Despite easing pandemic restrictions and an improving theatrical box office, U.S. consumer appetite for home entertainment continued to skyrocket, up 9.5 percent above 2020’s record levels for the third quarter, to nearly $8 billion, according to the Digital Entertainment Group.
The trade association’s quarterly numbers suggest unabated enthusiasm for watching, renting and buying movies and TV series at home, even as theaters reopened and some high-profile films hit the big screens. Indeed, even that was good news for home-entertainment sellers, given that the marketing blitz that typically accompanies a traditional theatrical release can boost consumer interest in home versions, and spur further exploration of available product.
“With pandemic conditions improving as the year progressed and theatrical releases restarting, spending on home purchases of theatrical new releases has begun to pick up,” according to the DEG report. “It is expected to continue in a positive direction as theatrical releases across the industry return to a typical pattern.”
Sales of physical discs built around those theatrical new releases were up 38 percent in the quarter, while sales of digital versions of the films were up a whopping 73 percent for the quarter.
The figures don’t include Premium Video on Demand sales, which several major studios experimented with over the past 18 months on films such as Disney’s
Even without the potentially substantial contributions from PVOD (Disney said in court filings last summer that Black Widow generated $125 million in PVOD revenues in its first several weeks), spending on all kinds of digital products rose 12 percent.
Spending on digital streaming services rose 17 percent in the quarter, to $6.4 billion, thanks to a plethora of major new services that are finally filling out their offerings after widespread production shutdowns last year.
Overall spending on home entertainment was up 6.3 percent to $23.6 billion for the first three quarters of the year, all but $1.4 billion of that on digital distribution, including streaming services, video-on-demand rentals, and electronic sell-through.
The most popular home-entertainment titles in the quarter included F9: The Fast Saga, Free Guy, Godzilla vs. Kong, Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, A Quiet Place Part II, Wrath of Man, Yellowstone, The Office, and Rick and Morty.
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