Boy, the recession is truly upon us, and the DVD figures are showing it. Unfortunately, while there are still a lot of people are buying DVD’s, the number of DVD’s sold in 2008 was down substantially. Via Variety:
Final year-end results won’t start to trickle in for a few more days, but there’s little doubt that homevid spending ended down for the year. The vid biz is famously squishy about its sales figures, but all indicators point to a second consecutive decline, with Blu-ray gains unable to make up for declining DVD sales throughout the year.
The last available figures show DVD sales 5%-6% behind 2007 levels. Blu-ray sales jumped fourfold, making up a couple percentage points of the DVD deficit. Overall disc sales are expected to end 3%-4% below 2007’s $15.38 billion tally when the last disc sales for 2008 are calculated.
According to one home video executive, “As far as I’m concerned, down is the new flat and flat is the new up.” Hah! I don’t think that the DVD industry needs to worry too much, as I’d attribute most of this decline to people penny-pinching in these tough economic times. But there are other factors in play here, too, which could be contributing to the decline.
What kind of “factors” am I talking about? Why, that thing that makes the world go round: the internet! As online content on YouTube continues to get better, and made-for-internet productions like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (Amazon.com Exclusive) attract lots of traffic, people are finding that they don’t necessarily need to go to the theater to be entertained. You know, times are a changin’, and there is simply more entertainment available for people to consume. Look at TV- network television ratings are way down this season, but internet programming and cable are thriving. People are moving beyond ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, and finding quality programming on cable and the web. The same sort of trend is happening in music, movies, and journalism as well, which is why print magazines that really invested in their websites years ago (like EW), are reaping all the benefits now.
You see, it’s not that people are taking in less entertainment. It’s how they’re taking in this entertainment that’s shifting. The movie industry needs to hurry up, and come to terms with the fact that the internet is quickly democratizing this industry, and if they want to keep their edge, they better start laying down a solid online infrastructure. I have a feeling that if they don’t, it could bit them in the butt down the road. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Hollywood.
So which do you think caused the decline in DVD sales: our hyper-distracted, internet-obsessed, ADD culture, or the current recession? Most likely, I think it’s a little of both.