MOVIE WATCHING AMERICANS are spending money on video streaming and downloaded film services, so much so that online sales there have overtaken physical ones.
Numbers from bean counters at IHS show that this will be the first year that online films and streaming services will take in more money than sales of DVD and Blu-ray discs combined.
These are legal services of course, and it is worth pointing that out if for no other reason than the fact that IHS keeps repeating it.
There will be 3.4 billion legal and paid for movies watched in the US this year, around one million higher than hard copy sales.
"The year 2012 will be the final nail to the coffin on the old idea that consumers won't accept premium content distribution over the Internet," said Dan Cryan, senior principal analyst for broadband and digital media at IHS.
"In fact, the growth in online consumption is part of a broader trend that has seen the total number of movies consumed from services that are traditionally considered ‘home entertainment' grow by 40 percent between 2007 and 2011, even as the number of movies viewed on physical formats has declined."
This is weird. We've heard the horror stories about so-called 'piracy' but they do not seem to be ringing true. We thought it was ruining businesses, but perhaps it's just nipping at their profits. Let's see what the experts say.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is telling us that global box office sales have increased by three per cent since 2010 and now tot up to $32.6bn. In China, where we thought eye patches and parrots are common, the market has increased by over a third.
"These numbers underscore the impact of movies on the global economy and the vitality of the film-watching experience around the world," said former US Senator Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the MPAA.
"The bottom line is clear: people in all countries still go to the movies and a trip to the local cinema remains one of the most affordable entertainment options for consumers."
The MPAA is one of the bodies that supported the Stop Online Piracy Act, and recently its chairman criticised firms that opposed it and accused them of seeking nothing more than publicity by muddying the debate waters.
"Some technology business interests are resorting to stunts that punish their users or turn them into their corporate pawns, rather than coming to the table to find solutions to a problem that all now seem to agree is very real and damaging," said Dodd.
"It is an irresponsible response and a disservice to people who rely on them for information and use their services." µ