According to trade body the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE), data from the Official Charts Company and IHS Markit suggest that consumer spend across the video category rose by 7.5 per cent in 2017, a third consecutive year of growth that brings the total value of the category to £2.69 billion (€3.03bn).
Ownership continues to be a significant driver to the video category’s ongoing success, with 38 per cent of the category’s value coming from people buying content (either digitally or on physical formats), and 62 per cent of people are now choosing to rent or stream their film and TV content by taking advantage of the range of content delivery options available to them. Within these figures, 51 per cent of transactional spend is still attributed to physical disc sales across DVD, Blu-ray and its more recent 4K UHD variant format which has benefited in 2017 from an uplift in the number of titles being released.
Digital video services continued to show strong growth in 2017, increasing 22 per cent year-on-year with the overall audio-visual industry growing 4.4 per cent across the year to £10.97 billion and reflecting a continued hunger for entertainment content in all of its forms across the physical and digital arenas.
Disney’s live action remake of Beauty And The Beast saw off all-comers to top the 2017 Official Video Chart, selling more than 1.55 million copies across physical and digital retail (including sales of the box set containing both the live action and animated versions) to become the best-selling video title of the year. Disney saw this success compounded by its continued stewardship of the Star Wars franchise, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in at a close number two, selling in excess of 1.38 million physical and digital copies.
Breaking down the format sales of the top two titles showcases the viewing decisions audiences are making, with 74 per cent of Beauty And The Beast’s predominantly family audience choosing to watch on DVD, whilst 13 per cent chose Blu-ray and 13 per cent opted to download and keep a digital version. Meanwhile, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story saw a much higher proportion of viewers (36 per cent) buying the standalone adventure on Blu-ray, with 51 per cent opting for DVD and a consistent 13 per cent again choosing digital download, lending credence to the fact that franchise and sci-fi fans continue to be drawn to the popular high definition physical format which now accounts for more than 14.5 per cent of physical sales.
Fittingly, Universal’s Bridget Jones’s Baby cuts something of a lonely figure in the Official Video Top 10 as the only romantic comedy to sell more than a million copies across physical and digital platforms in 20171. The rest of the top 10 meanwhile speaks to the ongoing popularity of original family adventures such as Warner Bros Home Entertainment Group’s Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them, Disney’s Moana, Twentieth Century Fox’s Trolls and Universal’s Sing, as well as continuing franchises such as Despicable Me 3 and Guardians Of The Galaxy – Vol 2.
In a year where wholly-new blockbuster IP again performed well, the popularity of these family and franchise titles saw every title in the top 10 sell more than 500,000 copies, with the top five each shifting more than a million units across physical and digital offerings. Moving into the top 20 creates a more nuanced picture of audience tastes, with original offerings such as The Girl On The Train (Twentieth Century Fox, distributing on behalf of eOne), Wonder Woman (Warner Bros Home Entertainment Group), La La Land (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, distributed by Elevation Sales) and Spider-Man: Homecoming (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) among the diverse range of titles performing strongly. Encouragingly, Warner Bros Home Entertainment Group has further cause for celebration as the year ends, with Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed Dunkirk selling more than 640,000 physical discs as the year drew to a close, amassing the third largest week one of 2017 in the process.
Further supporting the sense that family entertainment flew in 2017, each entry in the Official Children’s Top 15 sold more than 100,000 copies, ranging from the charming Ballerina from eOne and Twentieth Century Fox selling more than 168,000 copies, right through to the all-conquering Moana selling more than 1 million copies for Disney.
The 2017 chart was not just a story of film, however, with audience tastes continuing to be represented in all their forms. Micky Flanagan: An’ Another Fing Live took the crown for Spirit Entertainment in the Special Interest charts, dwarfing the sales of 2016’s winner in the process. In the music charts, Oasis documentary Supersonic (also eOne) saw off all-comers, Joe Wicks – The Body Coach Workout (BBC Worldwide) rounded out an incredible year in the Official Sports & Fitness chart. Pre-school titles such as perennial favourites Peppa Pig (Twentieth Century Fox / eOne) and Thomas And Friends (Mattel) also continue to deliver strong cumulative sales across their franchises as the pre-school DVD market remains robust.
