Findings from IHS looking at consumer spend on movies and TV suggest a clear correlation between the launch of Netflix and a decline in video spending.
The IHS Technology report – Did Netflix Kill the Physical Video Market? – notes that before Netflix launched its streaming service in the US in 2007, spending on buying and renting movies and TV series on disc was falling by an average of 1.2 per cent a year. Since 2010, the year in which Netflix access became ubiquitous across the US consumer electronics sector, spending has fallen by an average of 10.3 per cent a year.
“The data shows that Netflix’s entry into a market has a noticeable effect on consumer behaviour, even in countries where they already had access to other streaming video services,” said Helen Davis Jayalath, senior researcher at IHS Technology. “Movies and TV shows are not only the biggest draw for Netflix subscribers, they are also the backbone of the home entertainment industry, generating 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the business in most countries.”
In the UK, sales of movies on disc have more than halved since the first SVoD services launched in 2008, with the steepest annual decline (-14.5 per cent) experienced in 2012, the year Netflix launched. The downturn in sales and rentals of TV series, traditionally an important genre in the UK market, has been even more significant. Not only have sales of box sets and other TV programmes on disc been falling by over 14 per cent a year since 2012, but rentals of TV shows are down by almost 75 per cent.
According to the firm, spending on Netflix does not make up the difference. “The year before Netflix launched its streaming service in the USA, consumers spent $20.9 billion buying and renting movies and TV content, the most ever recorded,” Davis Jayalath said. “But by last year, total spending on these two key genres, including via transactional and subscription VoD services, was down by 17 per cent to $17.3 billion.”
In the UK, Netflix’s arrival in 2012 was pre-empted by Amazon’s 2008 investment in (and subsequent acquisition of) local Streaming Video on Demand (SVoD) service LOVEFiLM, which was already taking its toll on physical video spending.
“British consumers have taken Netflix and SVOD to their hearts,” Davis Jayalath said. “Last year, they spent £1.8 billion on buying and renting movies and TV content, more than 26 per cent of which was generated by SVOD services.”
Despite this, total spending is still £82 million a year less than it was before Netflix launched and down over 20 per cent (£474 million) since Amazon’s investment in LOVEFiLM effectively kick-started SVoD in the UK.
According to IHS, the Australian market is similar to that of the US and the UK, so if Netflix puts the same emphasis on creating and acquiring local content, IHS expects it to be able to build a viable business. As seen in the US and UK, this is likely to negatively impact the physical sale and rental of movies and TV content.
“The key to success in Japan, however, is not US movies and TV shows, but domestic content,” Davis Jayalath said. “If Netflix can invest enough in original Japanese anime content to tempt consumers away from DVD rental it will have achieved something that has so far eluded not only the Hollywood studios but also a dozen other SVoD operators.”