5.5MN make transactions as UK digital video booms during lockdown | Ratings/Measurement | News | Rapid TV News
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Data released by the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE) and compiled by The Official Charts Company (OCC) has shown that consumer spend on digital film to buy and keep grew by more than 87% during the lockdown period to a year-to-date value of £113 million to the end of June 2020.

TrollsWorldTour 3May2020In addition, further research from Kantar revealed that 1.8 million new customers either bought or rented digital content during lockdown, taking the number of consumers transacting digitally in that period to a record high of 5.5 million.

In the 12-week period from 28 March when the UK government introduced its Stay Home policy, OCC found that according to data (which only considers bought as opposed to rental product) digital purchase accounted for 51% of the market as consumers engaged with the depth of range of titles available through digital home viewing options, with 49% still attributed to sales of physical media such as DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD. While growth in digital ownership was already evident, with its share at 29% in the same period in 2019 and at 37% in the 12 weeks prior to lockdown, BASES said that it was clear that digital video has made huge gains at a time when people were forced to stay home.

While falling disc sales prior to the pandemic translated to an overall decline in the transactional video market, but the performance of digital transactional in lockdown has reversed that trend, with whole video market growth of 6.9% in value terms delivering a significant 21-point swing. As premium formats like Blu-ray and 4k UHD continued to appeal and an increased engagement from consumers with TV box sets on disc, the disc market maintained a predominantly flat value position year-on-year

BASE said that performance across the market could to some extent be attributed to a strong and engaging release slate, with a pipeline of theatrical successes becoming available for purchase on digital platforms, for many filling the gap left by the forced, temporary closure of cinemas.

During the lockdown period blockbusters like Jumanji: The Next Level, Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker, 1917 and Frozen 2 were joined on digital platforms by family-friendly releases such as Sonic The Hedgehog and Onward, as well as critically lauded films like Knives Out and Jojo Rabbit, with average volume sales for digital purchase rising from more than 350,000 units per week in the 12 weeks from the start of 2020 to more than 565,000 units a week in the 12 weeks from 28 March.

“With new release and catalogue content available instantly and without subscription, digital content has been able to play an important role for many in providing some much-needed light relief from the reality of lockdown,” commented BASE chief executive Liz Bales. “The fact that more than half of consumers anticipate they will maintain habits formed during lockdown such as engaging more broadly with digital delivery, underlines the need for the video category to optimise around the opportunity delivered by the growth it has seen…The video category at large has plenty to build upon even as consumer confidence and discretionary spend potentially become challenged as we look to the future.”

Kantar also found that across both digital purchase and rental new and existing customers contributed to some 7.9 million transactions, up more than 22% on the same period last year and more than the same period in 2018, which supports the story of the transactional video category returning to growth.

“The number of transactional VOD customers has actually doubled to the point that VOD accounted for more than 28% of the transactional video market in lockdown versus around 13% for the same time last year,” added Kantar strategic insight director Craig Armer.

“Across the digital video landscape the overall number of digital customers renting or purchasing is now at a record 5.5 million. While digital spend is growing across all age groups, it’s worth noting that VOD appeals to younger shoppers and digital purchase resonating more strongly with an older demographic perhaps more used to curating a collection.”

One area of innovation driven by lockdown and the response to the cinema estate being closed was the debut of premium VOD (PVOD) offerings, with titles earmarked for theatrical release appearing on VOD services early. Titles released in this model included Trolls World Tour (pictured), The Invisible Man, Emma, The Hunt and Military Wives, with PVOD offerings accounting for 6.2% of all digital rentals over the lockdown period according to data from Kantar.