Updated on May 16, 2023
Media analysis group DEG recently released its report on US home video spending in 2022. In spite of many media conglomerates’ recent problems, consumer spending on digital and physical media was up 11% from 2021, totaling $36.6 billion. Most of the spending was driven by subscription streaming services, totaling over $30 billion.
2022 US home video revenue
The main 2022 US home video revenue figures, organized by category, are below, followed in parentheses by the percentage up or down from 2021.
- Subscription streaming: $30.3 billion (up 17.3% from 2021)
- Digital sales (“electronic sell-thru”): $2.5 billion (up 1.7% from 2021)
- Digital rentals (“video on demand”): $1.7 billion (down 14.1% from 2021)
- Physical media sales: $1.6 billion (down 19.8% from 2021)
- Physical video rentals: $502.4 million (down 16.7% from 2021)
- Total: $36.6 billion (up 11.4% from 2021)
By percentage of overall revenue:
- Subscription streaming: 82.8%
- Digital sales (“electronic sell-thru”): 6.8%
- Digital rentals (“video on demand”): 4.6%
- Physical media sales: 4.4%
- Physical video rentals: 1.4%
Unsurprisingly, streaming continues to be the dominant home video format; the “streaming wars” are being carried out for a reason. Even if, despite all the hype, most of the dominant services in the United States are still the “classic” ones—Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video—plus newcomer Disney+.
As for the other formats, the only other rise in revenue is, interestingly, in digital video sales, i.e. buying films and TV shows from iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and the like. Said sales now eclipse physical media sales. While I feel digital rights management (DRM) and store lock-in are still concerns, the service Movies Anywhere helps with digital movie purchases. Unfortunately, DRM and store lock-in concerns remain for TV shows, which aren’t carried by Movies Anywhere. DEG notes that what’s popular in TV and movies each year does affect sales.
Meanwhile, physical media continues to decline in sales, and especially as rentals. Rentals only make up half a billion in revenue; I assume at this point, physical media rentals are driven by Redbox kiosks, Netflix’s still-existing DVD rental business, and whatever mom-and-pop video rental stores remain. Still, physical and digital video sales show actually owning media isn’t completely dead yet, even if physical media sales and rentals now make up about 11% of all home video revenue. The recent content purges led by HBO Max (and also a few other services) as a cost-cutting measure could spark a renewed interest in actually owning some of your favorite media. (It also means saving money by subscribing to fewer streaming services.)
Ad-supported streaming services aren’t included in the above, but DEG reports that revenue from such services totaled $16.8 billion in 2022. These include free, ad-supported services like Pluto TV and Tubi, as well as the ad-based tiers of Hulu, Paramount+, Netflix, etc. Given these services’ popularity with both media companies (providing a cheap source of ad revenue) and consumers (free or cheap viewing options), I assume there’ll be continued growth in this category in the future.
“DVDs” by blmurch is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (Flickr / cropped from original)