Advanced Television

Data: UK home entertainment market at £4.4bn

February 1, 2023

By Colin Mann

Figures from the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE) and the Official Charts Company (OCC) reveal a dominant UK Home Entertainment category in 2022 with a value of £4.43 billion (€5bn). The total value of the UK Screen Entertainment category for the year was £11 billion, including Home Entertainment, Cinema, and pay-TV, which demonstrates 12 per cent YoY growth.

Top Gun: Maverick was the biggest selling title with 1.566 million sales across transactional formats. Ownership delivered 80 per cent of these transactions with 1.24m copies sold across the year, delivering £17.3 million in value. An additional 327,000 rental transactions (VoD) were recorded for the title from its VoD release in September through to the end of October. Its release on SVoD channel Paramount+ a few days before Christmas 2022 demonstrated a release strategy for this top-flight content that drove consumer engagement across multiple verticals.

The original Top Gun (1986) was the most rented title in 2022, with 488k VoD transactions, giving audiences a much-loved nostalgia boost as Top Gun: Maverick flew to £83.6 million at the UK box office, ultimately claiming the number one UK Box Office spot of 2022.

Spider-Man: No Way Home was the second biggest overall title in the UK following its premiere in 2021, with a total UK Box Office performance of £97 million, followed by 1.365 million sales across transactional formats, where more consumers once again opted for ownership with 915,000 sales across DVD, Blu-ray, Boxset and EST, delivering a total value of £12.4 million to the sector, coupled with over 450k rental transactions (VoD).

Spider-Man: No Way Home was a critical and commercial success for the UK category and a perfect example of an entertainment landscape that puts consumer choice first,” commented Robert Marsh, BASE Chair and Vice President – Commercial, Sony Pictures Entertainment. “Spider-Man continues to be a huge fan favourite, demonstrated by the phenomenal box office number it achieved across the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022, and is now one of the top five biggest UK box office titles ever. That platform of success helped deliver an equally impressive performance across the breadth of the UK Home Entertainment category. It was the fastest title ever to sell 500k units on EST in the UK, and the second biggest title of 2022 across all formats combined, featuring in the top five for every individual format chart, including an incredibly strong complimentary performance on both VoD and Blu-Ray. Spider-Man: No Way Home became available to SKY Cinema and NOW subscribers in July of 2022 offering consumers even more choice as to how to access the film, and appetite for transactional formats has continued, showing the enduring appeal of this franchise. It also spotlights the myriad ways that audiences can find their favourite films and shows across the first year of release.”

As the top titles show, New Release slate is incredibly important for Home Entertainment and (specifically) transactional success, and the quality and quantity of the slate is now given as the number one driver for audiences returning to cinema. The overall number of new release films reduced in 2022, with a 19 per cent dip YoY including DTV, coupled with opening week performance decline. However, there was a 30 per cent increase of films in cinemas YoY in 2022, where the average box office per film was 11.9 million, the largest average Box Office number for over 5 years. Independent award winner and Academy Award frontrunner Everything Everywhere All At Once (A24) took over £5 million at the Box Office in 2022. Other notable Independent Box Office performers were The Woman King (eOne), DOG (Entertainment in Video), Fisherman’s Friends: One And All (Entertainment in Video), and Orphan: First Kill (Signature Entertainment). Where catalogue sales on EST are pushed to pre-pandemic levels, at 57 per cent vs 53 per cent, driven by the strength of New Release, for Disc catalogue remains dominant, with a 66 per cent share vs a 55 per cent share pre-pandemic.

UK consumers had nearly 50 million subscriptions in 2022, a 6.4 per cent growth YoY, following the 28 per cent YoY growth in 2021, and the 44 per cent surge of 2020. That averages at 2.7 subscriptions per household, compared to 2.3 services per household in 2021.

