Blu-ray “way ahead” of DVD in Western Europe takeup

By Chris Nicholls

BEDFORDSHIRE, UK: Blu-ray hardware take-up in Western Europe has soundly beaten that of DVD over the first three years of the two technologies’ product life, according to a new study by a UK consulting firm.

The data, released by Futuresource Consulting, showed while first year sales for Blu-ray hardware trailed those of DVD, with only 10,000 sales to DVD’s 50,000, by the second year, Blu-ray sales rose to 3.03 million, ten times those of DVD with only 300,000 units.

Third year Blu-ray sales (2008) have reached over six times DVD’s hardware sales, with 10.48 million units sold, as opposed to DVD’s third year on sale, 1999, which saw just 1.58 million units leave shelves. This with half of 2008 still to go.

By 2009, Futuresource predicted Blu-ray would reach 19.7 million unit sales in Western Europe, far above the 5.64 million units sold in DVD’s fourth year on sale – 2000.

While the sales difference is predicted to narrow by 2010 and 2011, Blu-ray’s fifth and sixth years in the market, Blu-ray will still lead year-on-year, Futuresource predicted, with an average two times DVD hardware’s sales. For example, DVD player sales reached 37.51 million in 2002, its sixth year on sale, while Blu-ray hardware is expected to sell 45.42 million units.

The figures included PS3 sales, but it was unclear whether DVD sales included those of the PS2.

Futuresource corporate development managing director, Jim Bottoms, said the results showed Blu-ray was “running way ahead of DVD after the same time period”.

“2008 represents year three for BD and here at Futuresource Consulting, we anticipate more than 10 million players, including PS3, in use by the end of this year. Looking back to DVD’s early years, we see that closer to 1.5 million DVD players were installed by the end of year three.

“Looking forward … BD installations are projected to continue to run significantly ahead of DVD. The timing of the PS3 launch has clearly provided a big boost to the initial uptake of BD; with a number of hot games titles now starting to emerge and console prices continuing to fall we can expect to see continued strong uptake,” Bottoms said.

He said a competitive retail environment had also had an effect, with prices falling and the technology staying in the public eye as a result. Bottoms expected competition to intensify by Q4 this year.

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