Netflix Replaces Apple as Nation's Top Internet-Movie Business

Netflix red Envelope - H 2011
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Netflix red Envelope - H 2011

IHS, formerly Screen Digest, says revenue generated from Americans who buy and rent movies online more than doubled to $992 million last year.

Netflix zoomed past Apple in 2011 to become the nation's leading supplier of movies streamed over the Internet, according to revenue data IHS released on Friday.

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Last year, U.S. revenue generated by subscription video on demand soared 10,000 percent to $454 million, according to IHS, mostly due to Netflix and its decision to partially split its DVD and online-streaming services.

While Netflix claimed just 1 percent of the total online movie business in 2010, it leapt to 44 percent last year. Apple, which leads the "transactional" business as opposed to subscription, saw its revenue share fall from 61 percent in 2010 to 32 percent last year.

IHS says Netflix is so dominant in the SVOD category that it's nearest competitor, Hulu, is just 10 percent its size.

The transactional side of the online movie business -- Apple iTunes and its competitors -- was up 75 percent to $273 million.

Electronic sell-through, which IHS notes is more profitable for the studios than are the online rental models, grew by just 2.4 percent last year to $236 million.

The online movie business on whole more than doubled to $992 million last year, and IHS expects it to double again this year.

IHS says "the big growth story" of 2011, though, was Walmart's Vudu, which captured 8.2 percent of the transactional market, up from 2.8 percent the year prior.