Consumers continued to up their spending on movie and television content during the first quarter of 2019, with dollar totals reaching $6 billion, up 6.4% from the $5.7 billion tallied over the first three months of 2018, according to data released by the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), Tuesday.

According to a statement from the organization, 2019 first-quarter number did not even include the take over the Easter holiday, which is a traditionally strong period for entertainment sales, and was recorded in the numbers for Q1-2018.

The DEG data tracked digital transactions through electronic sell through (EST) and video on demand (VOD), which helped counter declines in the sale of physical discs. The DEG said the theatrical product EST was especially strong, rising nearly 14% in the quarter from a year earlier.

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Another good sign: the report found continued significant growth in sales of 4K Ultra HD hardware products, with an estimated 53.4 million households, an increase of 55 percent versus last year, and 14 million 4K UHD Blu-ray player households, an increase of 63 percent over last year.

Other key findings in this year’s Q1 period included:

• A 6% increase in U.S. home entertainment spending amid a nearly 20% in box-office performance for the films released in the period.

• Subscription streaming rose 21% from a year ago, with numbers reflecting revenue from services specializing in delivering films and TV shows over the internet such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, among others.

• Overall EST spending rose nearly 7 percent in the quarter compared to the year earlier period, with the strong theatrical sales more than off setting a drop in the sale of television product. VOD was up 2 percent as demand for theatrical product remained strong.

By Greg Tarr

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