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Blu-ray Is Big in Deutschland

16 Aug, 2012 By: Thomas K. Arnold

I just got back from Germany, and aside from the wonderful Weissbier I wish I could have brought back with me some of the German peoples’ enthusiasm for packaged media.

My cousins live in an 18th century farmhouse in the small resort town of Ubersee, on the Chiemsee, about 50 miles southeast of Munich and 30 miles northwest of Salzburg, Austria.

We stayed in an apartment in the attic of the main house, and to make us feel comfortable Peter – the grandson of my cousin – brought the boys a PlayStation 3 and an armload of video games.

Turning to me, he said, “I’ve got a big collection of Blu-ray Discs – so let me know if you want to see a movie.”

We talked a little about what I did for a living – I haven’t seen him since my last visit to Ubersee back in 1991, when I was a newlywed and he was 3 – and he said he ditched his DVD collection a long time ago in favor of Blu-ray, which he absolutely loves.

“And I’m not the only one,” he said. “Blu-ray is big in Deutschland. Just go into any store and you’ll see.”

I did. And in every general merchandise store I visited the Blu-ray Discs were laid out in prominent locations, often face up. I hardly saw any DVDs. And there were always people checking out the latest Blu-ray Discs, picking them up, turning them over, reading the backsides, and then marching off to the cash register.

When I got home, I visited the Blu-ray Disc Group Deutschland’s website, and chuckled to myself as I read the introduction, which quotes French poet Victor Hugo – “Nothing else in the world...is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

These words, the website said, apply to technology as much as anything, and they have certainly rung true for Blu-ray Disc.

They certainly have. As Home Media Magazine noted in a December 2011 article, European BD sales ballooned 42% to 63 million, driven chiefly by “strong adoption in Germany.”

Futuresource analyst Jim Bottoms told Home Media, “Sales of discs in Germany are outstripping sales in the U.K., which is almost unheard of.” Among the reasons he cited were strong retailer support and little HD programming on German TV.

I’m still too jet-lagged to discern whether there’s a lesson somewhere in all of this that we could apply in the United States, or perform an indepth analysis of the German home entertainment market in the hopes of possibly adding to, or expanding on, Bottoms’ conclusions.

So for now, at least, take this as a cheery little tale – a positive note at a time when studio executives here in the United States are becoming increasingly nervous as another fourth quarter draws near.

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