Movie rentals down 10% in first half of year


Consumers are renting fewer movies in total even as they make the switch to digital from physical media.

The total number of movies rented by Americans in the first half of 2012 declined 10% compared to the same period a year ago, according to a consumer survey by the NPD Group. The research firm did not provide information on the total number of movies rented.

Within that overall decline, rentals of DVDs and high-definition Blu-ray discs dropped a more sizable 17%. However, online rentals from video-on-demand outlets like Comcast and iTunes and subscription services like Netflix grew 5% during the January-to-June period.


Physical discs are still the dominant way Americans watch rented movies, accounting for 62% of rentals, NPD said. (Digital made up the other 38%.) Among physical rental options, kiosks like Redbox are the most popular, making up 45% of transactions.

Online, subscription streaming leader Netflix made up a hefty 66% of digital movie rentals. It was followed by video-on-demand from pay cable and satellite services, which accounted for 28%. Internet providers such as iTunes and Vudu were a relatively small 6%.

“Kiosk and subscription Internet streaming are generating strong user satisfaction ratings, including future rental intent, price and value, which is reflected in market-share gains,” said NPD senior vice president of industry analysis Russ Crupnick in a statement.


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