Digital film and TV sales in the U.K. soared to record levels during the 12 weeks of lockdown, new data released by the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE) has revealed.
According to the figures, compiled by The Official Charts Company, consumer spend on digital buys grew 87% to a value of £113 million ($145.6 million) during the lockdown period, from March 28 through to late June. Research firm Kantar also reports that 1.8 million new customers either bought or rented digital content during lockdown.
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The spike took the number of consumers buying digitally in that period to a record high of 5.5 million, compared to 14.7 million people who made digital purchases and rentals in the 52 weeks to Jan. 12, 2020.
The research attributes the strong performance to theatrical films being available for purchase digitally while cinemas remained closed during the pandemic, citing titles like “Jumanji: The Next Level,” “Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker,” “1917,” “Frozen 2,” “Sonic The Hedgehog,” “Onward” and “Knives Out.” Digital customers also bought classics including “Forrest Gump,” “Top Gun,” “Grease,” “Apocalypse Now” and titles from the “Harry Potter” franchise.
Sales of physical media such as DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD remained resilient, despite the closure of bricks and mortar stores, accounting for 49% of the market.
Liz Bales, chief executive at BASE, said: “The fact that more than half of consumers anticipate they will maintain habits formed during lockdown, such as engaging more broadly with digital delivery, underlines the need for the video category to optimise around the opportunity delivered by the growth it has seen.
“Historically, home entertainment has proved robust in times of economic crisis and the addition of a meaningful number of new customers to digital transactional, alongside the resilience of the disc market, means the video category at large has plenty to build upon even as consumer confidence and discretionary spend potentially become challenged as we look to the future.”
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