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NPD: More Streaming Than Disc Renting

25 Nov, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Streaming ‘transactions’ surpass disc rental peak six years ago

Netflix and YouTube dominate peak Internet traffic periods as their respective subscribers and users collectively watch billions of hours of programming, according to industry reports.

Thus, it’s not surprising Netflix streamed 58% more titles (2.6 million) from January to September this year, than the collective number of movie disc rentals (1.1 million), according to The NPD Group.

Brick-and-mortar rental spending declined 14.5% in the third quarter to an estimated $244.6 million, and 13.2% in the first nine months of the year, to $766.8 million, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. By-mail disc rental was off 19.8% in the first nine months of the year, to an estimated $780.7 million, and 17.3% in the third quarter, to $249.3 million.

It wasn’t any better last year, as brick and mortar video stores collectively rented less than 500,000 discs in 2012 — indicative of the declining Blockbuster store footprint, according to NPD. The chain’s remaining company-owned locations will be shuttered by early next year. At the same time, slightly more than 500,000 discs were rented by mail, compared to about 750,000 discs via kiosks.

NPD said the peak disc rental period in home entertainment occurred in 2007 with more than 2.5 million transactions — which is less than what Netflix streamed this year in nine months.

“During this period [2007], more than half of brick-and-mortar activity was attributable to Blockbuster,” Paulette Hebert, senior analyst, entertainment, wrote in a Nov. 25 blog.

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