The LA-based Digital Entertainment Group marked its 17th year as the home entertainment industry’s leading association by promoting Amy Jo Smith to President. In addition to promoting Smith, the DEG realigned its Steering Committee positions for the 2013-14 fiscal year. Vice Chairs will be David Bishop, President, Sony Pictures Worldwide Home Entertainment, Craig Kornblau, President, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Mike Dunn, President, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. Steve Beeks, Co-Chief Operating Officer & President, Motion Picture Group, Lionsgate remains Chief Financial Officer. Robert Rose, DEG’s General Counsel, also takes over the responsibility of Corporate Secretary.
The continuing decline in DVD sales, and disc rentals at bricks-and-mortar stores and subscription services led by Netflix, continued to weigh the business down according to data out today from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. It reports that consumers spent $5.66B in Q4, a 1.5% drop vs the period last year. That resulted in a full-year total of $18B, up 0.23%. The total sell-through figure for packaged goods — largely discs — fell 8.4% to $3.1B in Q4. That’s due to DVDs: While the trade group doesn’t break out data for Blu-ray discs (it once did), it says that spending on the high-definition format was up 10% for the year. DEG doesn’t break out sales of UltraViolet-enabled discs but says that the initiative has “achieved significant milestones in industry and consumer adoption and is rapidly becoming an integral part of the home entertainment landscape.” Spending on digital downloads is up — 50% to $295M — but not enough to compensate for the decline in DVDs.
Consumers spent $3.9B in the quarter, up just 0.24% vs. the period last year, according to data out today from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. But the real story is about the continuing shift in where people spend. Sales of packaged goods — which includes both DVDs and Blu-ray discs — fell 4% to $1.67B. DVDs were the culprit; DEG says that Blu-ray disc sales were up 22% but doesn’t provide a dollar figure. In rentals, revenues from brick-and-mortar stores such as Blockbuster fell 18.7% to $286M, while subscription disc services including Netflix were down 50.4% to $301.5M.
The LA-based Digital Entertainment Group marked its 16th year as the home entertainment industry’s leading association with the announcement of its new Board of Directors and Officers. They serve as the Steering Committee for the 2012-13 fiscal year (August 1 – July 31). New to the Board are Bill Sondheim of Gaiam Vivendi Entertainment, John Taylor of LG Electronics USA, Mike Lucas of Sony Electronics, and Michael Paull of Sony Music Entertainment. New to the Steering Committee is Steve Beeks of Lionsgate, who is the group’s CFO. He joins President Ron Sanders of Warner Home Video, Vice President David Bishop of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Vice President Craig Kornblau of Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Secretary Mike Dunn of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.
Board Members include Henry McGee of HBO Home Entertainment, Blair Westlake of Microsoft, Eisuke Tsuyuzaki of Panasonic, Dennis Maguire of Paramount Home Media Distribution, Marty Gordon of Philips Electronics, Andy Parsons of Pioneer Electronics, Eric Anderson of Samsung Electronics, Ron Smith of Toshiba America Information Systems, Jim Belcher of Universal Music Group, Lori MacPherson of Walt Disney Studios.
By a hair, I mean a 1.4% gain in total consumer rental and purchase spending to $8.4B, according to data released today by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. Netflix and, to a lesser extent, Amazon and Hulu Plus deserve most of the credit for the uptick: Spending on subscription streaming services was up 430.2% to $1.1B, accounting for 13.1% of all home video spending in the period. That outweighed the impact of Netflix’s diminishing promotion of subscription DVD rentals. Spending in this category was -50.4% to $671.9M. Consumers also spent more for streaming subscriptions than they did to rent discs at kiosks, almost exclusively Redbox now that it has bought NCR’s Blockbuster Express machines: The kiosk business was up nearly 23% to $990.5M. The other notable gain in rentals was in VOD, up 11.6% to $983.6M. Rentals at brick-and-mortar stores fell 33.4% to $597.5M.
