Lionsgate Exec: ‘We Still Sell a Lot of DVDs at Walmart’

MARINA DEL RAY, Calif. — The packaged media business remains in steady, steep decline, but Lionsgate executive Thomas Hughes says it isn’t done just yet.

“We still sell a lot of DVDs at Walmart,” Hughes said Tuesday morning, speaking at Parks Associates’ “Future of Video” conference. “We’re on the coasts, so we don’t see it. But other people still buy DVDs.”

Hughes wouldn’t reveal just how many DVD and Blu-ray units Lionsgate is moving these days.

According to the Digital Entertainment Group, sales of video titles on packaged media declined 14.46% through the third quarter to $2.79 billion. Disc rentals meanwhile, were down 16.26% to $1.365 billion.

Consider that as recently as 2010, the total U.S. DVD and Blu-ray was still worth around $16 billion annually, after peaking in the mid-aughts.

For his part, Hughes was simply making the point that a business worth over $4 billion isn’t necessarily nothin’, even if it appears to be in terminal decline.

Notably, he said that ad-supported video-on-demand is Lionsgate’s biggest revenue grower this year, doubling in size—Hughes wouldn’t reveal specifics on that business, either.

While the Walmart’s Vudu-branded AVOD may be growing fast while the disc business circles the drain, it is—somewhat ironically—that produces more usable sales data, Hughes added.

“We’ll have a guy walk into a sales meeting and say, ‘We just sold three Blu-rays on register three in Poughkeepsie,'“ he said. “The packaged media business still has all the great sales data. The reason is that it’s just been around a lot longer,” he said.

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!