Blu-Ray Barely Making A Dent In Video Sales Slump

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Blu-Ray was heralded as the next big thing in home entertainment. But, three years after the discs were first spun, the format still isn’t helping the at-home video market out of its slump.

2008 UK video sales were down three percent and 2009 is forecast to be down five percent – but non-US Blu-Ray sales of $482 million were just 1.8 percent of the overall $26.4 billion market, research firm Screen Digest tells us: “The current challenging economic climate means that we don’t expect Blu-Ray discs to be driving even minimal sector growth until 2010″, when the format’s spend share would rise to 6.9 percent.

Cross-format international video sales fell 3.6 percent last year – DVDs are still 68 percent of the market, but disc sales across the two formats still slipped 4.7 percent. This isn’t as bad as the drop-off in US sales, Screen says, but still Blu-Ray “barely made a dent in the missing revenue“.

Why so slow? Screen blames the protracted format war with HD-DVD, the recession and “the easy availability of video via other means such as downloading, pirate, legal and illegal temporary ownership”. But online rental services like Lovefilm and Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX) offer hope.

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David Gerard

I'll tell you the reason – Blu-Ray is in fact lovely and excellent value … IF your telly is the size of a wall. Otherwise, it's pretty much pointless. Our largest screen is a 22" Cinema Display with fantastic resolution – really, you can only tell SD from HD video on it if you're really, really looking for it. And most of what actually gets played on it is low-resolution iPlayer.

Blu-Ray is a fantastic and marvellous solution to a problem that very few people have or care about.

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