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Digital VOD/EST surged 48% in March in "biggest month ever"

07 May 2020 | Rasmus Larsen |

Digital home entertainment in the US surged in Q1 2020 driven by consumers sheltering at home during the pandemic. March 2020 became the "biggest month ever" for VOD/EST, says DEG.

Digital up - theatrical, discs down

Total home entertainment spending in the US rose from $6.0 billion in Q1 2019 to $6.92 billion in Q1 2020, a 15% increase. That is according to a report released by the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG). Stay at home orders rolled out across the US beginning mid-March, which led to a surge in home entertainment spending. This made March 2020 the "biggest month ever" for VOD (video on demand) and EST (electronic sell-through), meaning movie rentals and purchases through services such as Apple TV (iTunes), Google Play Movies, and Vudu. - "Driven by entertainment-hungry consumers sheltering at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, digital home entertainment transactions through electronic sell through (EST) and video on demand (VOD) hit $596 million in March 2020, an increase of 48 percent over March 2019 and the sector’s highest monthly revenue to date," said DEG.

Rise of Skywalker

DEG emphasized that the figures do not include PVOD (premium video on demand), meaning theatrical movies such as Universal's The Invisible Man and Disney/Pixar's Onward. Universal's Trolls World Tour was released as PVOD after the quarter ended on April 10 and brought in $95 million in PVOD revenue in North America in just three weeks - more than the original Trolls brought in during its five-month theatrical run in 2016. Box office (theatrical) revenue in the US decreased 4.5% year-over-year to $2.76 billion in Q1 2020 while DVD/Blu-ray disc sales were down 22.4% year-over-year. It is worth noting that the US home entertainment segment, which also includes TV series and other types of content (not sports and not pay TV revenue), is now more than 2.5 times the size of the box office (theatrical) segment in terms of revenue.

Q1 2020 Home Entertainment

Other highlights from the Q1 report

- The 15 percent increase in U.S. home entertainment spending in the quarter came amid a nearly 5 percent drop in box-office performance for the films released in the period. - During March, theatrical product was especially strong, rising 57 percent on EST and 67 percent on VOD**, as numerous wide release movies came early to the home. - For the full quarter, total digital spending, including transactional rentals and purchases and subscription streaming, was up 24 percent over the first three months of 2019, coming to $6 billion. - Consumer spending on subscription streaming increased 27 percent in the quarter from the year earlier period. - Overall EST spending rose nearly 13 percent in the quarter compared to the year earlier period, with strong sales of television product, up almost 19 percent. - Overall VOD** spending rose almost 20 percent in the quarter. ** VOD spending does not include premium video on demand (PVOD).
- Source: DEG

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