Apple iTunes makes sweet music in online video market

More than a virtual jukebox, iTunes tops the charts in online sales of TV shows and movies, according to report.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

iTunes tops the charts in online video sales, according to market research firm The NPD Group.

Apple claimed 66 percent of all TV shows sold and 65 percent of all movies sold online last year. In second place, Amazon took home 14 percent of all TV shows sold in cyberspace. Amazon and Xbox Video each grabbed a 10 percent chunk of all feature-length films sold over the Internet in 2012.

iTunes also scored the lead in the video-on-demand market, biting off a 45 percent share of all online movie rentals. Amazon Instant Video accounted for 18 percent, leaving Vudu with 15 percent.

Netflix wasn't included in the mix because NPD's report focused specifically on video content bought for permanent ownership and "a la carte" paid rentals downloaded for limited-time viewing -- in other words, non-subscription services.

Apple has leveraged the popularity of "iTunes, iOS, and the popularity of iPhone and iPad to dominate the digital sale and rental markets for movies and music," Russ Crupnick, senior vice president of industry analysis at NPD, said in a statement. "While worthy competitors have come along, no other retailer has so thoroughly dominated its core entertainment product categories for so long."

NPD Group

iTunes also boasted a fair share of satisfied customers, according to the report. An NPD poll found that 77 percent of iTunes shoppers rated their experience as excellent or very good, 75 percent were pleased with the current releases, and 73 percent liked the selection.

"We've seen big-name entertainment retailers lose share, and even close, as their customer satisfaction metrics faded; however, that's clearly not the case with iTunes," Crupnick said. "Customers are quite happy with the store."

NPD compiled the report based on data from its VideoWatch Digital consumer service, which tracked the online purchases of 26,176 video-on-demand users between January 2012 and January 2013. NPD also used information from its spring 2013 "Entertainment Trends in America" study.