CES - Why movies sold on disc still matter

DVD is a tough act to follow

Over the course of the past couple of years, as the Blu-ray Disc vs. HD DVD smack down continued, I've often seen postulating in the press and among the public that neither disc format is going to matter in the future.

Admittedly, no one can say with certainty that these formats--most likely Blu-ray, in light of Warner's recent exclusivity announcement--will match the success of their predecessor, DVD. No question DVD is a tough act to follow: the format is widely considered the most successful consumer electronics format ever launched.

The reality is that, based on where we are today, the demand for packaged media--and devices to play them--appears quite healthy. The Digital Entertainment Group, which exists to promote the video industry, highlighted some industry numbers at its annual event that underscore why movie studios and hardware manufacturers both care about finding the high-def successor to DVD.

The DVD category alone was responsible for US$45 billion in spending worldwide, according to DEG data. DVD and high-definition packaged media numbers, in terms of dollars, were also impressive: US$300 million in high-def disc sales, and US$23 billion in disc software sales in 2007.

"The buying and renting of packaged media remains a core choice for consumers," says the group's executive director, Amy Jo Smith. In the future, "digital delivery promises additional options, but we believe packaged media will continue to co-exist [with downloads]."

This, ladies and gentlemen, illustrates why the industry is rallying around a disc-based format for high-definition content. Not to mention the impact of the spending we consumers do on growing our personal DVD movie libraries.

Next stop, high-definition discs anyone? Who's ready to take that plunge?

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Melissa Perenson

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