But the report shows that the industry is still suffering from consumers’ cooling desire to own DVDs. DEG offers a single number for DVD and Blu-ray disc sales — packaged goods collectively were down more than 3.6% to $3.7B. (That’s an improvement from the first half of 2011 when packaged goods sales declined 18.3%.) The industry group makes it clear that DVDs are to blame. It says that consumer spending to own Blu-ray discs was up 13.3% vs a dollar number …
The data out today from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group may suggest that the period of steep declines in home video spending — largely driven by the collapse of the DVD market — is over. But it also may just reflect the fact that the quarter had more popular movies: Films available on home video in the quarter did 12.5% better at the box office than did comparable releases last year. Whatever the reason, total sales of DVD and Blu-ray discs fell just 0.6% in Q1 to $2.06B; DEG says that Blu-ray now accounts for about a quarter of all disc sales. Throw in the $165M spent to buy digital files of movies and TV shows, and the sell-through market was up 0.5%. Digital vendors really showed their muscle in rentals. Spending on subscription streaming services such as Netflix was up 545.4% to $548.6M while digital VOD from providers including Apple’s iTunes was up 6.8% to $505.3M. Meanwhile, the rash of store closings at Blockbuster contributed to a 29.4% decline in rentals at bricks-and-mortar stores to $305M. And Netflix’s struggles with its DVD business helped to drive a 48.1% slide in subscription disc rentals to $348M. Bricks-and-mortar and subscription DVD rental services now individually do less business than pay TV’s VOD which was up 6.8% to $505.3M. Another winner: kiosk services led by Redbox. Their rocketed 30.1% to $523M. DEG says that consumers opened 2M UltraViolet accounts, …
Nomura analyst Michael Nathanson doesn’t buy the spin from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group this week that the clouds are beginning to part for the home video business. The industry group said that spending only fell 2.1% last year — the smallest decline since 2008 — due in part to a 20% increase in spending on Blu-ray discs. ”The industry’s performance clearly stabilized,” DEG said. But Nathanson says in a report this morning that the figures are misleading because they include subscription payments for digital streaming from companies such as Netflix and Hulu Plus. They “are not directly tied to the distinct purchase of one title,” Nathanson says. “Why didn’t prior DEG reports include HBO and Showtime revenues? Consumers are subscribing to these networks for similar content.” But when you take the subscription numbers out, ”the industry’s health looks a little more sickly at -6.6% vs the -2.1% reported,” Nathanson says. “Using this approach, we maintain a view that consumer demand for physical and digital home entertainment titles is still, unfortunately, in secular decline.” The bottom line? Nathanson predicts that U.S. consumers will spend $16.3B on home entertainment this year, -4%, and $15.5B in 2013, -5%.
The industry’s Digital Entertainment Group credits a 58% gain in spending on Blu-ray discs vs last year’s 3Q and a 12.8% pickup in electronic sell-though (to $135.9M) for much of the gain in 3Q consumer spending, to $3.93B. The 4.9% improvement in total sales was “a major milestone,” DEG says, because “this is the first time spending has increased since the first quarter of 2008, when the economic downturn began.” This also was the first time DEG broke out spending numbers for subscription streaming services such as Netflix, formerly folded into the tally for rentals: They accounted for $255.4M in the quarter and $463.6M for the first half of 2011. But the results show that DVD sales continue to plummet: The huge gains for Blu-ray weren’t sufficient to stop the decline packaged goods sales, down 4% to $1.74B. Over in the rentals, subscription services for discs — again, like Netflix — led the pack (+4.9% to $607.3M). But video-on-demand came in second (+4.9% to $419.9M), followed by kiosks (+23.3% to $414M) and bricks-and-mortar stores (-28.6% to $353M).
A spokesman for DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group says the trade organization didn’t deliberately choose a Friday afternoon to release its dreary new report about consumer spending on home entertainment in the first half of 2011. But from a PR perspective it probably doesn’t hurt to bury news that shows VOD and electronic distribution still can’t make up for the collapse in sales of DVDs. The headline number is that consumer spending on all forms of home video — including DVD and Blu-ray disc sales and rentals, VOD, and online — fell 5.1% vs the first half of 2010 to $8.3B. Last year, spending fell 3.3% in the first half of 2010. DEG says this year’s drop isn’t so bad because last year included Avatar. (It seems that the blockbuster was good enough to include last year when it made sales look strong, but is supposed to be treated as an anomaly now that it makes comparisons look weak.) Still, there’s no getting around the steep decline for DVDs. Consumers bought nearly $3.9B worth of DVD and Blu-ray content, down 18.3% vs the first half of 2010. At this time last year, disc sales were off 7.1% vs. 2009. DVDs are the culprit: Although DEG only reports figures for “packaged goods,” it notes that Blu-ray sales are up more than 10%.