Digital HD Movie Sales Surge

Sales of digital movies surge with impatient consumers unwilling to wait for DVD release.

There is a reason your favorite movie renal outlet does not have that new movie you have been wanting to see. Hollywood thinks it has found a way to persuade consumers to buy movies online, “Make it the only option.” According to data released by industry trade group, Digital Entertainment Group: “In 2013, Digital movie purchases surged 47% to $1.19 billion.”

“It was the fastest-growing category as total home-entertainment revenue inched up 0.7% to $18.22 billion,” writes Ben Fritz for The Wall Street Journal. Ongoing declines in rentals and sales of DVDs have almost been made up in the growth of Digital.

“The total U.S. home-entertainment market remains well below its peak of more than $22 billion 2004, a drop that has squeezed the profits of every studio and led to widespread cost cutting,” reports Fritz.

A new release window marketed as ‘Digital HD’ is the driver behind the growth. Inc. and digital stores such as Apple Inc.’s iTunes Store are licensed to offer download of the movies in ‘Digital HD’ one to four weeks before a movie becomes available to rent online or as a DVD purchase.

“Strides in digital-movie sales are encouraging to studios,” adds Fritz. “Studio executives said the biggest change is people who would have rented a movie but now, unwilling to wait, are buying it instead.”

Sony first developed this form of sales in 2011 and it was picked up by Fox Entertainment last year (with an emphasis on HD quality) as a way to spark growth. Fritz states, “Sony was the first company to offer a movie for sale online before the DVD, with the comedy ‘Bad Teacher’ in 2011. But the experimental practice became widely accepted only last year, as studios also all adopted the “Digital HD” branding first pushed by Fox.”


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