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Study: Buying, Renting Digital Not as Popular as Disc

23 Aug, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

In the digital age, transactional VOD and electronic sellthrough are supposed to supplant packaged media and deliver even greater margins to studios. Consumers, however, are not on the program, according to new data from research firm GfK.

In the report, “Physical versus Digital Video: A Tale of Three Media,” GfK surveyed 1,006 consumers and found respondents continue to prize DVDs and other physical media, including director’s cuts, audio commentaries and other special features not typically found in digital media.

Specifically, just 46% of respondents said they have purchased or rented a digital movie, compared with 86% that bought or rented a DVD or Blu-ray Disc currently or in the past. Among respondents who have never bought or rented digital media, 70% bought/rented DVD or Blu-ray Disc.

The principle reason cited for not consuming digital media: Subscription streaming video. About 66% of respondents who said they don’t acquire or rent digital media said they consume SVOD.

Among consumers who do rent or purchase digital media, 33% do so monthly, compared with 60% who used to rent packaged media. Indeed, while nearly 40% of respondents said they had purchased a disc that included a digital copy, 66% said they never activated the content, citing a lack of need or interest.

“Our research clearly shows that most ‘digital-nevers’ have histories renting or buying TV shows and movies in physical form,” David Tice, SVP of media and entertainment, said in a statement. “But the desire to seek out and purchase content so purposefully seems to have given way to a subscription mindset.”

Tice said content creators and distributors need to do a better job convincing consumers about digital transactions.

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