MediaFile

Familiar script: Home entertainment spending slips

January 11, 2012

Spending on home viewing of movies and television, on a downward spiral in recent years, fell again in 2011 as sales of DVDs and rentals at video stores dropped.

Total U.S. consumer dollars spent on home entertainment — including DVDs, video on demand and online streaming — declined 2.1 percent to $18 billion for the year, according to industry group DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. Consumers continued to shift to lower-priced rentals from companies such as Netflix and Coinstar’s Redbox kiosks, eschewing outright ownership.

The DEG pointed to bright spots, including a 20 percent jump in sales of high-definition Blu-ray discs that topped $2 billion for the first time. “The industry’s performance clearly stabilized in 2011,” it said in a statement. (The top choices for the year? “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1,” followed by “Part 2″ at No. 2)

Meanwhile, Hollywood is trying to reinvigorate interest in movie ownership with a cloud-based digital locker called Ultraviolet that allows viewing anytime from Internet-connected devices. The consortium that runs Ultraviolet, in an announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, said movie studios will offer hundreds of titles with the Ultraviolet option this year, up from a paltry, initial 19.

More than 750,000 households have registered with UltraViolet to create digital libraries since last fall’s launch, Mark Teitell, general manager of the Ultraviolet consortium, said in an interview. 
     
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

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