The SVoD channel of Home Entertainment is now worth £3.8 billion in subscriptions in the UK, up 17.6 per cent YoY. An audience base of 16.24m UK households use at least one online video service, which is 56 per cent of homes, meaning that over 40 per cent of homes do not have SVoD. However, one in twenty households in the UK took out a new online video subscription in the last three months of 2022.

The top performing SVoD titles were reported for the first time via BARB. In 2022 Harry & Meghan (episode one) on Netflix was the top SVoD title, attracting viewing figures of 4.5m in its first seven days of release. The top title on Prime Video was Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power (episode one) which achieved week one viewing figures of 3.2 million. The top title on Disney+ was Obi-Wan Kenobi (episode one) which attracted an audience of 3.1 million in its first seven days of release. Notably these audiences are less than half the typical top-rated shows of traditional non SVoD channels such as Strictly Come Dancing (BBC), I’m A Celebrity (ITV), and many of the World Cup viewing figures released for 2022. Encanto was also the bestselling children’s title on transactional alongside its release on Disney+, demonstrating consumer appetite for ownership of titles featured on SVoD services.

In 2022 Netflix introduced new ad-tiered options to appeal to more consumers, with Disney+ announcing their intention to do the same in the future, creating dual and complimentary SVoD/AVoD models, while major new services such as Paramount+ launched also in the UK. The growth of advertising across digital media continues to increase in the UK, where three out of every four advertising pounds is spent on online formats.  The UK advertising market grew to £30 billion in 2021, £8 billion more than predicted, due to the pandemic and a shift to online advertising, and the value of the UK advertising market in 2022 was predicted to be £35 billion, reflecting the huge revenue opportunities for the new wave of FAST and AVoD channels.

FAST channels from providers including Pluto TV, Roku, Peacock, Freevee and TV Player continued their growth in 2022. The UK is the second largest FAST market in the world, runner up only to the US which currently accounts for 90 per cent approx. of the global FAST channel market, valued at just under $4 billion in 2022. Current forecasts place the value of the UK FAST market at $500 million by 2027. The success and growth of FAST channels allows distributors to maximise and reinvigorate their catalogue sales while the breadth of channels and content appeals to multiple different sections of the market. The largest average generational users of FAST in the UK in 2022 were millennials with a 33 per cent share. However, the largest individual generational share was on Pluto TV, where 44 per cent of users are Boomers/Seniors.

UK Home Entertainment is now a model of complementary channels and their successful co-evolution benefits savvy audiences,” noted Liz Bales, Chief Executive, BASE. “The top transactional titles are shown to perform across all platforms – 13 titles in 2022 sold over 100k units on both EST and DISC. After a period of phenomenal growth in the last few years subscription rates are clearly slowing, but the introduction of ad-tiers to traditionally SVoD services like Disney+ and Netflix demonstrates the agility of our category to provide consumers with more affordable options amid the ongoing cost-of-living challenges. It also creates a significant new advertising revenue stream outside of traditional subscription and transactional revenues for the platforms, bolstering total industry revenue, and allowing continued investment in future content, while driving the potential for further subscription growth by giving consumers more options. That said, a big Box Office number is still the greatest predictor of transactional Home Entertainment success, so it was fantastic to see Spider-Man: No Way Home and Top Gun: Maverick convert their outstanding cinema performance into the biggest Disc, Digital and VoD performances of the year, and to see the original Top Gun (1986) movie have such a huge result on rental, proving once again that audiences love nostalgia, and that digital transactional channels, as well as the growing number of FAST channels, are the perfect platforms to optimise consumer thirst for classic catalogue titles.”

