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Report: Consumers Want to Copy Their DVDs

6 Apr, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Citing a slowing market and troubled economy, consumers increasingly want the option to back up or copy DVD movies and television shows, according to a new report.

According to a March 11-16 national survey of 1,000 consumers conducted by the National Consumers League, 90% of respondents (93% with children) said DVD owners should be able to copy a disc to their computer in the same way a music CD can be copied.

About 69% of respondents said they frequently watched DVDs on their computers, and 38% (45% for households with children) said they had repurchased lost or damaged discs.

More than 82% said they had never saved a copy of a purchased DVD to their computer, while 4% claimed to have tried and failed.

Half of those surveyed (51%) were bothered that they couldn’t save DVDs to their hard drives without cracking the encryption or purchasing an expanded version of the DVD; these numbers were higher among those respondents with children in the household (56%) or between the ages of 25 and 34 (67%).

About 35% of respondents owned more than 50 DVDs, with the average household owning nearly 80 DVDs.

The NCL found consumers have limited options for saving commercial DVDs to their computers, whether for back up purposes or simply so that they can easily access their DVD library without carrying around the actual discs.  Some expanded editions of DVDs, which are usually sold at an additional cost, come with the ability to save an additional copy to a computer. 

“Clearly, advances in technology have left consumers expecting a great deal of freedom when it comes to movies that they’ve purchased,” said Sally Greenberg, NCL executive director. “Consumers’ attitudes towards saving content have been shaped by their ability to freely copy the contents of their CD collections to their computers and iPods. Our survey shows that they are eager to have that same ability with their DVDs and are frustrated that the market has not adapted to meet that desire.”

Studios, citing piracy issues, have been reluctant to allow consumers the ability to transfer a movie from DVD to the PC. Instead, many now are bundling a standard DVD, a Blu-ray Disc and a digital copy all in one premium package.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment pioneered the bundled release with High School Musical 3, Bolt and Bedtime Stories. 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment did the same with Marley & Me.

Mary Daily, EVP of marketing with 20th Century Fox, said the bundled release is designed to address entertainment consumption habits of an entire household.

“The digital copy can go to the kids, so they can watch it on their iPods,” Daily said. “Then you’ve got the Blu-ray Disc, which you can watch on your big home theater, and the DVD, which you can watch in the car or bedroom.”

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