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Buying, renting videos by title is not making the leap to digital

August 26, 2016 | By DCN

“All-access” subscription services are displacing spending on individual movies. According to a study by GfK, the desire to seek out and purchase content purposefully is giving way to a subscription mindset in a digital world. With so much content now available at will via online and subscription video services, ownership and renting of individual titles is becoming increasingly rare.

However, the report, offered as part of GfK’s The Home Technology Monitor™, shows that many consumers continue to prize their DVDs and other physical media, with their “Director’s Cuts,” audio commentaries, and other special features. They find that members of this viewer segment are less likely to add to their video libraries with intangible digital copies, suggesting that marketers need to be more proactive in understanding and reaching out to videophiles.

According to the study, less than half (46%) of consumers say they have ever purchased or rented a digital-only copy of a TV program or movie, compared with 86% who have ever bought or rented a DVD or Blu-ray disc, and 78% for VHS tapes. Among “digital-never” consumers – those who have never bought or rented a digital program or movie – 70% have bought or rented a DVD or Blu-ray disc, and 68% have done the same with a VHS tape.

In the study, at least two thirds of “digital nevers” mentioned the availability of an SVOD service as an important reason for not buying digital copies of individual titles. Key consumer concerns about digital-only formats include difficulty of use, inability to access all content across all devices, and need for an Internet connection to view.

Among those who do rent digital movies, 33% do so monthly, compared with a 60% frequency for those who rented VHS or disc movies in the past. Not only are consumers reporting fewer overall digital transactions, but also less frequency among those who are buying digital video.

The study also shows that, even though 37% of respondents had purchased DVD or Blu-ray discs that included access to a digital-only version of the video, two-thirds of these buyers have never activated the digital content – mostly because they have “no need” for it or are just “not interested.”

GfK’s report, “Physical versus Digital Video: A Tale of Three Media,” is based on interviews with 1,006 consumers on GfK’s KnowledgePanel®, which combines the capabilities of web-based interviewing with robust probability-based samples.


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