New Movies Like ‘Lone Survivor,’ ‘Ride Along’ and ‘Son of God’ Help Spike Digital Sales in Q2

Consumer spending on home entertainment rises 2 percent from last year, according to new data from Digital Entertainment Group

The shift to digital in home entertainment picked up more steam in the second quarter of 2014, driven in part by a spike in online purchases of new movies, according to figures released Monday by the Digital Entertainment Group.

The growing practice among studios to let consumers buy digital version of hot new movies two weeks ahead of their availability on DVD has caught on in a big way. Digital sales for new theatrical releases rose 90 percent in the first six months of the year over the same period in 2013. Among the most popular titles were Universal’s “Lone Survivor,” Sony’s “Robocop” remake and Fox’s “Son of God.”

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That provided a big boost to the overall electronic sell-through spending numbers, which hit $671.4 million, a 37 percent gain over the $490.6 million generated in the first half of 2013, according to the DEG.

Total digital spending — on subscription video on demand, a la carte VOD and electronic sell-through — rose 16.7 spending to an estimated $3.6 billion from $3.09 billion, DEG numbers show.

Overall the second quarter was a strong one, with total consumer spending on home entertainment rising 2 percent over the same period last year. Total home entertainment spending for the first six months of 2014 were flat and came in at an estimated $8.58 billion, down less than 1 percent from the $8.65 billion consumers spent in the first half of 2013.

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Subscription video-on-demand — such as Netflix streaming — rose more than 26 percent in the first half of 2014, to $1.91 billion from $1.51 billion in the year-ago half.

Disc rentals at traditional video stores continued their freefall, dropping nearly 37 percent in the first half of the year to an estimated $346.8 million, from $515.2 million in the first six months of 2013. Disc rentals at kiosks — primarily those of Redbox — were off 3.1 percent to an estimated $925 million, from $955 million a year ago.