Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sales of Blu-Ray Discs Expected to Reach 100 Million in 2009

Thanks to the end of high-definition formats war and the declines of Blu-ray disc (BD) players pricing, the format is getting more and more popular, according to industry experts. Based on their estimates, around 100 million BD movies will be sold this year, a substantial increase compared to 2008. The question is whether 100 million is actually a large number considering the amount of BD players and PS3 consoles already sold-through.

“Last year in the United States alone, BD video retail sales increased by a whopping 320% to 24 million units, and we are going to see momentum continuing in 2009, with [more than] 80 million disc sales forecast,” said Mai Hong, a senior market analyst at Futuresource Consulting.

According to the company, consumers in Western Europe acquired 9 million Blu-ray disc movies, meanwhile, Japanese consumers bought 3 million Blu-ray movies. In total, there were 36 million BD movies sold worldwide back in 2008, the market research firm revealed.

“The U.K. is the largest market for BD in Western Europe. With sales of more than 3.5 million units in 2008, it represented over 40% of the West European total,” added Ms. Hong.

According to Sony, it had sold through 21.3 million Sony PlayStation 3 video game consoles that supports BD playback by the end of 2008, besides, all the manufacturers of Blu-ray players shipped 4.5 million devices globally in 2008. As a result, there should be substantially more than 25 million of Blu-ray playback capable standalone players, video game consoles and personal computers installed worldwide. Considering that number, it means that every owner of a BD-supporting device would buy just about four Blu-ray movies throughout the whole year, not quite a lot.

Obviously, far not all PlayStation 3 owners use their consoles for movie playback, which is why it is tremendously important for Blu-ray backers to ensure supplies of inexpensive BD players to various regions.

At present there are around 1100 Blu-ray titles available on the market. More than 200 thousand Blu-ray discs with movies were made last year, said Michael Boreham, senior consultant for Futuresources Consulting.

“There were concerns over how well the manufacturers would cope with the demands placed on them last year, but as a result of good planning and excellent cooperation, there were no problems in the busy fourth quarter. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens this year, as we’re not seeing the same level of investment in manufacturing equipment that we saw in the early days of DVD,” Mr. Boreham explained.

Futuresource consulting believes that in 2012 about 50% of media-based movie sales will be Blu-ray in the U.S. and 35% in Western Europe.

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