Blu-ray disc sales to exceed 100 million units worldwide in 2009

By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: Consumers are on target to buy in excess of 100 million Blu-ray discs (BD) across the USA, Western Europe and Japan this year, with sales of High Definition LCD and plasma TVs and reductions in BD player prices set to fuel interest in packaged HD content.

The claims of 100 million units comes from research by Futuresource Consulting.

“In the USA, BD has moved from early adopter phase through to early majority, with the format gaining real traction in the marketplace,” said Futuresource Consulting senior market analyst, Mai Hoang.

“Last year in the US alone, BD video retail sales increased by a whopping 320 per cent to 24 million units; and we’re going to see momentum continuing in 2009, with over 80 million disc sales forecast.”

Uptake of BD in Western Europe is still at the early adopter stage and according to Hoang, the UK is Western Europe’s largest market for BD.

“With sales of more than 3.5 million units in 2008, it represented over 40 per cent of the West European total,” said Hoang. “BD also benefited from a number of UK television campaigns during the critical fourth quarter of 2008, considerably raising consumer awareness.

Futuresource Consulting predicts that Blu-ray is here to stay particularly with the advent of 3D TVs and content.

“Looking at the hardware, retail prices are declining fast and we’ll see BD players become ‘impulse buys’ very soon, powering the format’s momentum through the diffusion curve,” said Futuresource Consulting head of global content, Alison Casey.

“Although movie downloads are making noises in the marketplace, mainstream adoption will be a much more gradual process, with our projections showing that 12 per cent of US consumer expenditure on home video will originate from online in 2012, with a slightly lower proportion in Europe. Other business models, including ad funded content, and other delivery platforms, will generate important additional revenues for the content community.”

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