By Adam Ray Palmer
In this series, I take a look at different forms of media that will either rival cinema, put cinema at risk or even decline itself because of cinema. Last time out, we looked at YouTube, this feature is on DVDs.
DVDs are an interesting topic nowadays, with the decline in sales mainly – but also how the collection of them has become an expensive hobby as streaming is now a cheaper alternative, but I’ll get to that. Let’s start with some facts…
On the face of it, one thing is clear. It does not look good for the future of DVD sales and the demise is upon us. Since 2008, DVD sales have declined by more the 86%. That’s a whopping figure that tells a damning story – and there’s many reasons for this. Firstly, this day and age in a new pandemic world, the woes of the DVD market have been heightened by a number of key film releases being delayed. When this happens, it pushes people to do one thing… stream; but we will get to that.
A lot of the time when big franchise movies are released, and in 2020 terms with the latest James Bond instalment, it means a lot of people get in the mood with watching the previous releases. With No Time To Die seeing its cinematic release date postponed until November, it ensures its DVD release date will not happen until 2021 - this is bad news for the retailers.
And to clarify, this decline isn’t a new thing. This has been happening for a while. According to the data, which was obtained from DEG and IHS Markit, global sales of video disc formats (which in this context means DVD, Blu-ray, and UltraHD Blu-ray) were at $25.2 billion in 2014 but only $13.1 in 2018. That's a drop in the ballpark of 50 percent. What happened during those years to produce such a dramatic fall I hear you ask? The pesky streaming ability well and truly picked up.
Since 2011, platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and HBO have seen sales balloon 1,231% to $12.9 billion. Zoe Mills, an analyst at GlobalData, commented: “Streaming has been a significant disruptor in the video market, with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video enticing consumers to invest in their services at the detriment of physical DVD and Blu-ray sales.” What this means is that since 2011, consumption of video entertainment has changed dramatically due to convenience and value. The last three months in the pandemic has exasperated this market even further as not only is there a major new entrant to streaming (Disney+) but also with more people spending time at home, investment in these subscription services appears more worthwhile as consumers are able to use them more regularly.
To bolster the above point, home entertainment spending grew 16 percent in 2018 thanks to surges in consumer spending on digital video services from players like the aforementioned Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. So, all your sound bars, your HD televisions and even projectors in some households; these are all fighting against the cinema experience.
So, to bring this back around to the ever-evolving cinema question, what does the DVD decline mean for cinema? Well, taking all the facts into consideration, there’s a two-fold answer. Firstly, the DVD decline is heavily reliant on cinema releases as they help the retailers sell – but there’s probably a secondary argument here on DVD price vs cinema ticket price – but we’ll leave that for another day.
And secondly, streaming services are seriously making a charge on cinema as they have already had a huge effect on DVD sales. Streaming will inevitably be the death of DVDs but the whole theatre experience may just be the saving grace for cinema here. But I think we know what our next ‘Ever-evolving’ topic will be! We will dive into streaming a lot more next time.
What do you think? Are you a DVD collector? Do you think DVD decline will ever pick up? Tweet us at @CineroomTweets / comment on @CineroomPosts or let us know below. I hope you enjoyed this piece. Let’s chat film.