Over the past 10 months, due to COVID-19, cinema has taken a drastic hit with worldwide closures and studios constantly shifting release dates of those tentpoles blockbusters that keep the big bucks rolling in. That, however, doesn’t mean the movie-loving public’s thirst to be transported to another world, to forget their lives for a couple of hours, has disappeared. In fact, now, more than ever, worldwide audiences are relying heavily on as much entertainment as they can ingest at home to forget the darkness we all find ourselves in.

Thanks to figures recently released by the British Association for Screen Entertainment, home entertainment, and its ability to be beamed into our homes digitally, has seen a major increase in sales and for the first time ever. Over 56% of transactional copies were digital with consumers spending £194 million on digital film downloads, that’s a 16% rise from 2019. £194 million may seem like a small number compared what we are used to seeing reported from box office receipts, but lest we forget about the money being made from the licensing to streaming platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Again, we also have the ability to digitally rent. Video on Demand accumulated over 30.8 million sales with the top 3 titles, unsurprisingly being ‘Joker’, ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ and ‘Knives Out’.

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In fact, Todd Phillips ‘Joker’, with Joaquin Phoenix taking this DC villain down a darker path than what we are used to, was the best selling title of 2020 both digitally (including digital EST and rental) and on disc with 1.4 million transactions under its belt. Other titles exceeding over a million copies included ‘Frozen 2′, ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ and ‘1917’ – while the entire top 15 titles each sold over 500,000.

If anyone thought the physical product was dead, with most favouring digital formats, they couldn’t be more wrong. More than £21 million was spent on 564 4K UHD titles with ‘Star Wars IX: The Rise of Skywalker’ taking the crown of best-selling title. Even the good old-fashioned box set wasn’t left out. High-value box sets thrived this year, with the top three best-sellers The ‘Harry Potter’ Complete Collection, ‘IT’ & ‘IT Chapter Two’ and ‘Jumanji’ & ‘Jumanji Next Level’, while franchise collections ‘Star Wars: Skywalker Saga’, ‘Harry Potter’ Complete Collection and ‘The Lord of the Ring’s Trilogy generated the most cash. 51% of which, were obtained on Blu-Ray, that’s a 36% increase from 2019. 

We also can’t forget TV, with story-telling on the small screen just as fantastic as that of its big brother (or sister) it proudly competes in the numbers stakes with heart against the bigger budgets. With an obsession of binge-watching the finest shows to whittle away at the boredom, consumers spent over £80 million on catalogue TV Content on disc – the top 3 best-selling titles were ‘Game of Thrones: Complete 8th Season’, ‘The Crown’: Season 1 & 2 and ‘Chernobyl’.

With the light seeming so far away from the end of the tunnel, audiences across the globe are proving that the arts industry is certainly one that should be valued just like the rest. Keeping us all sane while we are couped up indoors, escapism, from the numbers alone, is certainly on top of all our wish lists.