Figures released by industry trade body the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE) and based on data from the Official Charts Company and Futuresource Consulting, show that the UK home entertainment market grew by 10 per cent in 2018, bringing the total value of the category to £2.34 billion (€2.6bn).
Reflecting the abundance of choice now on offer to audiences, some 63 per cent of consumers now choose to rent or stream film and TV content, while ownership remains a significant contributor to the market’s success, with 37 per cent of category value generated by people choosing to buy and own content either on disc or download.
Considered against a backdrop of an undoubtedly challenging broader high street trading environment, 59 per cent of transactional spend is still attributed to physical content with DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD Blu-ray discs continuing to be a key driver across the market as a whole. The strength of new release film in particular is also driving performance in other areas, as evidenced by the performance of original soundtracks across the music category throughout 2018.
The growth of digital transactional has surpassed all expectations in 2018, reaching a total market value of £400 million, and EST (Electronic Sell-Thru) film sales delivering a staggering 36 per cent growth year-on-year. The Greatest Showman (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment) has become the largest digital release to date, selling in excess of 770,000 digital copies since releasing in April. Other major titles helping to drive the growth of digital this year include Avengers: Infinity War (The Walt Disney Company), selling near 400,000 copies, with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) both selling in excess of 270,000 digital copies each.
Taking centre stage as the best-selling title of the year, the juggernaut that is The Greatest Showman has sold in excess of 2.68 million copies, more than doubling the sales of the nearest contender on the combined chart and with 72 per cent of those sales coming from physical formats. Reflecting the public’s excitement for the home entertainment release, the film took the number one spot in the Official Charts Company’s inaugural Official Film Chart, the world’s first weekly chart to combine physical and digital film sales. Having consistently delighted audiences since its digital release at the end of April, the circus spectacular has yet to drop lower than fifth place in its 36-week spell in the combined chart.
After Hugh Jackman warmed up the UK’s vocal cords, consumers proved their appetite for musicals hadn’t been sated, and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) performed the remarkable feat of ending the year in second place in the combined format chart in spite of its late November release date, with 86 per cent of those sales (1.12 million copies) coming from disc formats. Indeed, the nation’s love of a good song and dance was felt throughout the catalogue market too, with Lionsgate Home Entertainment’s La La Land distributed by Elevation Sales) performing strongly more than 18 months after its home entertainment release.
The success of fan-favourite franchises shows no sign of slowing down, with the top 10 film franchises of the year growing 17 per cent compared to 2017. Marvel fans showed their buying power, launching The Walt Disney Company’s Avengers: Infinity War, Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther to superhero success, selling over two and a half million copies combined. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment harnessed the star power of Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black to reboot a classic in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, selling a total over 800,000 copies across physical and digital format.
It’s not just action-led franchises and musicals drawing the crowds, with family entertainment also delivering strong performances throughout the year. Paddington 2 (Studiocanal, distributed by Elevation Sales) and Peter Rabbit (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) lead the charge, landing at numbers five and six respectively in the combined format chart, showing that much-loved family properties can more than hold their own in a category currently dominated by superheroes and show-tunes. Shedding some light on family viewing habits, more than 74 per cent of purchasers bought Paddington 2 on DVD, helping Britain’s favourite marmalade-munching bear to reach number three in the standalone DVD sales chart.
Taking a closer look at the family-friendly releases of 2018, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment tops the children’s animated film chart with Peter Rabbit, a top performer for the studio with sales of 900,000 across all formats. Disney’s animated offerings have also performed strongly; Incredibles 2 flew in to the Children’s animated film chart at number two after a November release, ahead of Coco at three, and 2017 hit Moana at four. In a sea of CGI animation, StudioCanal’s Early Man (distributed by Elevation Sales) proved that Aardman Animation still delights audiences and that stop-motion is not a relic of the stone-age, charting at number five in the children’s animated film category.
Outside of film, tween idol JoJo Siwa takes the crown in the music chart with My World (Paramount Nickelodeon), a documentary charting the singer, dancer and social media sensation’s rise to fame. Celebrating a career four times longer than Miss Siwa’s life so far, Spirit Entertainment’s Cliff Richard: 60th Anniversary Concert follows closely in second place.
In the special interest chart, and with 90 per cent of sales coming from physical formats, Kevin Bridges: Brand New Tour – Live (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) sold 213,000 physical and digital copies in just four weeks (including box set sales), seeing off competition from a host of new British comedy titles such as John Bishop: Winging It – Live (Spirit Entertainment), Sarah Millican: Control Enthusiast – Live (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) and Joe Lycett: I’m About to Lose Control (Spirit Entertainment).
