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Blu-ray Disc Player Sales Up 16%

8 Jun, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Sales of Blu-ray Disc players increased 16% during the first quarter of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010, as 15% of consumers surveyed online said they used a BD player in the quarter — up from 9% last year, according to new data from The NPD Group.

The data suggest there has been significant growth in the purchase and use of Blu-ray Disc players (including Sony PlayStation 3 consoles) and consumption of Blu-ray content in the United States. At the same time, 57% of respondents said they used a standard DVD player in 2010, which is unchanged from 2009.

According to NPD, Blu-ray is beginning to slightly offset the loss of DVD customers. The Port Washington, N.Y.-based research firm estimates there currently 116 million physical disc buyers in the United States, which is down from 128 million in 2009. Notably, nearly 26 million Blu-ray buyers helped keep that number from sliding further. Blu-ray consumers also are buying more discs than they did in 2009 or 2010, including both new releases and older catalog content.

In addition 49% of PS3 respondents said they are watching Blu-ray movies on their game consoles at least once a month. Fifty percent of respondents who said they intend to buy (Internet connected) Blu-ray players in the next six months cited the desire to use available subscription video download services (i.e. Netflix, Amazon) as a primary reason for intending to buy a player. And 36% of consumers who intend to buy a player were influenced by the product recommendations of friends and family members.

“Because fewer hot titles came out of the theaters in time for first quarter release, the physical video-disc market was a bit disappointing — especially coming off of a good first quarter last year; but consumer response to the Blu-ray format remains strongly positive,” said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD. “While Blu-ray may not be the replacement for DVD that many once hoped for, it is certainly adding strength to the physical video-disc market. This added stability is helping to extend the life of discs, even as digital options gain in popularity.”

Consumer feedback from NPD’s video research points to recognition of Blu-ray’s technology advantages, increasing value proposition and benefits from packaging (e.g. combo packs that offer a DVD, Blu-ray and digital copy). Eight out of 10 current and prospective owners of Blu-ray players cited high-definition quality and technology as the reason they purchased, or intend to purchase, a Blu-ray player.

“As more buyers make the decision to obtain the superior picture and sound technology of Blu-ray, there is also more awareness that the same player that delivers that experience can also provide access to digital services that are gaining the attention of American consumers,” Crupnick said.


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