I’m proud to be part of this industry.
For too long, many have considered home video retailing to be a stepchild industry to theatrical distribution. That’s so, even though it was twenty seven years ago that consumers shifted their spending pattern to reflect how much they valued the ability to enjoy movies and television programming in their homes or on the go, when and where they wanted.
Don’t get me wrong – the theatrical experience is a special one. It’s a night out to enjoy a newly released creative art in a big screen and sound environment with others. That makes it a different experience from home viewing – not a better one and not a worse one – just different.
Home video has also allowed consumers to change the way they watch television programming. First, by purchasing entire seasons of television series on DVD so they could catch up, at their convenience, on shows they’ve missed or so they could re-watch their favorites. And, now, enabling them to “binge” watch series available through Over-The-Top Internet retailers and distributors.
Retailers - whether they are specialists or mass merchants, whether their stores are built of brick and mortar or exist online, whether they rent, sell , or provide subscription services, and whether they distribute content over the Internet or through physical media – offer the consumer the opportunity to enjoy movies and television content easily and conveniently. And, consumers pay well for this opportunity.
While we’ve watched our industry’s revenue dip from its peak, last year consumers spent $18 billion on home entertainment. Not only does that compare favorably to $10.8 billion spent in theaters, but consider the level of total consumer spending in other industries. The music industry leveled at $16.5 billion in spending last year. Other industries that are mainstays of retailing and consumer spending would be envious of the revenue we generate – sales of bottled water is a $15 billion industry, swimwear is $13.3 billion, cosmetics is $12.2 billion, perfume is only $5.2 billion, and the light bulb industry only generates $1 billion each year in consumer spending.
DVDs and Blu-ray discs are ubiquitous in grocery stores, mass merchants, drug stores, convenience stores and even in specialty chains like those in the home improvement sector and sporting goods stores. Entertainment specialty chains like Trans World, Hastings, Family Video and others continue to grow. And accessibility is expanded with online merchants like Amazon, subscription services like Netflix, and kiosks like Redbox. And those retailers distributing content through iVOD and EST represent half of all traffic over the Internet!
And consider the jobs that our industry has created. From the store or departmental clerks at retail and the code-writers that support the online retail and distribution services, to all those working in the home video divisions of the studios, and including all of the service and technology providers in post-production, disc manufacturing, packaging, shipping, merchandising, and more – the impact on US labor statistics is significant.
And how many DVD or Blu-ray players, and new 3D “smart” televisions, would be sold if not for the content that they play? How many people wouldn’t have purchased an iPad or a Kindle if they couldn’t access movies or television programming?
So, think about our jobs in this industry and let’s be proud of what we do. Consumers, colleagues and the economy depend on us.
Originally published in Home Media Magazine, June 3, 2013