Game Of Thrones – Complete Seventh Season, along with the Complete Season 1-7 box set, got off to a flying start even allowing for the fact it released later in the year than previous entries, selling more than 250,000 units and delivering more than £7.7 million for distributor Warner Bros Home Entertainment Group in the final weeks of 2017.
Indeed, George RR Martin’s world-beating series flexed its franchise muscles across the year, with current and previous seasons a constant fixture across the TV chart top 10 and combining to deliver sales in excess of 710,000 units, showing that the trials and tribulations of the people of Westeros continue to keep the British public gripped. The binge effect fostered by gripping must-see series such as Line Of Duty and Doctor Who also had a clear effect on TV sales, with both franchises performing strongly across the year for Acorn Video and BBC Worldwide respectively alongside a consistent performance from the critically-acclaimed Peaky Blinders, whilst non-Netflix subscribers also demonstrated an eagerness to catch up on The Crown, the home entertainment release of which was shepherded by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Genre TV such as The Walking Dead (eOne/Twentieth Century Fox) also performed well as transactional titles despite being available on subscription services.
Hollywood’s continuing love affair with the best of British talent shows no signs of abating, evidenced by the fact that half of 2017’s top 10 films were British productions, with Beauty And The Beast, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them, Bridget Jones’s Baby and Dunkirk all shooting in Pinewood, Shepperton or Leavesden or on location across the UK, as well as featuring prominent British talent such as Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne and Dan Stevens to name but a few of the UK stars contributing to video category success in the last 12 months. The success of British productions continues when considering sales of TV titles as well, with British gems such as Sherlock, Line of Duty and Game Of Thrones all featuring strongly too.
In the physical arena, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment once again dominated both volume and value market share in 2017, taking a 19.7 per cent share of volume and an 18.2 per cent share of value across the category. This was largely thanks to a diverse slate from Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures, including a strong mix of original content such as Sing and Get Out, the latest reboot of Baywatch, alongside returning franchises such as Bridget Jones’s Baby, the Fast & Furious franchise’s eighth outing and further entries from Fifty Shades Darker and Transformers: The Last Knight. Titles outside the new release schedule also helped drive overall success for Universal, such as Daddy’s Home and seasonal evergreen The Grinch, as well as the Nickelodeon franchise Paw Patrol, which sold near 500,000 units over the year. This was alongside key successes in Sport and Special Interest, such as Scarlett’s Superslim Me, the Mrs Brown’s Boys franchise and Conor McGregor: Notorious.
More good news for Warner Bros Home Entertainment Group, who led the Blu-ray market with an 18.5 per cent volume share and 21.5 per cent value share thanks in no small part to the combined success of Dunkirk and Game Of Thrones. Franchise entries such as Logan (Twentieth Century Fox) and Spider-Man: Homecoming (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) also helped the 4K UHD market in 2017, with 199 titles now available on the format. The 4K release of Blue Planet II took the number one spot for BBC Worldwide, further evidence that consumers are hungry for premium 4K content, and Dunkirk has amassed the largest week one sales for the format so far by shifting more than 16,000 units, becoming the fourth-largest 4K release in just two weeks in the market. Indeed, given that 4K UHD sales are rising within the context of a soft launch and without an industry-wide marketing push for the format, figures are incredibly positive, with a year-on-year sales increase of more than 279 per cent as this sector of the market looks to 2018 with anticipation thanks to a raft of content primed for ultra-high definition.
“‘Screen entertainment’ means so much more than it ever has done thanks to the wealth of choice consumers now have not only in how they watch content but also how they purchase it,” noted Liz Bales, Chief Executive, BASE. “In the context of this deepening choice, the extremely positive figures from 2017 showcase an array of good news stories.”
