Even with streaming video, a third of Americans still buy and rent

Netflix hasn’t obsoleted the video store just yet.

One-third of Americans still buy and rent videos, in addition to using streaming services like Netflix and YouTube, NPD Group found in its annual Entertainment Trends in America report (paywall). The research firm surveyed more than 7,000 members of its US online panel about their entertainment consumption during August 2017.

That’s an uptick from last year, when 26% of those surveyed said they bought and rented movies in addition to using streaming services. While there are plenty of movies and shows on subscription services like Netflix, most new titles hit DVD and online-video stores like iTunes and Amazon Video beforehand, and some older films and shows are only available for purchase or rental.

Family films are still popular buys because kids will watch them over and over again. Spotty broadband service in rural America makes buying and renting more reliable than streaming for some. And some people just like to own and collect movies. Studios like Sony are even censoring the more risqué scenes in older films like Spider-Man and Ghostbusters to make them more family-friendly—and purchasable.

Overall, 54% of people surveyed said they still buy or rent video. It’s not all DVDs and Blu-rays. Physical sales have plummeted compared to digital, data from the Digital Entertainment Group shows.

“When it comes to entertainment, few consumers limit themselves to one single option,” Graham Gee, president of video entertainment at NPD, said in a statement. “Going out to the movies, watching cable TV, and viewing DVDs at home are still very popular activities, even as subscriptions to streaming services rise.”

The US is still the world’s largest market for DVDs and Blu-rays, which explains why local video stores linger there, about a dozen Blockbuster Video stores are hanging on, and Netflix still has about 3.5 million customers who pay to rent DVDs by mail.

Americans watched an extra hour of TV and movies per week this August than they did last year, the data showed.


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qz.com