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Blu-ray Disc's 2008 Performance

Jan 13th, 2009
The numbers are in



When it comes to Blu-ray Disc, I’ve been accused of bias. This implies that I’m predisposed to an opinion regardless of the facts. I find it interesting that my stated opinions have been based on facts, whether observed or reported by knowledgeable others, while other writers have published negative columns based on unsupported views or wishful thinking. Some writers at ZDnet spring to mind.

I’m pleased to report that very encouraging Blu-ray Disc’s sales figures and progress are now being widely circulated, having been enumerated at a BDA and DEG press conferences at CES, and the vast majority of those publishing articles in reaction to those statistics are very positive. But I’m baffled that there is still a small group of incomprehensibly negative writers who still insist on spinning very positive numbers and facts in a contrarily negative way. Read on and decide for yourself.
 
From The CES Press Conferences
 
Blu-ray Disc has been on the market for approximately two years and nine months.
 
10.7 million players, including the PS3 (about two-thirds of the installed base), have been sold in the United States (personal computer BD drives are not included in that number).
 
2008 BD player sales are more than 300% greater than they were in 2007.
 
During the same period in DVD’s history, only 5.4 million players had been sold.
 
Blu-ray Disc currently enjoys 8% penetration in U.S. households, about double DVD’s penetration for the same period of DVD’s history.
 
For the same period in their market histories, CD players had a 2% penetration and HDTV displays had 1% penetration.
 
Over 40 million U.S. households own HDTVs, providing ample BD growth opportunities.
 
24.9 million Blu-ray Discs were sold in 2008, 445% more than the 5.6 million BDs purchased 2007.
 
During 2008, Blu-ray Disc more than doubled its market share compared to DVD, selling 13.3 million BDs in the fourth quarter alone.
 
In 2008, DVD disc sales dropped by 9.4% while BD sales increased by 445%.
 
In 2008, DVD disc revenues dropped by $1.50 billion while BD disc revenues increased by $0.48 billion.
 
DVD revenues have dropped 12.7% since 2006.
 
Current market research sales estimates for 2009 range from three to six fold increase in BD sales. The most optimistic is Envisioneering Group’s Richard Doherty who estimates 2009 sales to be five or six times 2008 sales.
 
Eighteen new BD players (eleven of which are Profile 2.0) were introduced at CES, suggesting manufacturers’ faith and wide support of the BD format.
 
These figures and factoids have provoked more upbeat articles from unbiased publications: “Blu-ray discs seen as bright spot in glum season,” Peter Svensson, Associated Press; “Blu-ray's Future Appears Bright,” Wendy Sheehan Donnell, PC Magazine; “CES bullish on Blu-ray,” Ben Fritz, Variety; “Blu-ray may save day as DVD sales slump,” Carl DiOrio, Reuters; “Sony U.S. Sales of LCD TVs, Blu-Ray Players Robust in December,” Ian King and Fred Fishkin, Bloomberg.
 
Coverage Going Forward
 
I wish our I.T. people weren’t so overwhelmed. I’d love to put a survey up on the site to measure your attitudes about Blu-ray Disc. I’d like to know how many of you own BD players, how many intend to buy within the next six or twelve months, whether columns like this are preaching to the converted or helpful to either reinforce a buy decision or motivate a new buy decision, and I’d love to query our BD owners concerning satisfaction and issues.
 
Alas, that functionality isn’t yet available, although I’m embarrassed to admit that it’s been on the drawing board for over three years. So in the meantime, continuing to report progress and to proselytize the BD format would seem to be the most productive approach.
 
Parting Thoughts
 
There can be little doubt that 8% BD player penetration and over a million copies of The Dark Knight sold on BD extends beyond the population of videophiles and home theater enthusiasts. There is general agreement that the mainstream is becoming more and more aware of Blu-ray Disc’s advantages and they are beginning to support the high definition format with their collective wallets.

If you love film as much as we do, if you have a display capable of accepting and presenting content in either 720 or 1080 resolution, and if you’re still stuck with standard definition DVDs, be aware that prices are very appealing and Blu-ray Disc is a format on which you can safely grow your home theater rig. You can go as far as your desires and discretionary funds will take you. With the right home theater equipment, the BD format is capable of delivering presentations that exceed the qualities of release prints in the motion picture theater.

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