Sports and Fitness
TV Presenter Davina McCall flexes her muscle leading the sports and fitness top 10 with Davina: Toned in 10 (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) fighting off competition from Joe Wicks and Darcy Bussell. Standing out in a crowd of home workout titles, Daring to Dream: England’s Story at the 2018 FIFA World Cup (Universal Pictures home Entertainment) ends the year at number five, and WWE: Royal Rumble 2018 (WWE, distributed by Fremantle Media) enters the ring at number seven.
The tremendous film success of Peter Rabbit reminded consumers of the charming world of Beatrix Potter (Abbey Home Media), whose non-film franchise jumped up 17 places from 2017 into the Children’s top 10. A raft of evergreen kids’ properties continue to perform well across their respective franchises, with eOne’s Peppa Pig (distributed by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment) delivering strong sales, and the Batman franchise (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group) delighting kids and adults alike, moving up 22 places into the top 10 chart thanks to the release of Batman: The Complete Animated Series, a 109 episode box set.
Despite a lack of new releases out of Westeros, Game of Thrones (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group) conquered the 2018 TV charts, with The Complete Seventh Season selling more than 160,000 copies (including box sets) to top the disc chart, and overall franchise sales totalling more than a quarter of a million copies. BBC Studios’ critically–acclaimed Peaky Blinders and Blue Planet properties continued to sell consistently, and the excitement around the Doctor’s recent regeneration has caused fans to reflect on the past, with Classic Doctor Who climbing five places to number five in the TV franchise chart.
In a year that saw millions tune into Royal Wedding coverage, UK consumers proved their continuing fascination with the House of Windsor, with both seasons of The Crown (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) landing in the top five TV titles of the year; including box sets, Season Two selling more than 90,000 copies at number three and Season One comes in at number four with 81,000 copies.
Universal Pictures continued its reign as the leading distributor by volume and value share, taking a value share of 18.4 per cent across disc formats, and a volume market share of 20.1 per cent across both disc and digital formats. Thanks to a diverse slate across both Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures, and benefitting from Dreamworks’ back catalogue, key successes for the studio include original titles such as Darkest Hour, royal drama Victoria and Abdul, and one of this year’s most talked-about horror releases, A Quiet Place. Franchise properties also performed well for the studio, with much-anticipated sequels such as Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Tom Cruise’s sixth outing in Mission: Impossible – Fallout (Paramount Pictures, distributed by Universal), and the final chapter for Mr. and Mrs. Grey in Fifty Shades Freed all performing strongly for the major. Catalogue titles also saw continued success, with two 2017 releases from animation house Illumination, Sing and Despicable Me 3 making the top 10 children’s titles of the year. Outside of film, Mrs Brown’s Boys: Christmas Surprises performed well in the TV chart, and capitalising on the UK’s ongoing penchant for musicals, catalogue musical theatre titles Cats, Miss Saigon and Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat also landed in the top ten music chart for the year.
The Walt Disney Company also had a stellar year, leading the way in the Blu-ray market with more than 24 per cent volume share and 26 per cent value share thanks in no small part to the performance of the studio’s continuing franchises. Within that, Disney also topped the 4K UHD chart, with half of the top 10 best-selling ultra hi-def discs in 2018 belonging to either the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the Star Wars franchise and with Avengers: Infinity War and Star Wars: The Last Jedi taking first and second place respectively.
An increasing proportion of consumers are seeking out premium disc formats, with Blu-ray accounting for 24.3 per cent of physical disc market value. The average selling price of Blu-ray discs has increased year-on-year by 5.3 per cent, attesting to the fact that consumers are willing to invest more in a high-quality home entertainment experience. Serious film and TV collectors’ appetites for restored versions of catalogue classics is seen in the continued success of Arrow Films’ Blu-ray remasters of titles such as Big Trouble in Little China, which performed strongly for the indie across the year, and BBC Studios’ successes with Classic Doctor Who that has seen classic episodes of the sci-fi show lapped up by fans.
Within the Blu-ray market, 4K UHD is excelling, with more than 330 titles currently available on the super high-definition format and 4K disc sales now representing 13 per cent of total Blu-ray spend. As one might expect, film and TV titles known for their cinematic quality see an even higher share, including Blade Runner 2049 (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment), with 27.0 per cent of Blu-ray value generated by 4K sales and Ready Player One (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment) where 4K represents 20.2 per cent of Blu-ray value.
Ryan Reynold’s unconventional superhero scored impressive ultra hi-def sales in Deadpool 2 (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment), Paramount Pictures’ Mission: Impossible – Fallout (distributed by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment) is enjoying a robust performance following a December release and The Greatest Showman, coming in at number six in the UHD chart, shows that titles across the category are benefitting from the strength of the 4K market.
