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NPD: Digital Copy Owners Prefer Copy to Downloads

By Erik Gruenwedel | Posted: 10 Dec 2008

Consumers are embracing the concept of digital copies included with Blu-ray Disc and standard-DVD movies, according to a new survey of 1,500 U.S. consumers who had purchased a DVD or Blu-ray Disc movie in the past year.

Studios, in an effort to circumvent piracy, increasingly include a digital copy with packaged media releases that can be legally played on portable devices, including the iPod, smartphone or PC.

Releases this week of The Dark Knight from Warner Home Video and Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment included digital copies.

Indeed, Fox in 2007 was the first studio to include a digital copy, with the release of Live Free or Die Hard. And, according to industry tip sheet The DVD Release Report, Fox offers more digital copies than any other studio.

The NPD Group said 79% of respondents who purchased a video that included a digital copy favored using the digital copy, compared to 21% who preferred downloading the movie from the Internet. Among consumers interested in digital copy, 38% said they appreciated having a physical disc as a backup for the electronic copy. In addition, 27% said they’d be more inclined to buy a portable device in order to take advantage of the digital copy feature.

“For consumers who don’t have the time or know-how to download full-length movies or TV shows, digital copy provides a flexible and safe solution for transferring a legal version from a purchased disc to a portable device,” said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD.

Crupnick said the results underscored the opportunities available to studios to promote and extend the value of standard DVD and Blu-ray over electronic distribution.

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