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Don’t Replace the Disc Player? Nonsense.

22 Apr, 2009 By: Stephanie Prange

I hate to attack the streaming/VOD backers once again, but they are really getting ahead of themselves. I do believe digital delivery has a place in the future of entertainment. In fact, right now, if you want to catch a TV episode you missed, it can be a great option. But I must continue to take issue with those ready to put a nail in the coffin of packaged media.

On a recent “Today Show” segment about what items you should repair or replace, a representative from Wired magazine said those whose DVD players had gone kaput shouldn’t bother replacing them because everyone would soon be downloading all of their movies anyway.

Huh? Is he crazy?!

Packaged media, in the form of DVD and the new Blu-ray Disc high-definition format (which the Wired rep conveniently neglected to mention), are still doing just fine, thank you — albeit battered by the same recession that is hurting all consumer products. While disc buying may be taking a hit, the essential demand for packaged media remains. Witness the fact that kiosk companies that rent discs, such as Redbox, and online rental outlets that also rent discs, such as Netflix, are going strong. Granted, Netflix streams content to subscribers, but it also rents Blu-ray Discs at such a pace that it had to raise subscription prices for Blu-ray renters.

Don’t replace the DVD Player? Maybe not with another DVD player, but with a PlayStation 3 or Blu-ray player that will also play a library of DVDs that consumers have been collecting over the past decade. That’s what I did. I no longer own a single DVD player, but I’ve got a game system and a Blu-ray Disc player that also play my DVDs.

The NPD Group, citing an internal consumer survey conducted last month, said 51% of respondents purchased a DVD or Blu-ray Disc movie in the prior three months — a higher percentage than bought game products. Blu-ray Disc sales in the first three months of 2009 nearly doubled from first-quarter 2008, according to Adams Media Research.

What makes the Wired rep think he can discount HALF of the respondents to a consumer survey and a growing format?

It can only be wishful thinking from streaming/VOD backers that hope to supplant a packaged home entertainment business that is still going quite strong.

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