2013 a Big Year for Digital HD: Expected to Continue in 2014

Digital HD had a big year in 2013, and 2014 will likely have more in store for digital home and on-the-go entertainment. Though the model of renting or buying physical movies still exists, a shift in the standard model was palpable as streaming and electronic sell-through methods became increasingly popular. This was intensified by the commonplace offers from studios to consumers for early online releases of movies before physical copies hit the shelves.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, more movies are seeing an “early EST” release, dubbed “Digital HD” in 2013. Ron Sanders, president of Warner Bros. Worldwide Home Entertainment Distribution, told THR EST would be up 50 percent in 2014 and will exceed $1 billion in consumer spending. “Warner Bros. now offers early EST on virtually all of our theatrical new release titles,” he said.

“There’s no question that the digital business is making significant inroads,” Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment, told THR. “We are seeing extraordinary double-digit growth quarter over quarter as consumer confidence in digital ownership continues to gain momentum.”

Kornblau said the studios need to “rally more industry partners” if they want to reach the platform’s full potential.

“Studios also are stepping up their marketing efforts for early EST, from offering additional premium content to Digital HD buyers to bundling Digital HD downloads with movie tickets,” THR says. One exec called 2013 “the perfect storm,” noting consumers’ enthusiasm for better technology and more partners looking to sell content.

“The wellspring of options, both in distribution and in consumption habits, has sprung wide open, much as the TV industry did back when cable first burst on the scene and people were no longer limited to the same three networks they had grown up with,” suggests THR.