The Motion Picture Association’s annual THEME Report released Wednesday shows that the global entertainment market topped $100 billion in 2019 — the first time ever — thanks to surges in overseas box office revenue and streaming service subscriptions that pushed theatrical and home markets to a combined $101 billion.
The THEME report analyzes both theatrical markets and changes in home entertainment, as well as surveys of audience demographics for both sides of the industry. This year’s study expanded to include new data on streaming habits in the U.S. on mobile devices.
The home/mobile entertainment market expanded globally 14% year-over-year to $58.8 billion, with the U.S. portion of that total increasing 8% to $25.2 billion. This was largely driven by increases in subscriptions to online streaming services, which were up 28% globally and rose to 863 million subscriptions. This surge is expected to continue in 2020 as new services like Disney+ and HBO Max continue to enter the market. Physical media, meanwhile, continues to decline as global sales of Blu-Ray discs and DVDs last year totaled $10.1 billion, down 22% from 2018’s $12.4 billion total.
On the theatrical side, the domestic box office took a slight year-over-year drop at $11.4 billion; but overseas box office topped $30 billion for the first time, pushing global totals to a record $42.2 billion. That’s thanks in large part to a surge in Asian markets, which rose 4% to $17.8 billion. That’s a 22% increase from the $14.6 billion total grossed in Asia in 2015. China accounted for $9.3 billion in global grosses in 2019 while Japan contributed $2.4 billion and Korea passed the U.K. to become the third highest overseas market with $1.6 billion.
In the U.S., the MPA found that more than three-quarters of the population, or 268 million people, went to the cinema at least once in 2019, which is slightly up from 2018 levels. The typical moviegoer bought 4.6 tickets per year in 2019, with the 12-17 and 18-24 age groups registering above that average with 4.9 and 4.7 tickets per person respectively.
With the comparable lack of major global event films like “Avengers: Endgame” and “The Lion King” on the 2020 slate, box office totals for this year had been expected to take a cyclical drop. However, global 2020 totals are now expected to drop much more severely as the spread of the coronavirus has forced nationwide closings of movie theaters in major international markets like China, Korea, Italy and Japan. This has especially damaged the Chinese box office as lockdowns to contain the virus have effectively erased the profits that would have been earned during the critical Lunar New Year holiday season. Overall, the coronavirus is expected to cost the global industry up to $5 billion in lost revenue.