Preliminary research from the Digital Entertainment Group in the U.S. has revealed that driven by a 21% annual rise in revenues from streaming services, consumers spent $6 billion on films and television shows for home entertainment in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019, a year-on-year increase of 6.4%.

Making the numbers even better said DEG was that the increase came even though Q1 2019 didn’t include the Easter holiday, traditionally a strong sales period which was included in the comparable period a year earlier.

Fundamentally, the 6% increase in US home entertainment spending in the quarter came amid a nearly 20% drop in box-office performance for the films released in the period. Digital transactions through electronic sell through (EST) and video-on-demand (VOD) helped counter declines in the sale of physical discs.

Theatrical product EST was especially strong, rising nearly 14% in the quarter from a year earlier. Overall EST spending rose nearly 7% in the quarter compared with the year ago period, with the strong theatrical sales more than offsetting a drop in the sale of television product.

Total VOD spending was up 2.27% annually to $564.14 million as demand for theatrical product remained strong. The marked 20.6% rise in subscription streaming included revenue from services specialising in delivering films and TV shows over the internet such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu among others. SVOD revenues totalled $3.586 billion.

DEG also discovered in its survey continued significant growth among 4K Ultra HD hardware products. It calculated that there are currently an estimated 53.4 million households, an increase of 55% compared with Q1 2018, , and 14 million 4K UHD Blu-ray player households, an annual increase of 63%.