Harry Potters Magic Rescues The US Video Market in Q2

The DVD and Blu-ray Disc (BD) release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1” in April bolstered U.S. physical video sales following a soft first quarter, according to new IHS Screen Digest (NYSE: IHS) research.
U.S. DVD and BD consumer spending during April and the first two weeks of May posted a year-over-year increase of 1.6 %, thanks to a two-week sales explosion around “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part 1”. The strength of Harry Potter and a strong supporting cast of other titles produced two weeks of 30 % plus overall market growth. On that sales surge, the U.S. physical video market sliced its annual decline to a 14.9 % contraction by mid-May. “Harry Potter arrived just in the nick of time for the U.S. video market,” commented Tom Adams, principal analyst and director, U.S. Media, for IHS. “First-quarter sales reflected a release slate with relatively weak performances at the theatrical box office compared to those issued during the same period in 2010. The huge week-over-week gains that Harry Potter drove for the overall market show how important big hits are to driving increased traffic and overall sales, even though new-release feature films represent only 28 % of physical video unit sales.”
The bounce in physical video sales came just as the disc-sales market was due to come up against year-to-date comparisons that included the April 22, 2010, disc release of “Avatar,” the biggest box-office title of all time. In its first four weeks on the video market, “Avatar” sold through an estimated 10.7 million discs. None of the top April/May 2011 releases matched the “Avatar” numbers, but as a group, market leader “Harry Potter” and a strong supporting lineup managed hold sales in April to just a 9 % decline compared to the same period in 2010. The other top titles included “Tangled,” released March 29, which performed strongly throughout April, as well as “Tron: Legacy” and “Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader.”
The future is Blu
The Blu-ray format continues to expand its share of new hit sales, jumping from an estimated 27 %of total new-release shipments in 2010 to a projected 40 %by the end of this year. The new-release movies that make up 28 %of unit sales drive more than 43 % of total annual disc revenue much of which arrives in the fourth quarter. Although the first quarter box office results were also soft, second quarter results are improving compared to the same period in 2010.