Despite a global recession and decreased purchasing of DVD titles, 2009 should weigh in as a record year for home entertainment spending as rental revenues spiked, Blu-ray Disc sales increased and other home entertainment options gained traction.
DVD purchase spending for 2009 is expected to be down approximately 13% from 2008, but the final numbers won’t be known until the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) releases their annual report in early January.
Rental, Blu-ray & digital content came to the rescue, with an 8.2% increase in home video rental spending in the first 9 months of 2009, according to Rentrak Corp. The popular theory suggests that consumers are more likely to rent, instead of purchase, in a time of economic downturn.
But even with the rise of rental, Blu-ray Disc and digital delivery content sales were also on the way up. Blu-ray Disc spending in the first 9 months of 2009 is estimated to be around $568 million, with the last 3 months of the year expected to significantly boost Blu-ray spending even higher for the year. The DEG also noted that overall consumer home entertainment transactions were up 6.6% annually as of the 3rd quarter of this year.
But it’s not an entirely rosy picture. Even with the overall success of the home entertainment sector this year, Hollywood studios are still not happy with the drop in DVD sales. So what’s their solution? Punish renters by attempting to impose 30 day (or longer) embargo periods on new release rental availability.
Punishing renters isn’t the solution. I believe delaying new release rental availability will lead to less revenue for the studios, not more. People who don’t want to purchase new releases still won’t buy them and instead might turn to piracy rather than waiting a month for the title to become available.