2009 a banner year for movies in both Australia and USA

The year 2009 was a “banner” year for theatrical film spending in both Australia and the USA, with increases of 16% in Australia (source: Val Morgan Cinema Network) and 9.8% in the USA (see the table below).  While some of this inevitably resulted from ticket price inflation (discussed at length elsewhere in this chapter), that would have made up no more than half the increase.  In fact, 2009 was the first year since 2002 that American consumers actually spent more money going to the movies than buying movies to watch at home (McBride 2010). 

As noted in the table below of American consumer spending on movies, DVD sales dropped substantially (by more than 13 percent).  While disc rental actually showed a 5.5% increase, this was kept to only a 0.5% spending increase due to cheaper rental transactions (McBride 2010).  While other forms of distribution – cable/satellite/telco rental, online rental and online purchase – all had major percentage increases, these were from extremely small bases, with online spending representing just over one percent of consumer spending on movies.

Consumer spending on forms of movies, in billions (USA) – 2008 & 2009 (all in $US billions)

Form of distribution 2008 2009 Increase to 2009 ($) Increase to 2009 (%)
Theatrical $8.99 $9.87 $0.88 9.8%
Disc rental 8.11 8.15 0.04 0.5%
Disc purchase 10.06 8.73 – 1.33 – 13.2%
Cable/satellite/Telco rental 1.02 1.27 0.25 24.5%
Online rental 0.07 0.11 0.04 57.1%
Online purchase 0.15 0.25 0.10 66.7%

Source:  Adams Media Research, quoted by Sarah McBride in The Wall Street Journal, January 4, 2010.

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