Business Report: DVD Sales continue their slide

DVD was once considered the savior of Hollywood. When it exploded with record sales and runaway growth in the early 2000s, it became the cash cow for Hollywood, often bringing in more money that ticket sales from the initial theatrical release.

The top selling DVD/Blu-ray of 2010

The growth in DVD sales ended a couple of years ago, not coincidentally around the time the economy took a dive. And now, a report from SNL Kagan (which monitors and reports on media and communications) shows the decline has picked up momentum in the last year, dropping 44% in wholesale earnings. The top-selling DVD of 2010 — Avatar, now the highest-grossing film of all time in unadjusted dollars — sold fewer copies than the 2009 champion Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, a film I can’t imagine anyone wanting to watch again

That’s not necessarily the death knell for the format — $4.47 billion in wholesale income is no small thing — but it will result in more cautious release slates from the studios, especially when it comes to classics and catalogue releases.

On the upside, Blu-ray is growing at a rapid clip — up 53% from last year, according to SNL Kagan — but not enough to make up the losses from DVD. And digital downloads, which many believe will ultimately supplant DVD as the primary home video format, has not grown enough to make up the difference.

What does that mean for consumers who embraced the format? New Releases will probably continue to roll out unabated and we will continue to see deluxe editions of the evergreen classics (the Casablancas and Gone With the Winds and Ben-Hurs and such), especially as they get upgraded to Blu-ray.

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Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website ( I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View ( I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly,, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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