Fox Hails 280 Percent Jump in Digital Sales in U.K.

X-Men Days of Future Past Screengrab - H 2013

X-Men Days of Future Past Screengrab - H 2013

“The proliferation of digital platforms and devices in the U.K. has led to … a step change in the business” says Fox executive Robert Price

British consumers are embracing legal digital formats, leading to what one studio executive from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has called a “step change” in the business.

Robert Price, managing director of Fox's home entertainment operations in the U.K. said the studio's digital sales were up 280 percent year-on-year in 2014. He added that Fox's cumulative physical and digital business in the fourth quarter of this year was also up 36 percent compared to the same period in 2013.

Price attributes the jump to the more than 180 million connected devices in the U.K. combined with the arrival of digital distribution services such as Sky Store’s Buy & Keep program.

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“It’s clear from our results that the proliferation of digital platforms and devices in the U.K. has led to fans becoming increasingly comfortable in accessing digital entertainment and we have seen a step change in our business,” Price said.

“The introduction of innovative services like Sky Store’s Buy & Keep, which offers both a digital download of a movie and a physical DVD copy, has been instrumental in developing consumers’ digital consumption habits,” said Price. “Our increased sales this quarter are testament to this.”

Fox's biggest digital title to date in the territory has been X-Men: Days of Future Past, with fully 15 percent of total sales being Digital HD, five times the 2.9 percent share achieved by The Wolverine last year.

Fox's blockbuster Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, has already seen digital purchases account for 14 percent of its sales revenue for the first four weeks in home entertainment release. Fox said Sky Store’s Buy & Keep service accounted for a “staggering” 50 percent share of digital sales on this latest installment in the Apes franchise — the highest to date on any Fox title.

Price said that family movies have proved a winner on the digital platform: “Fox is also seeing mainstream adoption of the Digital HD format amongst families. The studio’s latest release of DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon 2 is up 147 percent on last year’s Epic, ranking it just behind X-Men: Days of Future Past and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes — closely followed by Rio 2.

Sky Store director Nicola Bamford said, “We are breaking down the barriers to digital ownership in the U.K. with our Buy & Keep service. We are proud that we have been able to quickly realize a healthy share of the Digital HD market. I’m delighted with the results from our partnership with Fox and its impressive product slate this year.”

These figures were first reported in British home entertainment trade magazine Cue Entertainment.