DEG (The Digital Entertainment Group) has released figures for the home entertainment industry that points to a transition from physical media to digital.
While people generally spent less in 2011, movie lovers continued their love affair with Blu-ray, and seemed to have fully embraced digital distribution as a new way to get their movies.
Despite the quality of films on offer declining, at least in terms of financial value, by 8.6%, total spending on packaged media and digital distribution only declined by about 2%.
But delving deep inside the 2%, two different images start to appear. On one hand, spending on packaged media fell 13%, mostly due to declining DVD sales (Blu-ray spending rose 20%, and for the first time ever, exceeded the $2 billion mark), digital spending rose 51% to $3.42 billion.
Driving digital distribution was Video-On-Demand, accounting for more than half of the spending on digital media.
But that isn't to say that consumers will abandon discs anytime soon. As mentioned earlier, Blu-ray spending rose 20%, but the DEG also revealed that more than 40 million homes in the US now have a Blu-ray player, up 38% from last year. DEG also says that UltraViolet, the much maligned cloud based storage format launched last year, will actually help Blu-ray sales in 2012, with 100 titles to be released featuring support for the platform, helping to still keep physical media relevant in the age of digital.