2023 is now the second busiest year for titles released on the DVD format.
And these are just the results through July 21, 2023 … there are still 23 street-date Tuesdays left in the year. The only question is … will 2023 beat 2022 (hint: yes)?
Here are the top years for DVD output. The format peaked in 2005/2006 with the launch of Blu-ray and then crabbed sideways until the pandemic hit and was suddenly reborn.
* 2023 results through the week ending July 21 (tentative and subject to change) ... all other years are for the full year.
This past week 2023 eclipsed the entire 2021 output and it is only July 21. Only 2022 remains to be conquered.
So, what is driving the surge in DVD releases? In a word, STREAMING.
The all-powerful god of streaming — and its cult of followers — who sacrifice film after film on the altar of the abyss that should be playing in theatres and subsequently released on DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD is serving up pristine masters and “helpers” are fully engaged in mining these assets. They have gotten so proficient in these mining operations that they can turn a title from its streaming debut into a Blu-ray (or DVD) release the same day!
Further, the studios (along with Amazon, which bought the MGM/UA assets) are not enforcing the copyrights on their respective film libraries. They have essentially conceded that all films from the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s (the 20th century) are now in the public domain.
Here’s the breakdown by source through July 21, 2023.
We are monitoring 235 Studio and Legit (independent, boutique, etc.) sources thus far this year and they account for a combined 15.1 percent of the overall release pie.
This is the piece of the pie on which all statistical decisions are made … whatever decisions are made based on just this segment of the market have to be wrong.
Micro Broadcasters (for lack of a better term) are your local cable access and government outlets, who have discovered that there is a demand by consumers for their programming. Sure, the revenue per SKU has to be small, but these 59 sources that we have tracked thus far this year outpace the studios and indie labels combined … a 19 percent share of the DVD release pie to date.
That leaves the “helpers,” which are pirates, bootleggers, etc., which help fill the void left the studios by churning out record numbers of releases … week after week … after week … after week. Unchecked.
And, it is worse than you might think, because we don’t monitor DVD and Blu-rays sourced from China (honey pots), Sri Lanka or other exotic destinations that materialize and then disappear on the Etsy and eBay platforms (a thieves market in every sense).