So, what does the DVD release pie, in terms of genre/types of product, look like after 25 years and over 260,000 unique releases?
It is not what you might have expected back in 1997 when the first titles arrived. The format was studio-centric and focused on movies, both new and from their vast film libraries that had been built up since the 1930s. New Theatrical (those films released theatrically from 1997, the launch year of the format, to the present day) would be a driving factor and a giant revenue stream for the “Hollywood” studios.
That is all true. But, after 25 years of release activity this prized group of DVD products accounts for only 4.4 percent of all of the releases. Of course, their revenue contribution has been many times that number.
The Theatrical Catalog category (pre-1997 films, which is the cutoff point for the two groups) is almost three-times that number with 12.6 percent. 17 percent of all the DVDs released over 25 years are theatrical movies, which means that 83 percent of the releases have been something else.
25 Years Of DVD Releases By Category
* CH 3.61%. R 3.29%, A 2.78%, MOW 2.09%, D 2.05%, FI 2.00%, AD 1.49%, MA 1.33%, S 0.85%, SH 0.83%, CO 0.57%, Mini 0.46%, TS 0.26%, K 0.22%, CC 0.20%, SS 0.16% and ST 0.14%
Special Interest is the big catch-all that has also churned out an equal share with 17 percent of all of the releases. That makes since, how do you teach something, such as, knitting, or cooking, or how to do this or that on VHS? Rewind, fast-forward, stop, rewind, frustrating and difficult to work with, DVD, with chapter markers and the ability to pause, go-back or forward easily solved all of that and opened up a massive market for “Special Interest.” A category that has not been a “studio” thing.
Another important market that has emerged as a direct result of VHS — and home viewing — and then DVD, was the category of “Direct to Video,” which has generated roughly 29,000 movies of this ilk over the 25 years of the format’s existence. That’s 11 percent of all the titles released. Some great, some good, some pretty dreadful, but a vibrant market none-the-less.
Foreign Language imports account for 8.5 percent (over 22,000 films) of the pie. DVD was perfect for this … subtitles, language options, commentary all in one package. Try doing that with VHS.
There were two big, and perhaps unexpected, categories that have emerged as major sources of DVD product offerings. Sports (both instruction and events) has generated almost 26,000 titles with amounts to a 9.9 percent share of the pie. A huge chunk of this is manufactured-on-demand events (games), especially at the high school level (college, not quite as vibrant as a result of NCAA and college/university branding and restrictions).
Sports may not be a huge number in terms of each unique event/SKU in terms of revenues — a playoff game, a semi-final, a championship, etc. — but during certain weeks of the year the SKU-count can reach into the hundreds. No one could have anticipated the popularity of this category when DVD was launched in 1997. Fans, parents, relatives … all want in on the action; a keepsake.
Television is the other big surprise, which was a tough, tough sell in the days of VHS (because of volume considerations) TV programming found a market with DVD. Almost 17,000 programs, in various forms (single episodes, complete seasons, entire series) have found a home on DVD … that’s 6.4 percent of the release pie.
A category that came on strong in the beginning and that has faded over time is that of Music/Opera. The new-release flow has dropped to a trickle in recent years, not sure quite the reason, but over the 25-year history of DVD this category has accounted for over 20,000 titles (concerts, music video collections, operas, etc.) or 7.9 percent of the pie.
All of these groups account for 78 percent of the total, which means that a big chunk is still out there, but in smaller and smaller slices of the overall release pie.
22 percent comes from the eclectic marketplace composed of Children’s (3.6 percent), Religion (3.3 percent), Anime (2.8 percent), MOWs (made-for-TV movies, 2 percent), Documentaries (another 2 percent), Adult-themed (1.5 percent), Magic (a spin-off of Special Interest because there have been so many — 3,500 titles or 1.3 percent of the release pie), Silent Films (just under one percent) … and Short Films, Stand-Up Comedy, Mini Series, Theatrical Serials, Karaoke, Cartoon Collections (theatrical), Silent Short Films and Stage Production all combine for 2.8 percent of the remaining portion of the pie (in very small percentage slices).
25 years and over 261,000 titles later and you get a very diverse — a very tasty — pie; a wonderful marketplace of products that shows no signs of slowing down.