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Movies: Coming Soon To Everywhere Near You

Sep 11, 2008
2007 was a time of flux for the movie industry. Consumers were besieged by entertainment options and trying to pick a direction, while the movie industry itself was tumbled around by format wars, a Writer's Guild strike (with more than 12,000 writers joining in), and a soft economy.

Despite the tumult, the industry performed well and the disruption resolved in the first quarter of 2008 as the strike and the format war found resolution with Blu-Ray emerging victorious. Though the economy continues to slump, it seems to actually be having a positive impact on movie expenditures, as they win out over more expensive forms of entertainment.

795,000 U.S. households had high-definition video set-top consoles in 2007; HDV availability jumps to 4,406,004 when console and PC HDV-ROM is factored in. High-def homes purchased almost nine million discs. These numbers are pretty incredible, considering that it is was just one year prior that DVD players overtook VCRs in popularity.

Home videos accounted for almost $16 billion in sales and over $8 billion in rentals. Prerecorded video products were the 6th most-purchased packaged goods sold in U.S. retail stores in 2007: beating out bottled water, light beer, and toilet tissue. Video is considered a staple for Americans.

So are they simply staying home? Surprisingly, no. Last summer, the domestic box office set a record by topping $4 billion and closed the year at $9.63 billion, up 5.4% from 2006. Worldwide, it reached an all-time high at $26.72 billion, up 4.9%. Domestic moviegoers spent 1.4 billion on theater tickets in 2007.

It may be that rather than undermining the box office, internet access is stimulating growth: 73% research a movie online before going to see it. Strangely, those with an excess of home technology are actually MORE likely to attend the movies: moviegoers that own/subscribe to 5+ technologies averaged going to 11.4 movies last year, whereas their under-5 counterparts attended 7.4.

So where is it headed? All roads seem to lead toward digital technologies. As of 2007, 65.3% of U.S. households had internet access; 52.9% of those take it seriously enough to have broadband. Mobile internet increased more than 50% over the previous year, both in saturation and time spent.

Media consumption by the Average American is moving towards digital content nearly across the board. On the rise are cable/satellite tv, internet, VCR/DVD movies, and video games, while on the decline is radio, recorded music, newspapers, and magazines. Books are staying static but even these are starting to gain popularity in digital mediums.

Though a favorite image from old movies was that the 21st century would feature hover cars and foil jumpsuits, it may be that the reality is even more out-of-the-box than writers could have imagined!
About the Author
Martin runs his own Internet website at Ghacks where he writes articles like an overview of movies 2007 and other Internet and Entertainment related articles.
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