Nomura analyst Michael Nathanson doesn’t buy the spin from DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group this week that the clouds are beginning to part for the home video business. The industry group said that spending only fell 2.1% last year — the smallest decline since 2008 — due in part to a 20% increase in spending on Blu-ray discs. “The industry’s performance clearly stabilized,” DEG said. But Nathanson says in a report this morning that the figures are misleading because they include subscription payments for digital streaming from companies such as Netflix and Hulu Plus. They “are not directly tied to the distinct purchase of one title,” Nathanson says. “Why didn’t prior DEG reports include HBO and Showtime revenues? Consumers are subscribing to these networks for similar content.” But when you take the subscription numbers out, “the industry’s health looks a little more sickly at -6.6% vs the -2.1% reported,” Nathanson says. “Using this approach, we maintain a view that consumer demand for physical and digital home entertainment titles is still, unfortunately, in secular decline.” The bottom line? Nathanson predicts that U.S. consumers will spend $16.3B on home entertainment this year, -4%, and $15.5B in 2013, -5%.
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