Inside Entertainment: Quick Take 2021 Issue 1

In (Home) Theaters Now

The Rise of Premium Video on Demand

ben digital issue

W hile 2020 has largely been a dark year for film studios, the success of premium video on demand (PVOD) has been an important bright spot. It might also mark the beginning of a new trend in the industry.

Overwhelmingly, audiences have embraced the premium at-home experience. New research conducted by BEN shows that PVOD film releases have created viewership habits and patterns that will likely continue post-pandemic. This is good news for the industry across the board. BEN’s research shows that 3 out of 10 PVOD purchasers in 2020 are expected to continue to buy new releases this way. 13% of consumers reported that they still would have chosen to purchase the release on demand exclusively – even if it was released in theaters and safe to attend. Perhaps more interestingly, 1 in 5 consumers said that they would have purchased the title they watched in addition to paying for their ticket at the theater if it had been safe to do so.

pvod viewing post pandemic

31%

will purchase PVOD releases post pandemic

18%

will watch in theater and on-demand

13%

will switch to PVOD exclusively
Source: BEN PVOD Study Nov. 2020

Looking at revenues alone, PVOD releases are proving to be just as valuable for studios as box office releases – sometimes even more so. In the case of Trolls World Tour, the sequel to the popular 2016 theatrical release Trolls, DreamWorks hit the $100M revenue mark in a mere 3 weeks. It had taken the original 5 full months to hit that same level of success. This is possible due to the revenue sharing model that PVOD affords studios. Box Office releases typically send 50% of revenues back to studios while PVOD releases allow them to capture as much as 80% of the pie.

studios make money faster

The Race to $100M Revenue
Trolls World Tour3 weeks
Trolls5 months
Source: Hollywood Reporter

For studios and brands, an essential question is how many people are typically watching a PVOD film. BEN’s research shows that a median of 3 viewers are watching each PVOD film, and that audiences are generally watching one time per purchase. This translates into larger than expected audiences for films released through PVOD, with even higher numbers expected for those released directly to streaming.

WarnerMedia has wasted no time in embracing the trend. On December 3rd they announced that their entire 2021 theatrical slate will be released concurrently on HBO Max and in theaters for the first 30 days. Following the one month HBO Max access period domestically, each film will leave the platform and continue theatrically worldwide with all customary distribution windows then applying to the title. As consumers spend another year enjoying the flexibility of watching new releases wherever they choose and studios realize increased opportunities to capture revenue, it seems clear that PVOD will only grow from here.


The 2020 Pandemic restrictions forced major studios to pivot their theatrical release plans to PVOD – which has proven to be a success for both studios & audiences. Brands that take advantage of the integration opportunities in PVOD releas- es benefit from the increased reach among opening weekend fans as well as their entire family as they gather for the initial viewing and subsequent rewatches at home.

— Stephanie Dade
BEN SVP, Content and Integration

shared viewing experiences

Median 1 guaranteed view

per purchase/rental

Median of 3 viewers

per purchase/rental
Source: BEN PVOD Study Nov. 2020

higher take from pvod revenue

Studio Revenue % Take
PVOD80%
Box Office50%
Source: Hollywood Reporter

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