Streaming growing, but consumers still love DVDs

Blu-ray logoOnline and digital video options continue to grow in popularity, but people still love their "old fashioned" physical discs. According to new data from market research firm NPD Group, the overwhelming majority of video consumers still watch and spend money on DVD or Blu-ray "more than all digital-video options combined," even though they are constantly faced with newer and more feature-rich alternatives.

NPD surveyed 9,636 US consumers over the age of 13 on their personal video usage trends between January and March of this year. Seventy-seven percent reported that they watched a movie on DVD or Blu-ray over that period of time, with an average of about four viewing hours per week. Comparatively, only 49 percent reported seeing a movie in a theater during that time, and only 21 percent said they used some kind of video-on-demand service through their TVs.

Those same consumers said that 78 percent of their video-watching budgets went to DVDs and Blu-ray as well. All forms of digital video downloads, paid video on demand, pay-per-view, and most forms of paid streaming only made up a measly 8 percent of people's video budgets, while Netflix got split out into its own category at 15 percent (possibly because most Netflix subscriptions include both DVD rentals and online streams).

Despite the fact that physical disc purchases and rentals fell by 9 percent year-over-year, NPD is confident that those awaiting physical media's death will need to be very patient.

"With the well publicized struggles of Blockbuster and retail video stores closing around the country, and with media attention increasingly focused on the newest digital home-video offerings, the value and importance of physical formats to the home video industry and to consumers is often overlooked," NPD analyst Russ Crupnick said in a statement. "Even though DVD sales and rentals are slowing, there is no evidence that consumers are abandoning physical discs for watching movies, even as the choices for viewing are expanding."

Still, we were curious about how much money is going toward standard-definition DVDs versus the HD hotness that is Blu-ray. NPD didn't give any specific data on the breakdown between DVD and Blu-ray discs, though NPD spokesperson Lee Graham did tell Ars that respondents still seem to favor what's old and familiar. A surprising 59 percent spent their disc budget on standard-definition DVDs, while only 11 percent went big with Blu-ray purchases.

Although NPD attributes this trend to people's comfort level with DVDs, there could be other factors at play that are keeping newer technology at bay. We recently discussed some of the major enemies of online independent TV, including broadband data caps and the lack of home theater standards. Add to that the fact that the movie industry would prefer people avoid the scary world of online and high-definition media—actively discouraging its use by way of heavy DRM and device restrictions—and it's no wonder "regular" users fall back on the familiar.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Blu-ray, DVD

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