You can thank Netflix for helping the home entertainment industry to report the coulda-been-worse numbers for video sales and rentals in Q3. Total consumer spending, at $3.97B, was up 0.05% vs the period last year — even though, The Digital Entertainment Group notes, theatrical revenues for the releases were down 6.4% from last year. Still, the numbers show a $13.5M shift from high-margin sales to low-margin rentals: Total sales (including discs and electronic sellthrough) fell 7.4% to $1.72B while rentals (again, physical and electronic) were up 16.5% to $1.06B. Optimists will find comfort in the digital data. Spending on subscription streaming was +33.1% to $815.2M. That’s probably almost all Netflix; DEG doesn’t include subscription VOD that’s “bundled with other services,” which would knock out Amazon Prime. Studios also should be encouraged by the growth of electronic sellthrough: +46.4% to $273.9M. That’s an acceleration from the quarter last year (+37.7%) and in 2011 (+12.8%). VOD spending at $468M was up 2.8%, a slow down from last year when it was +8.5%. Results continue to look dismal for discs, though.

Sales fell 13.4% to $1.45B. DEG says that Blu-ray contributed to the decline due to “tough comparisons” with last year, which included two popular boxed sets: Bond 50: The Complete 22 Film Collection and Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures. On the rental side, brick-and-mortar stores were -14.5% to $244.6M, and subscription disc rentals (mostly Netflix’s mail business) fell 17.3% to $249.3M. Kiosk rentals — dominated by Redbox — were up 3.9% to $966M, but that’s a deceleration from last year (+9.9%) and 2011 (+23.3%).