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Nielsen: 73% of Consumers Still Buy or Rent Movies and TV shows

18 Aug, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

20% exclusively prefer packaged media

In a home entertainment market transfixed by over-the-top video, new data from Nielsen finds that a majority of Americans still prefer to buy or rent movies and TV shows via disc and digital distribution.

In fact, the study of 2,800 respondents found that 73% of Americans age 12 and up actively consume movies and TV shows for home viewing. And while the type of content these consumers watch and what content they pay for has shifted over the past few years, their path isn't always toward digital.

Specifically, 70% of entertainment consumers bought or rented one movie in the past six months, while 51% bought or rented a TV show.

Among these consumers, 61% bought or rented a disc, 53% opted to buy or rent a digital file, and 41% split between physical and digital formats.

Meanwhile, nearly 20% of home entertainment consumers have not watched a theatrical movie in the past six months. Another 24% have watched a theatrical release and rented (not purchased) a movie during the same time period.

The majority (53%) have watched a theatrical movie and bought or rented at least one title during the past six months. Only 9% of moviegoing respondents have not rented or bought a title.

Physical Still Tops Consumer Spending

Consumers spent nearly $2 billion buying and renting DVD and Blu-ray Disc titles in the second quarter, compared with $873 million via digital channels, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

While the majority of consumer spending over the past month included pay-TV (47%) and theatrical (12%), packaged-media purchases (10%) and rentals (6%) topped comparable digital alternatives (3%), according to Nielsen. Another 9% spent their dollars on video games.

“Consumers spend a larger share of dollars on physical disc purchases than any digital TV/movie viewing methods,” read the report.

Broadcast TV, Video Games Top Consumer Viewing Hours

If consumers spend the most dollars on pay-TV, it follows that broadcast TV dominates (34%) their weekly viewing hours, followed by video games at 12%. Subscription streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime Instant Video account for 10% of weekly viewing hours, followed by on-demand recorded content (8%) and packaged media at 7%.

Subscription streaming has been getting most of the media attention — and for good reason. Despite watching about the same amount of network TV and movies overall, Nielsen found that respondents said they are going to the movies less often and buying fewer moves in favor of SVOD and watching free content.

In fact, compared to 2014, respondents said they buy fewer TV shows on disc (3%) and digital (0.2%). They rent fewer by-mail discs (0.8%) and frequent video stores less (down 3.9%). But they are streaming more — up 12.4%.

Meanwhile, moviegoers frequent theaters less (down 3.4%), buy fewer movie discs (6.5%) and electronic-sellthrough titles (down 1.8%). But consumers are renting more movie discs by mail (up 1.7%); renting fewer titles at kiosks (down 2.2%) and video stores (down 3.2%).


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