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Top 5 Recession-Proof Industries

Hamsa Ramesha | HRPeople

March 12, 2010

5. Lights, Camera, Action!

History tells us Hollywood and recessions are like a PB&J sandwich — the perfect combination. The Arab oil embargo of the 1970s and other past economic woes have always come out in favor of Hollywood, and it seems this time around is no exception (hello, Avatar!).

What is surprising are the record sales. More people stayed at home this recession, choosing an inexpensive night in with a movie, versus splashing out more by going out on the town. That adds up to box office gold.

Even though ticket prices have increased, overall U.S. box office ticket revenue hit a record high at $4.2 billion this summer. This is significant since no single blockbuster movie did as well as 2008’s The Dark Knight. International box office sales broke records too, up 7 percent from 2007 at $5.8 billion.

Online movie rentals aren’t doing too bad either: Redbox, the company behind automated $1 DVD rental kiosks in grocery stores, plans to expand in over 2,000 Kroger stores next year, as well as Walgreens, 7-Eleven, and other retailers. However, the real superstar is Netflix. The recession was a blessing from the heavens for this Internet movie mogul; over 10 million paid subscribers – and counting – and a market value of nearly $3 billion. (That’s doubled since 2008!)

It doesn’t stop there. Netflix earned $432 million in third quarter revenue, a 4 percent increase from the previous quarter. Analysts expect the online giant will meet its goal of adding 300,000 to 500,000 new customers in the three months ending September … which would mean about 2.5 million more customers than the same period in 2008. Yowza! That would be a record growth in the company’s 10-year history.

On the flipside, competitor Blockbuster Inc. plans to close over 900 stores by the end of 2010 and denies rumors of bankruptcy.

Speaking of Hollywood, check out some related reading: 20 Career Lessons from Celebrities