Digital Movies Gaining In Popularity

Watching-TV-on-IpadSay goodbye to DVDs … someday. 

According to new research from Mintel, digital downloads, subscription streaming and video-on-demand sales of movies will increase tenfold during the 10-year period of 2007 and 2017, having already quadrupled from $1.3 billion to $5.5 billion between 2007 and 2012. 

“[There] is a general trend away from physical media,” Billy Hulkower, senior technology analyst at Mintel, tells Marketing Daily. For instance, he says, the number of people who’ve bought a physical book has dropped drastically in favor of e-book purchases. “That’s happening now with movies. I think the future looks a lot cleaner, where nobody has books, CDs or DVDs.”



Traditional DVDs, while on the decline, are not going anywhere soon, Hulkower says. They’re still the most popular way to rent movies (nearly a third of online consumers reported having rented discs within the past 30 days). And for the foreseeable future, the number of people who either haven’t upgraded their technology or simply want to hang on to something physical should linger for a little while longer. 

“We’re not going to see DVDs disappear in the next five years. There will still be people who have DVD players and will still have DVDs within five years,” Hulkower says. But as the most desirable DVDs become scarce at brick-and-mortar retailers, things will continue to shift toward digital downloads. “Unless you’re buying a DVD to buy a DVD, you could just buy the digital movie.”

Already, streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video are gaining in popularity; a quarter of respondents said they had used online streaming over the past 30 days and 22% used Video on Demand, according to Mintel. 

“Once you start using a digital store for your purchasing, it’s sort of addictive to have that one-click access to content,” Hulkower says. “People are acclimated to immediate access to content. There’s a movie you want to see, you click a button and it’s there.” 

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