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Disc Sales Far From Frozen

8 May, 2014 By: Stephanie Prange

Just as pundits are praising the digital delivery revolution and the death of physical media, along comes a hot title called Frozen, which has topped disc sales charts nearly every week since its March 18 release, when it tallied sales of 3.2 million units on its first day.

Walt Disney Studios, which includes Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, reported a revenue jump of 35% ($462 million), due to higher disc unit sales (boosted by Frozen and Thor: The Dark World).

But Frozen isn’t the only strong title spurring unit sales. Even TV content — which has been the lifeblood of subscription websites such as Netflix and Amazon and the darling of the digital revolution — is selling on disc. HBO April 30 reported a first-quarter income jump of 11%, with content revenue increasing 13% largely from packaged-media sales of Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said first-month disc sales of the third season of "Thrones" were the highest of any previous HBO original content. Consumers want to own TV series as well as hit features.

While DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg lamented the disappointing theatrical performance of Mr. Peabody & Sherman (a good movie, by the way, which may yet be discovered in the home entertainment market), disc sales continued to stream in for previous DreamWorks Animation titles. Turbo contributed revenue of $22.3 million for the first quarter, having reached an estimated 4.8 million home entertainment units sold worldwide. The Croods contributed revenue of $41.7 million, primarily from domestic pay-TV and home entertainment, reaching an estimated 7.1 million home entertainment units sold worldwide. Rise of the Guardians reached an estimated 5.5 million units sold, and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted reached an estimated 9.1 million units sold. There is hope for Mr. Peabody & Sherman yet.

Who is buying all those discs if packaged media is dead? The collector.

Even before the advent of DVD, consumers collected titles they really loved on VHS. It’s a habit that continues, even with all the digital offerings available. The collector still prizes — and wants to own on physical media — quality content.

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