Since the turn of the century huge decline has been in release and sale of rental and retail videos in physical format. Sale of rental videos (VHSs, DVDs and Blue-rays) from distributors to rentals has declined 98 per cent since in 2001. A corresponding slump has also occurred over the same period in a number of transactions from rentals. Similar, albeit not as severe, decline has also been in recent years in the sell-thru market. Sale of retail videos from distributors has declined more than half in recent years. Responsible for the fall of the video market is, without doubt, related to largely increased hours on television and new distribution methods of audio-visual content over the Internet.
In last year, 571 titles of rental and retail videos were launched on the market on behalf of the main distributors in the country. Released sell-thru titles numbered 434 and titles of rentals 137. The number of released retail videos has fallen over one third since its peak in the year 2011. Release of rental titles has declined continuously since 2004, or about 84 per cent (see Figure 1).
US productions are still by far the most visible on the market, equally of rental and retail titles, or about some seven out of every ten titles released every year. In more recent years, the origin of released titles has become gradually more varied, especially with the increased number of European titles, and not the least domestic ones.
Sale of rental videos from distributors has decreased hugely, or 98 per cent since the sale was all-time-high in the year 2001. In that year the sale to rentals was nearly 104 thousand copies compared to only 2,586 copies in last year (see Figure 2).
It can be assumed with some certainty that similar fall has happened with the number of rented copies from rentals. The estimated number of transactions from rentals in the year 2014 is 250 thousand. Since in 2001, the estimated number of transactions from rentals has dropped to around 2.9 million copies (see Figure 3).
Accordingly, rental transactions per capita are estimated at one in 2014 compared to eleven rented copies in 2001. Video-on-Demand is not included in these figures.
For a long time one of the characteristics of the Icelandic video market was the underdevelopment of the retail video market in comparison to the matured rental market. Gradually this has changed as sale of retail videos took steep rise in the early 2000s, but in more recent years there has been a marked downturn of the retail market, albeit less drastic than in the rental market.
In 2014, some 43,000 copies of retail videos were sold at distributor level, or about 480,000 fewer copies than in 2008, when the sale was at its all-time-high, or some 910,000 copies.
About the data
Statistics Iceland collects annually information from the main distributors of rental and retail videos. The number of transactions of rental videos and the volume of sale of retail videos at the consumer level are estimates based upon various sources, them amongst are Myndmark, a joint organization of rental video rights holders and rentals, and Screen Digest.