U.S. subscription streaming revenue grew 16.9% to $6.93 billion in the first quarter, representing a sizable slowdown from the 27.2% expansion the SVOD sector experienced in the same first-three-month period of 2021, according to media company figures released by the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG).
The DEG's indicator of an overall deceleration in growth comes after Netflix, the biggest SVOD service in both the U.S. and the world, reported global revenue expansion of just 9.8% in Q1 vs. 24.2% in the first quarter of 2021.
And there have been other indicators that Netflix's slowdown isn't a video business anomaly.
Disney, for instance, reported only 15% growth in average revenue per subscriber for Disney Plus' U.S. and Canada operations for the period covering January 1 - April 2. Disney also said that Hulu's SVOD business, extracting Hulu+ Live TV vMVPD revenue, shrank 4% in its fiscal second quarter.
The DEG said its SVOD data comes from Omdia, a division of the Informa research conglomerate.
For its part, DEG has its roots in measuring home video product sales by the studios. And physical media (i.e. DVDs and Blu-rays) continued to fade in the first quarter, with sales down nearly 19% to $388.5 million. They declined a 25% clip a year ago. Rentals of said discs were down 17% to $196.1 million.
The VOD business continues to slip right along with overall pay TV distribution, down 10.8% to $501.1 million in Q1. But "electronic sell-thru" -- sales of movies from digital transactional channels operated by companies like Google, Apple and Amazon -- was up 6.7% year over year to $643.6 million.
At a time when COVID-19 restrictions are easing and many U.S. consumers are spending less time in their living rooms, here's some good news for the video biz:
Overall, "home entertainment" spending was up 10.9% in the quarter to nearly $8.7 billion, DEG said, representing a narrow year-over-year growth acceleration (it was up 10% last year).
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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!