06 Mar As Box Office Revenue Starts To Return, Billions Hang In The Balance As Studios Juggle Streaming With Traditional Sell-Thru And Rental Market [Deadline]
BY DADE HAYES
March 6, 2023 | Chuckle all you want about the last Blockbuster and its “be kind, rewind” smiley-face stickers. Nostalgic jokes aside, though, the arena once known as home video (digital sell-thru, rentals and even, yes, physical discs) remains a key variable in the Hollywood film equation — particularly now, as studios retool their streaming strategies and lean into the box office revival.
“It used to be fairly predictable – the cadence was familiar despite the differences between the films,” said Jason Spivak, EVP of Worldwide Digital Distribution at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, in an interview. “Now, it is very divergent.”
For many years, a top-level home entertainment exec at a different studio added, “Everyone followed the same formula. It was 74 days after theatrical when movies would go to sell-thru and then two weeks later on to rental. Now, with all of their different asset mixes and objectives, studios are all doing something different. It’s been very fluid.”
As Hollywood tries to regain its equilibrium, there is a good amount at stake. In 2022, sales and rentals across transactional VOD and disc and digital sales, brought in almost $6.3 billion, according to the Digital Entertainment Group, a consortium of studios, tech vendors, retailers and other stakeholders. Subscription streaming is a far larger line item now, thanks to the entry in recent years of Disney+, HBO Max, Paramount+, Peacock and others into the direct-to-consumer race against Netflix. Total SVOD revenue hit $30.3 billion last year, according to the DEG. SVOD surged 17% over 2021’s tally, while rentals declined 15% from last year and combined digital and physical sales dropped 8%.