avatar sold through an estimated 10.7 million discs.
None of the top April/May 2011 releases matched the Avatar numbers, but as a group, market leader “Harry Potter” and a strong supporting lineup managed to limit the April sales decline to 9% decline compared to last year.
The other top sellers included Tangled, released March 29, which performed strongly throughout April, as well as Tron: Legacy and Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Meanwhile, the Blu-ray format continues to expand its market share of new-release sales, increasing from 27% of total new-release shipments in 2010 to a projected 40% by the end of this year.
The new-release movies that make up 28% of unit sales drive more than 43 percent of total annual disc revenue — much of which arrives in the fourth quarter. Although the first-quarter box office results also were soft, second-quarter results are improving compared to the same period in 2010.
“Given the softness of the first-quarter box office, the gains driven by Harry Potter in April are likely to give way to some soft video comparisons in the summer months,” Adams said. “However, a recent strengthening in box office results — plus a powerhouse summer slate that includes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2 — should drive a strong fourth quarter.”