The success of the format looks set to continue as an ever-increasing number of film fans reap the benefits while in search of the ultimate home viewing experience. Indeed, speaking at the recent 4K UHD Summit held by the Digital Entertainment Group in Los Angeles, acclaimed director Christopher Nolan said: “[4K UHD] really puts us in a position where we can get closer and closer to a theatrical print in the home.” He added: “It’s fantastic for the filmmaker to have a physical media that eliminates the variabilities, the compression and so forth. That’s the gold standard that streaming is going to have to reach’”
“The third consecutive year of growth in the video category underlines the fact that audiences remain engaged with a broad variety of home entertainment content and format options,” noted Liz Bales, Chief Executive, BASE. “This serves as a testament to the innovation and energy that continue to drive the home entertainment category even as the high street retail environment presents clear challenges in some areas.”
“Today’s customers enjoy a multitude of options when it comes to keeping themselves entertained and clearly continue to find a huge amount of relevance in the video category which, more flexibly than ever before, caters to every need; whether that is watching on the go, building a digital library or securing the absolute best viewing experience premium formats now guarantee. We face into the New Year with a clear desire to build on successes but also to ensure that the degree of choice available remains one of the category’s great strengths,” he concluded.
“Across 2018 the video category has faced into and embraced an unprecedented degree of change and consolidation, something that has been demonstrated clearly over the Christmas trading period,” advised Robert Price, Chairman, BASE / Managing Director, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment UK. “Against that backdrop, the category has seen an array of powerful performances, with the success of The Greatest Showman and an impressive list of family and franchise big hitters demonstrating continued audience engagement with owned media. That this continues to be the case as audiences exercise more choice than ever before only speaks to the strength of the content being distributed and the public’s hunger for it.
“As habits continue to change, it is fortifying to note the huge increase in audience engagement with digital delivery in the last 12 months, and in the continued strength of premium formats such as Blu-ray and 4K UHD. That these formats performed so robustly in 2018 is demonstrative of the fact that audiences continue to seek out the very best ways of viewing the content they love. 2019 will no doubt bring with it further industry changes, but across physical and digital formats the video category continues to deliver the gold standard audiences love and that’s the message we must all deliver, working across the category with retail partners and broader supply chain to ensure we do.”
“As the industry continues to evolve and consumers have more choice than ever as to how to enjoy our content, it’s positive to see that the appetite for transactional home entertainment is still strong,” remarked Ian Foster, Managing Director, NBCUniversal. “2018 has seen some great results both for Universal and across the market, which demonstrates the ongoing resilience of the sector.”
“Highlights across Universal’s 2018 diverse slate include the performance of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Mission: Impossible – Fall Out across both physical and digital formats. The performance of Scotland’s biggest comedy export Kevin Bridges’ new live show proves that the special interest market is still alive and kicking and after many years as a perennial seasonal catalogue title for physical, the original Grinch has become a success for digital transactional.”
“The Greatest Showman’s performance has proven to be as spectacular as the show itself,” commented Mark Horton, Marketing Director, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment UK. “It is the standout home entertainment performance of 2018 and has delivered the highest combined conversion of any movie over £15 million box office in the last four years. It is the UK’s biggest selling digital movie of all time, and continues to feature in the top of the UK charts seven months after release. The success of the title is testament to the creativity, commercial prowess and passion of everyone at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment UK. A brilliant performance by a brilliant team.”
“Disney’s slate in 2018 has included many of the most iconic, category-driving franchises out there, with the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the Star Wars franchise in particular continuing to resonate with audiences selecting content for home viewing,” said Dean Pappadakis, Category and Commercial Director, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. “Within that context, it’s encouraging to see that engagement with premium formats like 4K UHD, delivering the best possible home entertainment experience, continues to grow. As audiences curate their physical and digital libraries, this continued engagement is a positive for the industry as a whole and one we must collectively continue to drive into 2019 and beyond.”
“The UK transactional digital video exceeded expectations in 2018, cementing its position as a global leader in this sector,” reported David Sidebottom, Principal Analyst, Entertainment, at Futuresource Consulting. “EST movies have excelled throughout the year, as consumers become increasingly familiar with the concept and service provider competition fuels purchases. iVoD (movie rentals via online services) has also witnessed increased momentum in 2018, growing by over 20 per cent, with an additional 4 million smart TVs and media streamers in UK homes helping drive uptake. This strong overall growth is even more impressive given the continued proliferation of subscription video on demand services, demonstrating that transactional services will continue to play a major role in consumer’s video entertainment consumption moving forwards.