Transactional film and TV sales in the U.K. rose by more than 87 percent to £113 million in the first half of the year, according to new data released by the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE).
In addition, per Kantar, 1.8 million new customers either bought or rented digital content during lockdown, taking the number of consumers transacting digitally in that period to a record high of 5.5 million.
In a 12-week period beginning March 28, when the Stay Home policy was introduced in the U.K., data compiled by The Official Charts Company (OCC) shows that digital purchases to own accounted for 51 percent of the market, with 49 percent still going to physical media (DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD). In the same period in 2019, digital ownership’s share was 29 percent.
Liz Bales, chief executive at BASE, said, “With nearly two million new customer buying or renting entertainment content from a digital store during the lockdown period and contributing to the wider transactional video market returning to growth, the digital transactional market has been a beneficiary of the fact that the government’s Stay Home policy provided the right environment for it to flourish. With new-release and catalog content available instantly and without a subscription, digital content has been able to play an important role for many in providing some much-needed light relief from the reality of lockdown.
“The fact that more than half of consumers anticipate they will maintain habits formed during lockdown, such as engaging more broadly with digital delivery, underlines the need for the video category to optimize around the opportunity delivered by the growth it has seen. Historically, home entertainment has proved robust in times of economic crisis and the addition of a meaningful number of new customers to digital transactional, alongside the resilience of the disc market, means the video category at large has plenty to build upon even as consumer confidence and discretionary spend potentially become challenged as we look to the future.”
Craig Armer, strategic insight director at Kantar, added, “Across both digital purchase and rental, numbers have boomed during the lockdown period, with new and existing customers contributing to some 7.9 million transactions, up more than 22 percent on the same period last year and more than the same period in 2018, which supports the story of the transactional video category returning to growth. The number of transactional VOD customers has actually doubled to the point that VOD accounted for more than 28 percent of the transactional video market in lockdown versus around 13 percent for the same time last year. Across the digital video landscape, the overall number of digital customers renting or purchasing is now at a record 5.5 million. While digital spend is growing across all age groups, it’s worth noting that VOD appeals to younger shoppers and digital purchase resonating more strongly with an older demographic perhaps more used to curating a collection.”
About 6.2 percent of all digital rentals during lockdown were Premium VOD (PVOD) offerings—movies released on-demand first because of the closure of cinemas. This accounted for a 19 percent share of rental spend in the period.