Premium entertainment services riding high in US despite recession

38% of Internet-enabled households in the US subscribe to premium entertainment services such as DVD delivery, music downloads and gaming downloads, despite the recession, according to research from The NPD Group.

By way of comparison, 55%% of such Internet-enabled homes subscribe to newspapers or magazines, and 80% subscribe to premium television services delivered via cable, satellite or fibre-optic.

"Despite the recession, there are dedicated consumers who remain committed to premium entertainment experiences," said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for The NPD Group. "For just a few dollars a month consumers can get a vastly expanded library of movies, music or gaming options; and that represents real value, especially as many consumers are economising by spending more time at home."

Out of all Web households, 18% of Web-enabled households currently subscribe to a premium DVD service, such as Blockbuster Online or Netflix; 6% subscribe to an online music service, like Rhapsody or eMusic; 12% subscribe to satellite radio; and 12% subscribe to a premium gaming service, such as Xbox Live.

"These services have been reporting aggressive subscriber growth in the face of economic stress," said Crupnick. "Entertainment companies need to keep an eye on whether subscriptions begin to cannibalise purchases of packaged media, or if there are additional declines in moviegoing and other away-from-home entertainment."