By a hair, I mean a 1.4% gain in total consumer rental and purchase spending to $8.4B, according to data released today by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. Netflix and, to a lesser extent, Amazon and Hulu Plus deserve most of the credit for the uptick: Spending on subscription streaming services was up 430.2% to $1.1B, accounting for 13.1% of all home video spending in the period. That outweighed the impact of Netflix’s diminishing promotion of subscription DVD rentals. Spending in this category was -50.4% to $671.9M. Consumers also spent more for streaming subscriptions than they did to rent discs at kiosks, almost exclusively Redbox now that it has bought NCR’s Blockbuster Express machines: The kiosk business was up nearly 23% to $990.5M. The other notable gain in rentals was in VOD, up 11.6% to $983.6M. Rentals at brick-and-mortar stores fell 33.4% to $597.5M.
But the report shows that the industry is still suffering from consumers’ cooling desire to own DVDs. DEG offers a single number for DVD and Blu-ray disc sales — packaged goods collectively were down more than 3.6% to $3.7B. (That’s an improvement from the first half of 2011 when packaged goods sales declined 18.3%.) The industry group makes it clear that DVDs are to blame. It says that consumer spending to own Blu-ray discs was up 13.3% vs a dollar number that DEG doesn’t provide for the first half of 2011. Internet downloads failed to make up for the declining DVD sales, although the electronic sell-through category was up nearly 21.9% to $329.4M. That increase “underscores the expansion of the UltraViolet cloud-based system,” which had more than 4M accounts, DEG says.
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