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Report: 2009 Box Office Tops Disc Sales

4 Jan, 2010 By: Erik Gruenwedel

A record box office, underscored by strong 3D releases, resulted in 2009 U.S. theatrical revenue besting Blu-ray Disc/DVD sales for first time in a decade, according to a new report from Adams Media Research.

Monterey, Calif.-based AMR said domestic box office revenue topped $9.87 billion, up 9.8% from 2008, while Blu-ray/DVD sales fell 13.3% to $8.73 billion, despite almost 100% year-over-year growth in Blu-ray sales.

Blu-ray/DVD rental revenue increased 0.5% to $8.15 billion as consumers, driven by recessionary measures, flocked to $1 DVD rental kiosks and, to a lesser extent, the video store. Indeed, rental transactions increased more than 5%.

Online movie revenue, including electronic sellthrough (up nearly 73%) and rental streaming (up 60%), topped $360 million, according to AMR.

Overall entertainment spending, which includes theatrical, packaged media, electronic distribution, video-on-demand and cable, satellite and telecommunications, topped $28.4 billion, down just 0.3% from $28.5 billion spent in 2008.

“In this [economic] environment, [U.S. consumers] are seeking the biggest bang for their buck, resulting in a record year for the 3D-fueled theatrical box office, and an explosion in spending on all-you-can-watch subscription and dollar-a-night video rental,” Tom Adams, president of AMR, said, in a statement. “On top of that, early adopters are finally starting to embrace all the new electronic rental and purchase propositions being offered on subscription TV and the Internet.”

Indeed, Rentrak Corp. reported that rental spending in 2009, underscored by rental kiosks, increased 4.1% to $6.5 billion.

The Digitial Entertainment Group releases its 2009 home entertainment results later this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.


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