My Two Cents

MPAA reports massive physical media sales drop, plus Disney+ details & Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

April 12, 2019 - 2:39 pm   |   by
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All right, we’re closing out the week with a trio of interesting stories... all of which have a long shadow.

First up is a report, from the Motion Picture Association of America, that reveals a shocking 50% decline in global physical media sales over the last five years. The market data comes from both the DEG (Digital Entertainment Group) and IHS Markit. The drop is in dollar amount, from $25.2 billion in 2014 to just $13.1 in 2018. And there is no sign whatsoever that physical 4K Ultra HD or any kind of 8K Blu-ray format is going to recover those losses. 4K, though popular with enthusiasts, is just 5.3% of current physical disc sales (regular DVD still accounts for nearly 60% of all disc sales worldwide). You can download the report here in PDF format.

This disc decline aside, overall home entertainment spending was up 16% last year, and the difference seems to be not individual digital media sales but rather cable subscriptions and subscriptions to online streaming services. The latter is obviously expected to continue growing in the years ahead, with Disney+, AppleTV+, and AT&T/WarnerMedia all launching new services. [Read on here...]

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The second bit of industry news we have, of course, is Disney’s rollout of the first big details about their forthcoming Disney+ subscription streaming service. It will officially launch on November 12 in North America and for just $6.99 a month (or $69.99 annually). And the plan is to launch internationally as quickly as possible, starting with Western Europe and Asia-Pacific in Q4 2019 and Eastern Europe and Latin America by the end of 2020. The service will feature 4K with HDR at launch, and will include new and legacy content from the Disney, Fox, Pixar, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and National Geographic brands. The service is aiming to have “7,500 episodes of current and off-air TV shows, 25 original series and 10 original movies and specials, 400 library movie titles, and 100 recent theatrical films” online in the first year. Also in the first year, all the Star Wars films will be available, along with the Marvel 2019 film slate. Day One, the service will also include the new Star Wars TV series The Mandalorian. Content will be viewable online at DisneyPlus.com, as well as via app on various game systems, and net-connected TVs and devices (like Roku, PS 4, etc). The surprise is the low monthly cost; $6.99 is essentially half the cost of Netflix. You can read more about this here at Variety. And here’s what it looks like…

Disney +

Our final story comes from Star Wars Celebration in Chicago, where today director JJ Abrams and Lucasfilm producer Kathleen Kennedy revealed the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode IX, which we now know to be called The Rise of Skywalker. Here’s the trailer...

I’m not sure what I think of the title, but there’s no denying the power of that trailer, which appears to tie all the way back to the classic and prequel trilogies. And this comes on the heels of word we first posted a week ago (and which other sites have picked up on in the last couple days), that more – and possibly all – of the Star Wars films could be coming to 4K. As we said a week ago, it makes sense, given that Episode IX ends the 9-film “Skywalker” portion of the Star Wars Saga, that Disney would want to put all of the films (including Solo and Rogue One) into a new box set on Blu-ray and 4K next year. This is one of those subjects were our industry contacts run deep and there’s much we just can’t say. And the reason we can’t is that many things are still in flux and being decided. But this much does seem likely, as we said a week ago: You can probably expect more Star Wars films to arrive on 4K in the next 12 to 18 months, certainly The Rise of Skywalker, probably The Force Awakens, and just maybe all the others too. We’ll post more when we can, but otherwise just know that a lot is still up in the air. So patience Padawans.

Now then, that is an awful lot to digest for one day, so we’ll let you chew on it over the weekend and then we’ll have more to say on Monday. Before we go, don’t forget that the final season of Game of Thrones begins on HBO this Sunday night!

Stay tuned...

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)

 

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