Hollywood in turmoil as DVD sales drop and downloads steal the show

It’s been a huge source of Hollywood profit but the silvery, lucrative DVD could be consigned to the pages of a history book if plunging US sales continue for the rest of the year. Sales of new titles tumbled by nearly one fifth in the first three months of this year, a decline fuelled partly by a lack of hits and the timing of Easter – but also by the start of what appears to be an irreversible change in consumer habits.The sale of DVDs has been falling since 2007, but the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) reported that physical sales collapsed 19% to $2.2bn (£1.3bn) in the first quarter, while high-street rental also plunged by 36% to $440m, in a period when Blockbuster was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Online downloads and streaming through services such as Netflix, by contrast, grew quickly, although not enough to avert a 10% decline in the total home entertainment market to $4.2bn.

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