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NPD: More than 50% of Consumers Bought DVD, Blu-ray in Past 90 Days

15 Apr, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel


Despite ongoing recessionary pressure on consumer spending, home entertainment appears to be only moderately affected, according to a new report.

The NPD Group, citing an internal consumer survey, said 51% of respondents purchased a DVD or Blu-ray Disc movie in the prior three months. Purchases of a video game console or game ranked second at 36%, followed by music CD at 31%.

The survey was conducted online from Feb. 18 through March 3.

The report said per capita spending on entertainment in the United States remains relatively unchanged at $160 per month, with the bulk of that spending dedicated to monthly cable TV and Internet subscriptions.

Indeed, DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales and rentals are down about 10% and 7.4%, respectively, according to Home Media Research and Rentrak. DVD-by-mail rental continues to flourish, underscored by Netflix’s burgeoning rise in subscribers, including more than 600,000 in the first six weeks of the year.

Despite predictions that consumers would trim monthly entertainment subs, the only notable decline in spending NPD observed were for magazines and newspapers.

The study found that 63% said they would by the same or more DVDs as they did in 2008. Another 75% of respondents said they would spend the same amount or more on digital music downloads as they did in 2008. About 65% would spend the same or more on video games, and 60% would spend the same or more on CDs.

"I'd expect that over time, you may see some erosion for the buyer base of DVD, with a growth in the buyer base for Blu-ray," said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD.

Nearly 73% of consumers expect to spend the same amount or more on theatrical movies; and based on a comparison to last year's statistics, the theatrical movie category appears to be in the best position for growth, as only 66% of respondents said they would spend the same or more last year.

"Even in the face of a down economy, entertainment remains a popular spending category," said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD. "Most consumers say they'll continue to purchase at least the same amount of many entertainment categories in the coming year."

Despite the appearance the entertainment industry is poised to ride out the recession, Crupnick said there remains anxiety about the economy among entertainment buyers, including increased non-use of pay-per-view options and related competition for the entertainment dollar.

"There's a reasonable amount of optimism," Crupnick said. "People are still buying, but buying less. Put compelling content in front of consumers, and they will buy it."

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