Blu-ray disc sales up

The Digital Entertainment Group released its midyear report today, and Blu-ray Disc is a noteworthy bright spot. The DEG's industry report echoes the rosy picture of Blu-ray that the Blu-ray Disc Association presented at a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, and it reinforces the data offered by Adams Media Research this spring-namely, that Blu-ray Disc sales doubled in the first quarter of 2009 over the first quarter 2008.

Consumer spending on Blu-ray discs was up by 91 percent, to $407 million. More consumers have been renting Blu-ray discs, too: Revenues from rentals are up by 62 percent.

This news comes in spite of a recent Harris Poll report indicating that consumers were uninterested in adopting Blu-ray Disc.

According to DEG, consumer spending on prerecorded entertainment as a whole (including DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and digital distribution) during the first half of 2009 was off by 3.9 percent against last year's numbers. Blu-ray Disc sales are up at a time when HDTV household penetration has increased by 13 percent since the end of 2008. Sales of Blu-ray players have grown by 25 percent, and hardware prices continue to decline--a testament to the format's strength in the weak economy. The market success of Blu-ray also reflects the robust trend seen at the theatrical box office: Even tough times don't stop people from consuming entertainment. The DEG numbers note that U.S. households now have more than 2 million stand-alone player units. That brings the total installed base of Blu-ray players--including Sony PlayStation 3 consoles--to 11 million. Of that number, nearly 75 percent are BD-Live capable, meaning that they can handle discs with special Internet-connected content.

More than 40 million Blu-ray titles have now been sold in the United States, and more than 1600 titles are available. Over 190 titles offer BD-Live content.

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Melissa J. Perenson

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