While many consumers cut back their spending on entertaining outside of the home in 2009, that didn’t necessarily translate to increases inside the home. Consumer adoption of Blu-ray increased—up 80% YTD—and the popularity of DVD rentals grew, yet there was a decline in the sell-through of packaged media. DVD sales are down 13%, marking the third consecutive year of declining DVD sales. Album sales were off 13% for the year through the week prior to Thanksgiving from the same period in 2008. Sales of physical CDs were down 20%, while digital album sales were up 17%, and they continue to show growth. Meanwhile, books sales were down a modest 3% from 2008, with fantasy/suspense-thrillers/action-adventure adult fiction showing the only growth. Audio sales were also off 20%. Gaming continues to draw more players into the current generation consoles. Console usage continued to migrate from last generation consoles like the Xbox, PS2 and Gamecube to the current generation of XBox 360, PS3 and Wii, accounting for more than 52% of usage by October 2009 (up from 47.9% in January).
Top Entertainment Trends for 2010
- Digital media shows solid growth. Currently, digital albums sales comprise 22% of album sales (up from 16% this time last year); Digital books, downloaded to devices such as Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, also present a new opportunity for publishers to combine text, music and video to create hybridizations of traditional products.
- New functionality and price drops increase gaming usage. Playing off the success of the Wii, motion-sensor peripherals will add lifespan to the lifecycle of Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles. Additionally, console price drops and the integration of additional entertainment functionality, such as Facebook, Netflix and other video rental, music streaming or game purchase options will boost usage for each of the three game systems.
- Rehashed, replayed games risk saturating the gaming market. A number of new game releases are queued up for the first six months of 2010, including God of War III, Bioshock 2, Splinter Cell: Conviction and Mass Effect 2, and while previous releases of these franchises have been popular, the industry appears to be leaning on tried and true franchises versus risking unhealthy margins launching new IP.
- Sports globalization offers a new range of opportunities. The Winter Olympics in February are likely to draw strong viewership on the back of the huge ratings garnered by the Beijing Summer games last year, and the World Cup—with the U.S. national team’s opening game against England—will attract a great deal of attention and boost the popularity of the sport in the U.S.
- Piracy is a major concern for artists, authors and publishers. Continued growth of new and existing digital formats will intensify concerns of illegal usage, especially during hard economic times when consumers feel pressure not to spend.