Prepare yourselves to explain what "The Cloud" is to all your elder family members because DVDs are going the way of the dinosaurs.
Variety has alerted us to PricewaterhouseCoopers's new study that shows box office and digital revenue is projected to rise steadily over the course of the next five years, while the sales of DVDs--as well as other disc formats--are predicted to fall drastically. This study posits that the sale of streaming video titles will exceed the sale of physical DVDs as soon as 2016. Which means, DVD's days are numbered.
DVD sales saw a 28% drop last year, making $12.2 billion. This total only is expected to reach $8.7 billion by 2018, a time at which electronic home video (streaming titles or digital downloads) are anticipated to be the highest-earning element of filmmaking. Within five years, digital video profits are expected to leap from 2014's projected $8.5 total to $17 billion. Basically, PwC projects that by 2018, digital video will be earning distributors more profits than movies' theatrical box office will.
However, PwC isn't calling theatrical releases obsolete--not just yet, anyway. Despite some doomsayers insisting the rise of digital video is luring people away from movie theaters, PwC's study declares ticket sales will climb 15.9% over the next half decade, but that will be in part because of ticket prices rising. By their estimate, the cost of a movie ticket will rise from an average of $8.89 to $9.81 by 2018. Notably, both distribution to China and 3D releases were meant as ways to bolster box office performance, but both are being met with challenges.
As far as China is concerned, studios are confronting several obstacles, including censorship, a cap on American films accepted annually, the rise of China's domestic film industry, and rampant video piracy. Regarding 3D, Hollywood's obstacle is essentially that audience enthusiasm for it is dwindling. So, studios are now responding by offering 20% less 3D titles than they did in 2011.
While the way consumers buy movies is changing, the desire to buy versus rent is still a strong one in this digital video climate. And the plus side from those producing titles is that there is far less overhead that goes into making a movie buyable on digital services as opposed to printing and publishing scads of DVDs and cases.
Ultimately, we're by and large investing differently in our love of movies. Now instead of rushing out to get an adored movie on DVD or Blu-ray, more and more are just buying a digital file with a click of a button on iTunes or Amazon. As I write this, I look up at my personal collection of DVDs, which fill nearly a whole wall in my living room. To think, five years from now this will be as laughable a site as the walls of discarded VHS tapes found at any thrift store.