“Audiences are clearly embracing digital options and the freedoms they afford. At the same time, the strength of physical disc sales figures should not be underestimated – across the board there is a huge desire for event status titles, franchise collection and family-friendly entertainment. Alongside distribution, retail innovation, whether a focus on physical space or digital retail models, has a part to play; as consumers embrace the choice on offer, so the various component parts of the screen entertainment category must rise to the challenge of servicing and reflecting that choice,” she declared.
“If 2016’s live action remake of The Jungle Book showed that Disney can reimagine bona fide classics for a new audience, then 2017 was the year we really ran with that approach,” suggested Dean Pappadakis, Category and Commercial Director, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment.”Many would have considered the original, animated Beauty And The Beast untouchable and few could have hoped that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story would turn out to be the modern classic it now clearly is. Audiences embraced both titles and their enduring love for the respective source materials became a strength for these superb productions that have collectively gone on to tell a heartening story in terms of continued audience engagement across the video category as a whole.”
“As anticipated, 2017 has been another year of fast-paced, technology-driven change that has seen audiences continue to diversify their consumption,” observed Robert Price, Chairman, BASE / Managing Director Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment UK. “What has remained a constant within that change is the British public’s love of home entertainment in all its forms,” he added.
“The challenge going forward is to maximise opportunities for the whole industry and ensure audiences are catered for however they’re choosing to view the incredible line-up of film and TV content wrestling for their attention. This means working with physical and digital retailers to the best of our collective ability but it also means embracing and staying ahead of the curve as new technology beds in and develops.”
In terms of the relationship between technology and the home viewing experience, Lord Puttnam of Queensgate CBE, President of Film Distributors’ Association recently noted that ‘Home cinema’ had become “extraordinarily impressive, and was getting better every day”.
With the 4K revolution in mind, he also stated: “Consumers have been quick to upgrade to these significantly improved technologies. [During Christmas 2017] 4K TV sets are reported to be an especially hot ticket. They have quadruple the number of pixels of standard HD – and it shows! Add compact, greatly improved sound quality, and a smart stick, and you have a whole galaxy of content – movies and otherwise – to stream legally, in superb quality.”
With Sky having improved its high definition offering and with Apple’s iTunes also focusing on 4K delivery, in combination with 4K UHD sales, according to BASE, it is clear that 2018 will see screen resolution and viewer experience combine as an area of increased focus from distributors and retailers alike.
“2017 saw another year of strong performance from the UK home entertainment sector with growth rates continuing to climb; this year reaching 7.5 per cent,” reported Jonathan Broughton, Principal Analyst, Home Entertainment, IHS Markit. “Despite another year of decline in physical transactions, disc remains the second largest market segment; at roughly 70 per cent of the value of subscription. Importantly, the digital transactional side of the market experienced another year of double digit growth with ownership making up the lion’s share.”
“2018 will see higher resolution initiatives helping to push transitional average sale prices to new highs, especially in the increasingly competitive digital space, while in the subscription window increasing monthly fees are indicative of a growing, popular and healthy business model. A strong release slate, which includes: Blade Runner 2049, Paddington 2, Justice League and Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi should ensure that 2018 continues to see consumer spending on home entertainment,” he concluded.
Top five charts for each video format and genre (all © Official Charts Company)
Official Video Charts 2017
Official Video Chart 2017
(All Digital Retail, Blu-ray and DVD / All Blu-ray & DVD)
Official Video Chart 2017
(All Blu-ray & DVD)
Official DVD Chart 2017
Official Blu-ray Chart 2017
Official Film Download Chart 2017
Official Film on Video Chart 2017
Official Children’s Video Chart 2017
Official TV on Video Chart 2017
Official Music on Video Chart 2017
Official Sports and Fitness Video Chart 2017
Official Special Interest Video Chart 2017