The movie rental and sales market is taking a huge hit this year with DVD sales and rentals at big chains like Blockbuster falling down the rabbit hole. The movie market is seeing the same thing today that the music market saw years ago when digital tunes first started taking off. The desires and habits of consumers are changing whether the movie companies and rental chains like it or not. Consumers used to buy physical copies, and today many are choosing to stream.
DVD sales dropped 20% in the US over Q1 2011. Studios are blaming the timing of Easter and a bunch of movie release during the same time frame in 2010 for the decline in sales. The bigger picture shows something different than that in my mind. While the overall DVD sales market plummeted to $500 million under what it was last year, spending on streaming and subscription services grew significantly. These services grew to the tune of 33% during the quarter.
This is s a clear indication that consumers want digital movies. Those that don’t want digital films also are starting to prefer kiosk rentals with the rental of DVDs through outlets like Blockbuster dropped 36%. I think it’s time for the movie industry to stop trying to prop up the inevitable end of mainstream physical store rentals and end the wait periods for movies to hit kiosks like Redbox and digital rentals like PPV and Netflix. I would like to see a study on how many consumers simply don’t watch a film when they have to wait 30 days to rent at Redbox or see it on a streaming basis.