More than 32 million copies sold across all formats, with a value of £294.5m
Bohemian Rhapsody breaks the million mark as musicals dominate new release
Digital ownership shows volume growth of 17 per cent year-on-year
Digital value data published for first time: EST value grows 4.7 per cent to top £78.7m spend2
4K UHD disc sales account for 15 per cent of Blu-ray spend as customers continue to engage with premium formats
London, July 16, 2019: Half year figures released today by the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE), and based on data from the Official Charts Company, show that while physical formats still dominate, electronic sell-through (EST) transactions deliver strong growth, while across DVD, Blu-ray, 4K UHD and EST combined, more than 32 million copies have so far been sold in 2019, with a value of £294.5m.
Amidst continuing, rapid change in the home entertainment market, more and more new and returning EST consumers are opting to purchase films digitally, with the format enjoying 17 per cent volume growth across all product ages, from catalogue to new release, in the year to date. Marking the first-time digital transaction value figures are available, 2019 has seen a total EST spend of £78.7m year to date, equating to a 4.7 per cent value increase. With average selling price for EST titles down 10.7 per cent, this larger surge in volume growth is influenced by an influx of new users purchasing digital titles during cross-category industry campaign, Mega Movie Week which took place in January, and tells a story of an increasing number of new and lapsed users harnessing the opportunity to trial digital transaction as consumption habits continue to evolve.
Despite a tough trading environment, physical disc formats remain the first choice for many thousands of consumers, with a total of 22.3m physical copies sold at a value of £215.8m in the year-to-date, with DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD formats representing an average of 65 per cent of sales
At title level, disc remains the consumer’s go-to for ownership, and is the majority-selling format for 80 out of the top 100 titles, and within the top 10 best-selling titles of the year-to-date, physical outsells digital in every instance. Approaching a million physical copies sold, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment’s Bohemian Rhapsody has rocked the competition by selling more than 913,400 physical copies to date. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group’s A Star is Born follows, selling 531,900 copies on disc, as UK audiences indulge in their endless appetite for musicals, with musicals and music-led titles making up half of the top 10 best-selling disc titles. Long-standing franchises also continue to see physical success, with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group’s Wizarding World empire continuing to expand, with the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald selling more than 542,000 copies.
The combined volume of disc and digital sales has seen a decrease of 16 per cent year-to-date with customer spend down 17.4 per cent against a backdrop of evolving consumption habits, a decline in UK footfall across all retail categories and the broader issue of June seeing the lowest retail sales on record as consumer confidence continues to be challenged.
When looking at the top 10 titles on physical and digital formats combined, they are once again lead by Freddie Mercury biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody, selling a stellar 1.46 million copies year to date. From rock superstars to superheroes, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Venom engages comic book fans, amassing sales of more than 559,400, while families flock to The Walt Disney Company via all formats to purchase 540,900 copies of Mary Poppins Returns and Ralph Breaks the Internet scores sales of more than 275,000.
In the first six months of the year, customers have also continued to embrace premium physical formats, and distributors are answering the demand for 4K UHD content, with 380 titles garnering sales across the format so far this year, up from 250 by end of June 2018. The ultra-high-definition format continues its strong performance in 2019, increasing its share of Blu-ray spend from 12 per cent in 2018, to 14.8 per cent in the first six months of 2019, with initiatives run by retailers including HMV helping to ensure that consumers are continuing to engage with an ever-broader range of premium content, including classic catalogue titles that have been released in the format, such as Alien (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group).
The catalogue market, combining both disc and digital formats, continues to account for 58 per cent of all volume sales in 2019, and consumers continue to take advantage of the collection and curation that ownership allows when engaging with older content.
Consumers consistently turn to recent catalogue titles to catch-up on what they may have missed, and the impulse to own these titles has been a strong sales driver in 2019. Catalogue sales of The Greatest Showman (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment) showcase its ongoing popularity with audiences, with the mega-musical adding a further 337,000 catalogue sales to its staggering running total of three million since release, becoming the largest catalogue title to date in 2019 and the seventh best-selling title overall so far this year. Also released in 2018, The Walt Disney Company’s Avengers: Infinity War and Universal Pictures UK’s Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again both scored sales of more than 250,000 copies across all formats in the first six months of this year.
