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Online Movie Streaming More Popular Than DVDs

2012 is set to be the first year in which online movie viewing surpasses DVD sales in the US, according to the latest report from IHS Screen Digest.

This year, IHS estimates that 3.4 billion movies will be watched online, with 2.4 billion DVD and Blu-ray discs sold. And in case you were thinking that estimation includes pirate films (illegal ones, not Johnny Depp flicks), it doesn't - that's all legitimate streaming views.

Indeed, the physical medium of DVD/Blu-ray is clearly in decline, seeing as last year's figure of 2.6 billion was actually more than the estimate for 2012.

However, as Techspot points out, the comparison isn't exactly a fair one, seeing as DVD rentals aren't included in that figure, just sales - whereas much of the streaming material is rented from outfits such as Netflix (Amazon and Netflix tie up the vast majority of streams between them).

Including the likes of Blockbuster rentals would even the figures, but even the video rental chains are in decline, and the rise of online video is undeniable in the overall picture.

Furthermore, another report has shown that Lovefilm's online streaming service now outstrips its physical DVD and game rentals by 20 per cent.

Jim Buckle, managing director of Lovefilm, commented: "In less than three years, streaming through Lovefilm Instant has become more popular than renting DVDs."

"Our members crave instant on-demand access. With more world-class digital content being added to Lovefilm Instant and a growing number of Internet-connected devices delivering it to members' living rooms we expect this trend to continue."