Spending on overall digital and physical home entertainment formats increased nearly 8% to $32.3 billion in 2021 from $30 billion in 2020, according to data released Monday by the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG).

The multi-industry association said the total was “a record-breaking period for home viewing as consumers limited out-of-home activity in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus.”

In the fourth quarter, overall consumer spending rose more than 11%, to $8.6 billion, over the year ago period, representing the strongest growth quarter of the year.

The DEG attributed much of that growth, in part, to an increase in the number of theatrical releases.

But, that’s not to say home viewing suffered. Box-office spending on the titles released to the home in the fourth quarter jumped more than 1,100% from the year earlier period, demonstrating consumers’ continued voracious appetite for fresh feature films, the DEG said.

“The impact of new theatrical releases, which are historically a key driver of home entertainment spending, on DEG’s transactional home entertainment tracking was muted, however, by the fact that many high-profile titles were released to the home in a Premium window. Premium
releases enjoy strong consumer interest but spending in this window was not reported through DEG in 2021,” the report said.

Demonstrating TV’s strength, Yellowstone Season 4 (available on Paramount+) was the No. 1 title of the year across all transactional formats. The DEG said the Yellowstone franchise generated more than $61 million in spending during the fourth quarter.

“Among the year’s best-performing titles across all transactional formats, excluding Premium, were TV, feature films, new release and catalog, including: The Croods: A New Age; F9: The Fast Saga; Free Guy; Godzilla vs Kong; Harry Potter – Complete 8-Film Collection; Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard; Monster Hunter; No Time to Die; A Quiet Place Part II; Venom: Let There Be Carnage; Wonder Woman 1984; and all four seasons of Yellowstone,” the DEG said.

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Even newer physical formats enjoyed growth in the period, “with consumer spending on 4K UHD Blu-ray discs rising more than 6% in the quarter,” the DEG said.

However, consumer spending on packaged physical media formats of all formats was down 14.23% to $595 million for the quarter and 19.53% to $1.97 billion for the year (not including electronic sellthrough).

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By Greg Tarr

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