Home entertainment biz rallies

26 November, 2013 by Don Groves

Australian producers and distributors who feared the home entertainment business may be in freefall can take heart: the industry is proving to be remarkably resilient.

Consumer spending on DVDs, Blu-rays and online film and TV content in 2013 is likely to be level with last year, according to a new report.


The physical DVD and Blu-ray disc business remains a $1 billion-plus industry while online revenues grew by an estimated 31% this year, said Simon Bush, CEO of the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association.

Launching AHEDA’s first-ever Yearbook (www.aheda.com.au), Bush said, “After recent years of declines in our business, 2013 is on track to end the year flat.”

The medium-term outlook is bright. IHS forecasts the total video market in 2017 will be worth $1.12 billion, including $260 million in online revenues. That doesn’t include SVOD services.

Last financial year local retailers sold nearly 63 million DVD and Blu-ray discs generating $1.14 billion in sales, according to GfK Retail and Technology. While the physical segment has been declining at the rate of 7% a year since 2009, in the first half of 2013, GfK reports the drop-off was just 1% and the volume actually increased by 1%.

The Avengers was top-selling disc during the past 12 months followed by The Dark Knight Rises and The Hunger Games. The top children’s title was Peppa Pig ahead of Mickey Mouse and Lego.

The digital video market in Australia generated $126.2 million in consumer revenues in the year to June 30, representing a year-on-year growth of 31%. The number of movie and TV transactions soared by 64% to 11.3 million in the past two years, with the rental of movies accounting 58% of that and TV content at 33%.

Distributors say new release DVDs and Blu-ray titles are withstanding the emergence of digital channels, but library sales are falling.

The report says most distributors agree that the four-month theatrical movie release window will narrow over time, but none can predict a timeline.

It predicts the National Broadband Network could accelerate online piracy but it also has the potential to make commercial cloud-based video services more feasible.

Subscription music services such as Spotify, Pandora and iTunes Radio are changing consumer attitudes to owning content, it says.