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Report: Global Blu-ray Sales Jump, But Not Quite Enough to Offset DVD Decline

15 Jun, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

A four-fold sales increase of Blu-ray movies coupled with double digit disc sales increases in China, Russia and India helped mitigate the ongoing global DVD sales slump in 2008, according to a new report.

Screen Digest said global consumer spending on Blu-ray topped $482 million in 2008, while packaged media spending in China, Russia and India grew to $979 million (about 4% of foreign sales).

Consumers globally spent $26.4 billion on video software, with two thirds of that tally ($18.1 billion) spent on DVDs. That represents a decline of more than $2.6 billion or a 3.6% drop in total disc spending (together with rental) from 2007. That includes a 4.7% drop in disc sales alone, according to the London-based research firm.

Screen Digest said the sales figures underscored an overall trend that saw consumer spending plateau between 2004 and 2007. The North American market started to decline in 2007, which signaled the beginning of a global downward trend.

Helen Davis Jayalath, senior analyst with Screen Digest, said the prolonged format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD coupled with a worldwide recession and the availability of video via downloading — legal and illegal — contributed to Blu-ray barely making a dent in the packaged media shortfall.

But it’s a trend Jayalath doesn’t see continuing.

“We expect Blu-ray to account for 6.9% of international video spending this year, assuming there is strong promotional activity,” she said. “However, despite consumers’ interest in the high definition format and [steady] demand for packaged media, the current economic climate means we don’t expect BD to drive even minimal sector growth until 2010.”

“The results aren’t that bad given the fourth quarter collapse [in 2008],” said Michael Nathanson, analyst with Sanford Bernstein in New York.

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