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Thursday, May 12, 2011

Two Studies Report DVDs Continued Market Dominance

Late this April, a Port Washington, New York-based market research company, the NPD Group, published a report that some may find surprising: physical media, like DVDs and Blu-rays, continue to be the format of choice for home movie watchers.

Highlights from the report include:
  • “More than 77% of consumers watched a movie on DVD or Blu-ray Disc during the past 90 days, compared with 21% who watched via transactional video-on-demand.”¹
    • Consumer adoption of video-on-demand services continues stuck at 20%.¹
  • Consumers reported that 78% of their home video budgets went to purchase or rent DVDs and/or Blu-rays.²
      • Nearly 80 cents of every dollar spent on home video movies goes toward the purchase or rental of physical discs.¹
    • Meanwhile, consumers spent only 15% on video subscription services like Netflix.²
    • The remaining 8% was split between digital video downloads, paid streaming, paid transactional video-on-demand, and pay-per-view.²
This study truly articulates that Blu-ray and DVD are still the dominant format for home entertainment. So why the many articles purporting the doom and gloom of the DVD industry?

“With the well-publicized struggles of Blockbuster and retail video stores closing around the country, and with media attention increasingly focused on the newest digital home video offerings, the value and importance of physical formats to the home video industry and to consumers is often overlooked,” Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for The NPD Group, explains.¹

Crupnick continues: “We expect strong growth from many digital sectors, driven by connected devices, improving selection and the consumer’s endless quest for convenience. For now, though, physical discs continue to lead overall engagement and spending by home video viewers; and even with increasing use of VOD and other digital formats, the primacy of DVD and Blu-ray in home video will continue for the foreseeable future.”³

An article from Home Media Magazine supports Crupnick’s assertion that physical discs will continue to dominate the home entertainment market. The article, entitled “Study Stresses Staying Power of Disc,” shares a March 2011 study which culled data from The Digital Entertainment Group, the Entertainment Merchants Association, and the Consumer Electronics Association.

The study concludes that digital distribution could take as long as a decade to reach majority market share. It also found that “purchases of Blu-ray Discs and players jumped 86% in 2010, giving further evidence that physical media as the primary home video medium will take substantially longer to fade out than the demise of VHS a decade ago.”

Other highlights from this study include:
  • 92 million U.S. households own a DVD player, 14 million own a Blu-ray player, and 46 million own gaming consoles that play either DVD or Blu-ray discs; thus, “it can be concluded that a large segment of the U.S. has committed to packaged media for their home video use.”
  • Only 11% of the 90 million HDTVs purchased between 2008 and 2011 are Internet-connected, “indicating the continued need for DVDs.”
  • “DVD rental demand will be about the same in 2014 as it was in 2008.”
    • Physical rental is “projected to have three times the market share as digital rentals in 2014, indicating that the obsolescence of physical media within the home video market is not a near-term event.”
  • Americans spent roughly $18 billion on DVD and Blu-rays in 2010 compared to $2 billion for VOD and electronic sell-through.
So how do these studies relate to your library beyond the fundamental libraries-circulate-DVDs relationship? Like Russ Crupnick explains above, traditional video stores are closing, yet the demand for physical media is still immense. And “even as the choices for viewing are expanding,” Crupnick says. “There is no evidence that consumers are abandoning physical discs for watching movies.”²

Thus, while libraries should definitely research digital media as an avenue for diversifying collections and providing patrons with more options, they shouldn’t be quick to neglect their physical collections or consider physical media dead. DVD (and Blu-ray) is still the format that the majority of Americans want, and libraries—as the only legal lenders of free media—should protect this crucial community role (especially as libraries become the primary source for DVD rentals in many areas) by maintaining quality physical collections.

What are your thoughts? What trends are you noticing in your library?


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