Box office sales outpace disc sales in 2009

Sales at movie theaters have trailed disc sales for years. But in a first in quite some time, consumers spent more at the box office in 2009 than they did on films at home.

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It hasn't happened since 2002, but box office sales beat out disc sales in 2009, market research firm Adams Media Research said in a report released on Tuesday.

According to Adams, U.S. viewers weren't so keen on buying DVDs in 2009. While it found that consumers spent $250 million buying movies online in 2009, the firm found that physical disc sales dropped by 13 percent year over year, from $10.06 billion in 2008 to $8.73 billion in 2009. Those figures include Blu-ray Disc sales.

Adams said box office spending increased to $9.87 billion in 2009, up 10 percent from $8.99 billion in 2008. Flms such as "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "Up" were among those films that lured consumers to theaters.

Adams also looked at movie rentals. The firm found that $1.27 billion was spent on rentals through cable and satellite services in 2009. Consumers spent just $111 million renting films online. All told, rental transactions increased by 5.5 percent in 2009, but overall rental revenue, which includes online, on-demand, and physical-media rentals, grew by less than 1 percent, to $8.15 billion.

These figures do not bode well for the film industry. While box office sales are higher than DVD sales, Hollywood itself is dealing with a revenue crunch that, so far, it hasn't been able to overcome. And as the video game industry continues to evolve as an entertainment alternative to movies , the pressure seems to be on moviemakers to right the ship.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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