Sony’s Bullish Blu-ray claims rejected by HD DVD camp

By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Sony today claimed its Blu-ray Disc format holds 95 per cent market share in high definition hardware and software sales in Australia, but the company’s claims have been rejected by the HD DVD Consortium for choosing its figures selectively.

In a release issued this morning, Sony claims that Blu-ray hardware is outselling HD-DVD by 26-to-1 in Australia, when the PS3 is included in the mix, which has so far sold over 100,000 units locally.

The report places HD-DVD’s hardware market share at a paltry 4.8 per cent, based on GfK data from a new report funded by Sony called Next-Generation Tracker.

Sony Australia managing director, Carl Rose, said the report “quite clearly depicts the current state of play in the high definition format market in Australian homes.”

“Across the key areas of high definition entertainment, from hardware to content, these figures show that Blu-ray is distinctly the format of choice for consumers,” he said.

But the Consortium said the data is misleading because it relies solely on the month of October.

“The high definition market share report referred to this morning has been commissioned specifically by Sony and contains information based on the month of October,” said the HD DVD Consortium in a joint release this afternoon.

" We have access to other GfK reports showing software percentages on a year-to-date basis with Blu-ray at 86 per cent and HD DVD at 14 per cent.

“The HD DVD Consortium looks forward to seeing further independent, consolidated reports that reflect the most up-to-date movements in the industry.”

HD DVD backers have previously criticised Sony for propping up its Blu-ray hardware sales figures with the PS3, but today said PCs should be included in the mix.

“We believe that to measure true hardware sales you must include all PCs that have next generation DVD, both Blu-ray and HD DVD. In PCs specifically, Toshiba and other manufacturers, including HP and Acer provide the ultimate mobile HD entertainment environment and have shipped more units than PS3 in the last six months.”

Sony’s report claims Blu-ray is streaking ahead in software sales, with October GfK data revealing 18,000 Blu-ray discs were sold during the month compared with just 2,000 for HD-DVD.

Managing director of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Michelle Garra, said that all of the top 20 best-selling high definition movie titles have been released on Blu-ray — 13 of which were exclusive to the format.

The HD DVD camp claims to be clawing back market share and made a coup when JB Hi-Fi backed down on its promise to support Blu-ray exclusively.

“The results in November to date have already shown that momentum is moving significantly towards HD DVD and has had an immediate effect on the market. In the last three weeks, shares of HD DVD have been 37 per cent, 31 per cent and 23 per cent respectively, higher than the October number quoted in the report,” said the Consortium.

“We anticipate other key retailers will follow suit in their support for HD DVD based on consumer demand.”

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