The continuing growth of the Home Entertainment industry in the UK saw 51 titles released on Premium Video on Demand (PVoD) and/or Premium EST (PEST) in 2022, showing momentum for this recently introduced transactional model which premiered in April 2020 in response to the global pandemic. 2022 saw a 6.3 per cent rise on the number of PVoD and PEST titles released YoY, despite a broad reopening of the cinema estate in 2022. The PVoD and PEST model of release is projected to have added an additional 7 per cent to digital transactional consumer spend in 2022. The average release window from theatrical to PVoD and PEST is now 35 days from theatrical release. EST follows at 40 days post theatrical release, and Disc follows that, at 59 days. SVoD follows further down the window, as David Sidebottom, VP Insights at Fancensus, says: ‘Since the pandemic, the ‘1st Pay’ window i.e., the length of time between theatrical release and when a movie is released for the first time on a subscription service has fragmented significantly, varying across titles, studio, and platform. Typically for a major studio title this window now ranges from six-to-nine months in the UK.”

Electronic Sell Through (EST), often referred to by consumers as Download and Keep, remains the biggest transactional format, with a small rise of 1.1 per cent YoY, and a value of £231 million. However, there were 16.8 million EST transactions in the UK in 2022, a drop of 5 per cent on the 17.7 million in 2021. Video on Demand (VoD), often thought of as ‘rental’ by consumers, continues to perform an important role for the market as an entry point for digital consumption. Futuresource Consulting states that there were 33.6 million VoD transactions in 2022. The market is now worth £132 million, a 6.1 per cent growth YoY.

Warner Bros Discovery was the leading transactional Distributor for the second year running, across both physical (34 per cent value market share) and digital (17.8 per cent value market share). With the strong performance and extended digital window of Top Gun: Maverick, Paramount Home Entertainment performed well on digital to secure a 16.6 per cent EST market share. The power of the collective gave Elevation Sales a strong market share with 17 per cent of the physical market, with its disc distribution of Paramount Home Entertainment, Lionsgate, and StudioCanal, among others.

James Duvall, Principal Analyst and Head of Entertainment, Futuresource Consulting, said: “A return to a full year of new release content in 2022 has helped ensure the digital transactional market moves back into growth, even though UK consumers are struggling against rising inflation and increased energy costs. The latest blockbuster cinematic content, award winning originals and an ever-growing array of ways to watch movies and TV means that consumers have a rich vein of content available at their fingertips, evident by the YoY growth in spend across Box Office, pay-TV and SVoD.”

The success of Downton Abbey: A New Era shows DVD is alive and well, with 190k sales of the second Downton Abbey film.  Over 680 million DVDs have been sold over the last decade in the UK at an inflation busting price. Amid the ongoing constraints on the UK cost-of-living, savvy consumers are seeing at-home entertainment – both physical and digital – as a great value ‘night-out-in’.

Over 40 per cent of physical sales were on Blu-ray and 4k UHD, where Dune (2021) proved the most popular title, with over 121,000 units sold of the high-quality in-home format that most closely resembles the big-screen visual experience. The biggest selling Boxset on 4K UHD was the Top Gun Maverick/Top Gun double pack, with 10k units sold, delivering a combined Top Gun: Maverick and Top Gun Boxset total of 42.6k units, at a value of £1.33 million.

2022 was the largest year for both volume and value for 4K, at over £31 million, increasing its share of total disc spend to 13 per cent, growing 14.7 per cent YoY. Consumers purchased at least one copy of 910 titles on 4K in 2022, up from 746 in 2021.

The average price of a 4K UHD was £26, rising to £30.64 for classic content. This mark of value contrasts with the overall decline in the catalogue market, in the context of an increasing number of catalogue titles now available on the AVoD and FAST channels.  Despite the challenges to the visual physical market in recent years, 2022 saw a return to profit for collector and film-fan favourite HMV, with 157 new store openings, demonstrating the importance of fandom to the high-value section of the physical visual market. Action and Sci-fi were the dominant genres for 4K UHD Titles, where franchise titles represent 57 per cent of catalogue sales.

