All three of the home entertainment packaged media formats — DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD — finished in the green on a year-over-year basis in terms of new titles released.
DVD, and these numbers are preliminary and likely to change in the days and weeks ahead, finished 2018 with a total of 298 SKUs over the 2017 release pace. The modest 3.04 percent increase in release activity pushed the 2018 release count to 10,110 (versus 9,812 in 2017).
The big shift is, however, not in the year-over-year changes, but in the makeup of the manufacturing mix. With these preliminary 2018/2017 results, it is increasingly clear that the home entertainment (packaged media) marketplace is rapidly shifting from the “music business” distribution model established in the 1980s (with the launch of VHS) to that of the current book “publishing” model, which is centered more and more on MOD printing (manufacturing on demand printing … a 48-hour flip from order to finished product).
For the first time in the history of the DVD format, there were more MOD DVD releases reported in 2018 than there were standard replicated new arrivals. 5,197 DVD MOD titles were documented, versus 4,913 standard replicated releases.
The previous year (2017), the mix was 3,781 MOD DVD product offerings and 6,031 standard replicated titles.
This shift will continue and certainly have an impact on current distribution models, with traditional retail (“Big Box”) becoming less and less a factor and on-line (amazon.com) channels of distribution becoming more dominant.
The Blu-ray format numbers show that this shift is not quite there yet, but nevertheless moving in that direction at an increased tempo. For example, the Blu-ray format increased its total SKU count in 2018 by 334 over 2017 (2,736 versus 2,402), but standard Blu-ray replication continued to be the dominant manufacturing choice for new title releases.
In 2018, there were 1,966 standard replication releases and 779 MOD Blu-ray, while in the previous year (2017) the mix was 1,890 and 512 respectively. Both increased on year-over-year, but MOD at a much faster rate … 2020 (or 2021) could be a turning point.
As to the fledgling 4K Ultra HD format (which some choose to lump in with Blu-ray … try to get one to play on a Blu-ray machine … ergo: new format), the output is almost exclusively New Theatrical releases, which yields small numbers — 179 in 2018 versus 155 in 2017.
When all of the formats (regardless of the manufacturing method) are added together, the home entertainment packaged media segment churned up 13,025 new SKUs in 2018 versus 12,369 in 2017. While in the green across the board, the total count is a far cry from the 15,221 total for new titles posted in 2006 (the launch year of the Blu-ray format).