As well as recent additions to catalogue bolstering performance, distributors have also capitalised on a raft of popular cinema releases and TV premieres to boost the performance of older titles. Alongside the theatrical success of Avengers: Endgame, the Marvel franchise saw a significant uplift across its catalogue, with four Marvel titles making the top 10 catalogue titles so far this year. The theatrical release of Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum also boosted sales of John Wick Chapters 1 & 2, which entered the top 30 catalogue titles of the year to date. The airing of the final season of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group’s Game of Thrones had a predictably massive impact on TV catalogue sales, with Season 7 ranking the fourth highest catalogue title across all genres on value sales, and when combined with Seasons 1-7, Season 6, Season 5 and Season 1 box sets, these Game of Thrones catalogue titles have amassed spend of over £3.7m so far this year.
As well as the popularity of older titles, the sustainability of catalogue pricing is a further endorsement of the fact that consumers are still keen to buy into the category past the new release window. The average catalogue price has risen over nine per cent year-on-year, which equates to an average of £0.76 for every unit sold; Blu-ray sales have helped to boost this figure, with the premium format growing its share of catalogue sales from 20 per cent in 2018 to 24 per cent this year.
With new release home entertainment sales also largely dependent on theatrical box office performance, the smaller theatrical releases coming to disc and digital formats has also had an impact on home entertainment sales in 2019. Year-to-date, the size of box office films released on disc is down by 20 per cent year-on-year, and the effect of this is further compounded by a smaller number of releases in genres that traditionally convert particularly well on home entertainment, such as action/adventure and sci-fi.
Fortunately, this picture looks set to improve significantly over the next six months; theatrical box office performance year-to-date is down by only four per cent7 and therefore a much sturdier second half of the year is forecast for new release film on home entertainment formats. Between July and September, the forecasted slate is set to see an increase of 14 per cent, and with release dates yet to be set for some of the year’s biggest box office releases, this is likely to see a further increase into Q4.
Highlights from the exceptional roster of box office blockbusters set to release on home entertainment include the aforementioned return of Keanu Reeves’ legendary hit man in Lionsgate’s John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, Paramount UK’s musical extravaganza Rocketman, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Detective Pikachu and Shazam!, Universal Pictures UK’s Yesterday, Fast & Furious: Hobbs and Shaw and The Secret Life of Pets 2, and The Walt Disney Company’s Captain Marvel, Dumbo, Aladdin as well as the record-breaking Avengers: Endgame, which is expected to replicate its theatrical success on when it arrives on digital and physical formats from September. Some of the UK’s most talked-about TV is also set to release in the latter half of the year, including Chernobyl (RLJ Entertainment), Killing Eve Season 2 (Universal Pictures UK), The Walking Dead Season 9 (eOne via Universal Pictures UK), and the headline-grabbing final season of HBO’s Game of Thrones (distributed by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group).
Liz Bales, Chief Executive at BASE, said: “Notwithstanding an extremely challenging retail landscape across many categories as we reach the halfway point in 2019, consumers remain wedded to ownership in many cases, with the substantial growth of digital transaction and the enduring strength of physical disc sales testament to the integral part that collection and curation plays in all of our leisure time. The standout success of titles like Bohemian Rhapsody shows that even in the context of a wealth of options vying for that leisure time, high quality content continues to excite and inspire home audiences to bring their favourite titles home on both digital and physical formats. Consumers and our colleagues across the category have much to look forward to with an extensive slate of stellar content set to release in the next half of the year.”
 Official Charts Company
 EST value data is backdated to include 2018 data, allowing for growth comparison.
 Based on week one performance of new release titles year-to-date
 Title level digital data isn’t available YTD for Warner Bros. titles due to being suppressed under the 3-retailer rule.
 BFI box office figures
Statement looks at owned content only.