It seems as though the high-definition format battle between HD DVD and the eventual winner Blu-ray hasn’t damaged sales of Blu-ray titles any, as US research firm Futuresource Consulting predicts that by the end of 2009, consumers globally will have bought over 100 million Blu-ray discs.
The research firm attributes these high sales to the consumer appetite for high-definition-capable LCD and plasma TVs, as well as price drops in the Blu-ray players themselves, which are not only becoming more affordable but also more compact and advanced.
“In the USA, BD (Blu-ray Disc) has moved from early adopter phase through to early majority, with the format gaining real traction in the marketplace,” said Mai Hoang, senior market analyst at Futuresource Consulting.
“Last year in the US alone, BD video retail sales increased by a whopping 320pc to 24 million units; and we’re going to see momentum continuing in 2009, with over 80 million disc sales forecast.”
However sales in Europe are still in the early adopter phase and have yet to catch up with the interest shown amongst their US consumer counterparts. However, retail sales did hit nine million units last year and look set to grow further through 2009.
Hoang noted that the UK is the largest market for BD in western Europe.
“With sales of over 3.5 million units in 2008, it represented over 40pc of the western European total.
“BD also benefited from a number of UK television campaigns during the critical fourth quarter of 2008, considerably raising consumer awareness.
“Factor in Sky’s high-profile approach to marketing its HD service, and to a lesser extent the BBC/ITV joint venture, Freesat, and the cumulative effect has made a substantial impact upon the marketplace,” he added.
With this in mind, it is interesting to note that although 200 million Blu-ray discs were manufactured last year, only 36 million units were actually sold. However, Hoang explains that some more units can be accounted for through multi-disc titles and promo campaigns.
One sector, in particula,r that is driving BD sales is the ‘young male technology adopter’, whether owners of the Sony PS3 games console (which comes with Blu-ray drive) or not: “For some high-profile titles, close to 25pc of all disc sales have been on BD, while other action adventure titles consistently see BD accounting for over 15pc of total sales.”
Right now about 110 BD titles are available, but Futuresource Consulting estimates that by 2012, around 50pc of US and 35pc of western European video disc retail sale volumes will be Blu-ray.
By Marie Boran