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Fox Sees U.K. Digital Movie Sales Increase 280%

23 Dec, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment in 2014 saw stellar results in the United Kingdom from the rollout of digital sellthrough platforms such as BSkyB’s Sky Store “Buy and Keep” program.

Spurred by the releases of X-Men: Days of Future Past and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, digital movie purchases mushroomed 280% this year (versus 2013), while cumulative physical and digital business increased 36% in the most recent quarter compared to the same period last year.

Sky, which is owned by Fox Home Entertainment’s parent 21st Century Fox Inc., last spring launched the “buy and keep” service with a twist. Consumers get a DVD back-up of the movie purchase sent to them in the mail.

Sky is the largest U.K. pay-TV operator with more than 10 million subscribers. While digital distribution of entertainment is growing, consumer adoption and confidence with digital remains low. Including a DVD delivered in the mail with electronic purchases is seen as building consumer confidence, according to Nicola Bamford, Sky Store director.

Indeed, with X-Men: Days of Future Past, Fox scored its biggest ever selling digital title to date with 15% of total sales being Digital HD, up five times compared to a 2.9% increase for The Wolverine last year. 

Meanwhile, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has seen digital purchases account for 14% of the title’s retail revenue in its first four weeks of release (through Dec. 6).

The studio’s partnership with Sky Store has seen the retailer take a 50% market share of digital sales on the latest “Apes” installment – the highest to date on any Fox title, according to the studio.

“It’s clear from our results that the proliferation of digital platforms and devices in the UK has led to [consumers] becoming increasingly comfortable in accessing digital entertainment – and we have seen a step-change in our business,” Robert Price, UK managing director, TCFHE, said in a statement.

Bamford said the innovative of offering both a digital download of a movie and a DVD copy has been instrumental in developing consumers’ digital consumption habits. 

“We are breaking down the barriers to digital ownership in the UK,” she said. “We are proud that we have been able to quickly realize a healthy share of the Digital HD market … from our partnership with Fox.”


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