The annual Theatrical Home Entertainment Market Environment (THEME)Report by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) confirmed the growing trend of viewers switching from physical media to streaming services.
Global physical sales, which includes DVD, Blu-ray, and UltraHD Blu-ray, came in at $13.1 billion in 2018, according to the THEME report, which acquired the data from IHS Markit and the Digital Entertainment Group. The figure is down 48% since 2014, when sales were $25.2 billion.
Despite the downward trend in physical media sales, global home entertainment consumer spending reached $55.7 billion, up 16% compared to $48.1 billion in 2017 and up 36% from $40.9 billion in 2014.
The growth in global home entertainment sales was due to the continuous growth of streaming service subscriptions, which surpassed cable subscriptions for the first time in 2018. While cable subscriptions declined by 2% in 2018 to 556 million, subscriptions to services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime went up by 27% to 613.3 million.
Cable, however, remained the video platform with the highest revenue in 2018 at $118 billion, up by $6.2 billion from 2017 despite the drop in number of subscriptions. Streaming services are actually ranked third in terms of revenue at almost $40 billion, as satellite was in close second at nearly $100 billion.
Streaming service subscriptions, as well as the revenue that they bring in, are expected to grow significantly over the next couple of years. Netflix, which is increasing its subscription prices this year, is leading the charge with shows such as Stranger Things, Black Mirror, and Haunting of Hill House, while Amazon Prime and Hulu are doing what they can to keep in step.
Consumers will also soon gain more streaming service options, one of which is Disney Plus. The service, which will reportedly launch in November with about 7,000 episodes of TV series and up to 500 movies, will be headlined by current and new content from Disney properties that also includes Marvel, Star Wars, and Pixar.
Another upcoming option is Apple TV Plus, which will launch this fall. The ad-free subscription service will feature on-demand online and offline content, including TV shows and feature-length films. Confirmed projects include a revival of the Amazing Stories series, behind-the-scenes drama The Morning Show starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, and post-apocalyptic See starring Jason Momoa and Alfre Woodard.