Ease trumping quality: Digital movie sales soared in 2013

Will the ease and convenience of being able to buy a digital movie trump the extra quality and benefits that come with a physical copy? It looks that way, according to the year-end statistics from 2013.

Digital Entertainment Group reports $1.19 billion was spent on digital movie sales last year, a massive 47 percent spike from 2012–a stunning number. Contrast this with the modest 1% bump in total digital home entertainment sales ($18.2 billion total), and it’s clear that a ton of people were using iTunes, Amazon, and their video game consoles to buy the latest blockbuster.

As expected, with the rise in digital purchases, the sales slump worsened for Blu-rays. The Wall Street Journal reports DVD and Blu-ray sales dropped 8 percent to $7.78 billion. Disc rental subscriptions fell off 19 percent to $1.02 billion, with in-store rentals sinking 14 percent to $1.04 billion.

Hand in hand with those numbers is the continued boom of video streaming subscriptions (Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu) which grew a whopping 32 percent to $3.16 billion in revenue.

Perhaps the surprise here is that more people are willing to legitimately spend $5, $10, or even $20 for a digital download, and not look to illegal downloads when they want fast access to films. Not that the practice will be fading away anytime soon. TorrentFreak reports Game of Thrones was the most pirated TV of 2013, with 5.9 million downloads via BitTorrent. The Hobbit was the most pirated film, with an estimated 8.4 million downloads.

Here are the top 10 pirated films of 2013, as ranked by TorrentFreak, and the number of times they were downloaded:

1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – 8,400,000
2. Django Unchained – 8,100,000
3. Fast And Furious – 6 7,900,000
4. Iron Man 3 – 7,600,000
5. Silver Linings Playbook – 7,500,000
6. Star Trek Into Darkness – 7,400,000
7. Gangster Squad – 7,200,000
8. Now You See Me – 7,000,000
9. The Hangover Part 3 – 6,900,000
10. World War Z  – 6,700,000

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Sam Jordan

Sam Jordan

Sam Jordan is a freelance writer, editor, and comedian.

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