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DEG: Blu-ray, Digital Helped Lift 2011

10 Jan, 2012 By: Chris Tribbey, Thomas K. Arnold

Higher-margin products and strong consumer spending on Blu-ray Disc helped stabilize the home entertainment industry in 2011, according to full-year figures released Jan. 9 by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

While overall spending on packaged media and digital delivery was down 2% for the year to an estimated $18.04 billion, down from $18.43 billion in 2010, a 20% jump in Blu-ray spending and a 51% jump in digital spending point to a sustained recovery for the industry, DEG reported.

The box office value of films that came to home entertainment during the year, by comparison, was down 8.7%.

The second half of 2011 saw consumer spending on home entertainment up 1%, and the third quarter saw a 5% rise, the first quarterly increase since the first quarter of 2008.

Annual spending on Blu-ray software hit $2 billion for the first time, and Blu-ray players are now in nearly 40 million homes, a 38% rise from 2010. Electronic sellthrough spending was up 9% for the year, while VOD saw a 7% rise. 3D Blu-ray Disc unit sales were up sixfold year-over-year.

Helping drive Blu-ray spending was the further adoption of HDTV, with more than 27 million HDTVs purchased in 2011, bringing household penetration to more than 74.5 million American homes, DEG reported.

Total consumer spending on packaged media, Blu-ray and DVD, slipped slightly more than 13% to  $8.95 billion from $10.52 billion in 2010. Rental spending (packaged media only) was down 3% to $7.54 billion from $7.6 billion the previous year, with a 28.8% drop in brick-and-mortar rental activity offset by a 31% uptick in the kiosk rental business, mostly Redbox vending machines.

But those declines are to be expected, observers say, as consumers transition to digital delivery, mostly streaming. Overall spending on digital delivery rose 51% to nearly $3.42 billion, up from $2.26 billion in 2010. The largest chunk of that went to VOD ($1.87 billion) and the new category of subscription streaming ($993.6 million), while electronic sellthrough remained a nonstarter at $553.7 million.

Five of the 10 best-selling titles of 2011 (in order, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2, Tangled, Cars 2 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon) sold more than 2 million discs, according to the data. The rest of the top-selling titles were Bridesmaids, Rio, The Help, The Lion King and The Hangover Part 2

Looking at 2012, DEG says UltraViolet — the buy-once, play-anywhere, cloud-based digital copy platform — will help keep disc sellthrough relevant, with an estimated 100-plus UltraViolet-enabled titles released during the year.

About the Author: Chris Tribbey

About the Author: Thomas K. Arnold

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