Driven by surging gaming revenues, home entertainment spending (including music streaming and downloading), rose 2.7% in the last quarter of 2017.
Compared to 2016, fourth quarter gaming sales grew by more than 7%, resulting in a year-on-year growth of 8.4% in value. 2016 was disappointing towards the end, in part due to an underperforming Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. That was not the case in 2017, with Call of Duty: WWII already heading towards tripling Infinite Warfare's lifetime sales.
The year-on-year decline in DVD sales ultimately amounts to -17%. In the last quarter of 2017, Belgian DVD sales were even down by 18.1%. The fourth quarter top-selling DVD, Pirates of the Caribbean/5, was no match for the success of Finding Dory one year earlier and was even outsold by runners up Game of Thrones/6 and Secret Life of Pets. Game of Thrones/7 was only released just before Christmas (4 weeks later than its predecessor) and could not prevent the 22.7% decline in new releases, as well as being the main catalyst for the 22.9% decline of the made-for-TV segment.
Belgian consumers bought 870,000 Blu-Ray discs, 6.9% less than in 2016. After a rather mild 2.7% decline in Q3, Blu-Ray sales plummet almost 10% in the fourth quarter. Game of Thrones is the most popular franchise on Blu-Ray, accounting for 9.9% of the total market value in Q4.
After a 9.1% growth in Q3, physical music sales in the fourth quarter are 8.5% lower than in 2016.
The steep growth of vinyl sales is slowing down only lightly, but at a growth of 35% they remain the driving force behind the stabilisation this market still seems to be heading for.
The absolute bestseller of the fourth quarter is the annual obligatory K3 album, although sales are currently 40% lower than last year.
Belgian download sales declined by 14% in the fourth quarter. Perfect by Ed Sheeran was the most downloaded track in the last three months of 2017.
This past quarter, the continuing rise in popularity of music streaming has prompted a 3.8% growth in the overall Belgian music consumption.
Conrad Hayen – Senior Market Analyst Entertainment