Kevin Dersley, Co-Vice Chair, BASE, and Managing Director, Elevation Sales, said: “The physical disc market was worth well over £200 million in the UK in 2022, proving there is still a significant demand and need for discs wherever consumers can find them. As the physical distributors for Paramount Home Entertainment in the UK, the huge success of Top Gun: Maverick on disc was of course fantastic to see, as was the performance on DVD of Knives Out, Wrath of Man, and The Railway Children Return. The quality and the value of the premium physical market is incredibly important to the distributors and fans alike, and the innovation we witness in the release of catalogue titles on premium formats is an area of the market that continues to drive demand. The continued importance and success of DVD across certain titles also demonstrates the importance of affordable ownership, which is a crucial part of the Home Entertainment spectrum, and certainly amid the cost-of-living challenges. Access to ownership and repeat viewing of those big new titles at inflation-busting affordable DVD prices, as well as on 4K UHD, is what enables our category to be inclusive and diverse and to serve as many fans, young and old, as possible.”

Game Of Thrones: House Of The Dragon ruled the TV charts, snatching the number one spot with its release at Christmas. Doctor Who also dominated the TV DISC chart with three titles in the top 10, including the last series outing for Jodie Whittaker in Doctor Who 13: Flux and Doctor Who: The Abominable Snowmen; animated episodes of the lost classic set to the surviving 1967 audio recordings.

Lesley Johnson, Co-Vice Chair, BASE, and Global Director, Home Entertainment, BBC Studios, said: ‘TV continues to deliver across multiple formats. The big new franchise titles do well on transactional, but it is innovation and super-serving customers that delivers high-performing titles in TV. The ongoing success of Doctor Who is no surprise to those who understand the fandom associated with the franchise. This helped BBC Studios achieve its 6.1 per cent share of the disc market in 2022, well above pre-pandemic levels (4.8 per cent in 2019). Three Doctor Who titles featured in the TV DISC Top 10 in 2022, including Jodie Whittaker’s final series outing in Doctor Who 13: Flux, as well as the classic title Doctor Who: The Abominable Snowmen with new animations set to the original audio recordings from the 1960s series. It is this creativity and investment that continues to attract fans to the big TV titles.”

The importance of the slate and retail landscape are key to the success and continued growth of Home Entertainment in 2023, as well as a frictionless supply chain, and smooth and operational and regulatory production environments. Gower Street is predicting a worldwide Box Office of $29 billion in 2023, compared to the $25.8 billion in 2022. The 2023 New Release theatrical slate includes Indiana Jones and The Dial Of Destiny, Hunger Games: The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes, Guardians Of The Galaxy 3, The Little Mermaid, Gran Turismo, John Wick: Chapter 4, Mission Impossible 7 and Barbie.

The New Release Home Entertainment slate will feature Avatar: The Way of Water, which has already amassed £71 million at the UK Box Office over the last five weeks. Audiences hungry for new content will be able to engage across all the screen entertainment touchpoints in the UK, including in cinemas, at transactional, on the high street, and across SVoD, AVoD, and FAST channels. The realisation of advertising revenues and title reporting across new and evolving formats, coupled with good trading conditions, will continue to enable the category growth forecast in the BASE Evolution of Home Entertainment Report 2020-2025 (September 2022) and deliver more choice than ever for audiences. There will always be challenges, as the production boom slows, and with the possibility of a US Writers strike impacting a still rebuilding post-pandemic new release slate. Key to future success will be understanding the behaviours of audiences amid established new, and emerging technologies.

Yasmin Nevard, Head of Insights, BASE, said: “BASE represents the total UK Visual Home Entertainment category and puts consumer behaviour at the heart of its insights. We witnessed consumers and the industry adapt together during the pandemic. That resulted in huge growth for the streaming platforms, and across digital download and keep (EST) and digital rental (VoD), as audiences realised how simple digital Home Entertainment is.  We believe that audiences and the screen industry will carry on adapting together in the future, as forecasts suggest that UK Home Entertainment will continue to grow, and as consumers continue to take advantage of shorter transactional windows to complement their engagement with the increasing number of SVoD, AVoD, and FAST alternatives.”

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