June 14, 2024

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Barbie tops 2023 UK home entertainment sales

4 min read

The first set of figures to be released in 2024 by the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE) and Official Charts Company (OCC) crown Barbie the Queen of 2023 home entertainment, with 700k sales across Disc and Digital EST and VoD. (Official Charts Company (OCC) measures inividual content purchases on disc and digital, to rent, buy or own in the UK, unlike multi-content SVoD services.)

The value of the UK Home Entertainment Category rose to £4.9 billion (€5.7bn) in 2023 inclusive of all Streaming Video on Demand (SVoD), DIGITAL, DISC sales, and rental (Premium Electronic Sell Through (PEST), Electronic Sell Through (EST), Premium Video on Demand (PVoD), Video on Demand (VoD), DVD, Blu-Ray, 4K UHD, Boxset), up 10.6 per cent Year on Year (YoY), following a 14.3 per cent rise YoY in 2022. The rise was driven by the ongoing surge in consumer uptake of subscription services, with over 56 million subscriptions in 2023, a 5.4 per cent YoY rise.

Barbie was the UK’s biggest visual entertainment title across Theatrical and Home Entertainment, with a performance of £95.5 miillion at the UK Box Office, as well as a value of over £9.5 million across transactional Home Entertainment in 2023, through Premium EST (PEST) and Premium VoD (PVoD) releases in September 2023, and physical release in October 2023. This amounted to a collective consumer spend of just over £200 per minute on Barbie across the year, across all visual formats, demonstrating the resonance of content across channels with savvy audiences as release windows continue to evolve.

Keanu Reeves and John Wick: Chapter 4 topped the 2023 rental charts, with 306k sales on VoD, to add to its 388k sales across Disc and EST. The John Wick lifetime franchise transactional sales (excluding VoD) are now 2.5 million units in the UK, with a Home Entertainment value of £21 million (excluding VoD).

Avatar: The Way Of Water was the highest performing EST and DISC title, with digital and physical ownership transactions at 560k units across the year, following a £52 miillion performance at the UK Box Office, before its transactional and Disney+ premiere in June 2023.

Oppenheimer was the biggest title across both disc formats in the UK in 2023, with a value of £1.1 million on Blu-ray and £673k on DVD.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical was the fifth highest selling title of 2023, following its successful cinema release over Christmas 2022.

The top five Home Entertainment titles of 2023 clearly demonstrate the breadth and variety available to consumers to rent and own in the UK, with 70 million total transactions across the year. The final week of 2023 saw EST sales of over 900k units, with a value at £5.9 million, up 34 per cent YoY. This included five Christmas films in the top ten: Love Actually, Elf, The Polar Express, Violent Night, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, demonstrating that audiences continue to want to own their favourite films, be that digitally or physically.

Black Adam was the biggest title on DVD, demonstrating the resonance and value of big family titles on the most affordable new release physical format, with 80k units sold.

54 titles were released on Premium Video on Demand (PVoD) and/or Premium EST, one more than 2022, as audiences grow accustomed to the new shape of release windows. Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour scored the second biggest PVoD week one sales of 2023 (following Barbie) with £428k on PVoD only, following its release on December 13th, building on the £12.2 million Box Office performance across six weeks in 2023.

Universal Pictures’ Super Mario Bros. was the biggest kids title on Home Entertainment in the UK in 2023, with 648k transactional sales across Home Entertainment, and was the third biggest selling title of the year. The success of the Super Mario Bros Movie alongside Barbie, and most recently Wonka, that has amassed £45 million at the UK Box Office to date over Christmas 2023, further demonstrates the love of known characters for audiences, when told in new and exciting ways.

Game Of Thrones: House Of The Dragon Season One ruled the TV charts for the second year running, snatching the number one spot despite its release at the end of 2022, and prior to the release of season two on Netflix in the UK in summer 2024. The strong appetite for audiences for ownership of SVoD premier shows is clear, as the rest of the top five TV titles include The Last Of Us Season One at number 2, Star Trek – Strange New Worlds Season One at number 3, and The Walking Dead, Complete 11th Season at Number 5 , with Doctor Who – 60th Anniversary Specials at number four.

“It’s genuinely wonderful to see the volume of units purchased and the range of titles in 2023’s top five UK buy, rent and own Home Entertainment chart, as it perfectly demonstrates the convenience and breadth of this part of the Home Entertainment offering, and how much consumers value that,” commented Liz Bales, Chief Executive, BASE. “Audiences can control when and where they watch the films, TV shows and special interest programming they love, in a completely complimentary way to the SVoD services they invest in, which is shown in those fantastic final week figures of 2023: Home Entertainment titles were bought, downloaded and rented nearly one million times across digital and physical in that week alone, in addition to the multiple SVoD and linear TV options. When we look back at 2023, and the resurgence of HMV in particular, which opened 24 new stores in the UK, and with 38 stores in total, we can see that servicing the fans, and the appetite for physical releases on the UK high street, as well as an incredibly healthy EST and rental market, is incredibly important.”

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