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America Has Voted (Not For President Silly, Streaming Video!)

Americans have cast their votes, not at the ballot box but at the set-top box, and TWICE has declared a winner: streaming video.

According to the latest sales assessment from The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), a trade association for Hollywood studios, consumers spent more on subscription streaming services during the first quarter of the year than any other home entertainment format.

Total revenue from subscription streaming (not including streaming video-on-demand bundled with other services) was $1.4 billion for the three months ending March 31, an increase of 19 percent year over year.

By comparison, VOD rentals garnered $561.5 million, up 7.3 percent, and electronic sell-through generated $505 million during the period, for a gain of 4.4 percent (see chart, below).

Meanwhile, in the physical realm, DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals totaled $409.5 million via kiosks, $147.7 million via subscription services, and $140.2 million through brick-and-mortar stores. Total physical rentals reached $697.4 million, declining at the same 19 percent rate at which streaming rose.

Packaged media fared better when bought: Sell-through was $1.4 billion, but represented a 13.2 percent decline from the year-ago quarter.

Nonetheless, regardless of medium, consumers clearly prefer to view their content privately vs. the shared experience of a movie theater. Total U.S. home entertainment spending reached $4.6 billion in the first quarter, off 1.8 percent, compared with $2.9 billion spent at the box office, a decline of 10.4 percent.

Among the DEG’s 4K findings:

*More than 1.5 million 4K UHD TVs were sold in the first quarter, up 210 percent, for a total of over 7 million sets sold to date.

*Consumers purchased more than 80,000 4K UHD Blu-ray discs in their first weeks of launch, or double the number of Blu-ray Discs sold during their comparable launch period.

The DEG’s preliminary “First Quarter 2016 Home Entertainment Report” was compiled by DEG members, tracking sources and retail input. Final numbers will be released later this month.