For Blu-ray, the Future is Now.

The health of the Blu-ray market seems to be an enigma to most people these days as there’s a lot of discussion, anticipation, and inquiries about the topic. However, are there adequate sales to back it up. I think the biggest misconception right now is that the Blu-ray market is slow and not progressing as anticipated compared to DVD’s inception. Recent research refutes that misconception and in reality, Blu-ray appears to be ahead of DVD in terms of adoption when compared at similar times in their release.

In fact, research from Futuresource is said to show that Blu-ray Disc hardware is outselling early DVD hardware and will continue to do so into the next decade.

Jim Bottoms, MD corporate development, Futuresource, says: “Focusing on like-for-like coverage of Western Europe and comparing the first few years of uptake, the early indications are that BD player sales are 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.”

In a survey conducted by Sony Computer Entertainment America, results for the first half of May 2008 indicate that 52% of almost 3,000 PlayStation 3 (PS3) owners plan to purchase six or more BD titles in the next 12 months. Approximately 50% prefer to exclusively purchase or rent movies in BD format, even if they have to wait longer for the title release, and over 40% report increased movie viewing since the purchase of a PS3.

Statistics from the Redhill Group compiled on behalf of Home Media Magazine indicate that, as of May 18, 2008, Blu-ray software sales in the US exceeded the 11 million mark. In the first quarter of 2007, Blu-ray sales for day-and-date titles represented 1.7% of total sales for the top 10 selling titles, in comparison to the DVD version of the same title. In the first quarter of 2008, that percentage rose to 14.3%.

The Entertainment Merchants Association predicts in their 2008 Annual Report on the Home Entertainment Industry that Blu-ray sales will surpass standard DVD in 2012 and be about $9.5 billion. The report found that sales of nearly 9 million high-definition discs in 2007 generated more than $260 million in consumer spending. The EMA believes in 2012, Blu-ray Disc sales will be around $9.5 billion.

Based on these statistics, it’s clear that not only is Blu-ray a relevant and growing format, but looks destined to gain even more of a significant foothold in the digital optical media market. There’s no question that the PS3 has had a major impact in the growth of the format, but the important factor is not based on the method of use but rather through the sheer adoption of the format, regardless of the player.

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