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Blu-ray Saves the Day – Again, and Again, and Again

8 Aug, 2013 By: Thomas K. Arnold

One of my favorite things about my job as publisher of Home Media Magazine is getting the chance to play reporter again. Writing the weekly chart story, blogging about industry issues and digging into a meaty news story is about as good as it gets for this old dog, and one of my personal goals is to free up more of my time to jump back into the trenches more frequently.

I’m a journalist first, and a businessman second — and I guess it’s always going to be that way.

A highlight of my editorial duties is writing the quarterly “state of the industry” story based on consumer spending numbers compiled for, and distributed by, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. I had the misfortune of being on vacation, out of the country, when the half-year numbers came in, so I grudgingly took a pass this time around, with senior reporter Chris Tribbey taking up the mantle — and doing a fine job, I should add.

That said, I’ve noticed a pattern in our quarterly numbers stories — a pattern that holds true regardless of whether total spending is up, down (as it’s been until recently) or flat.

The pattern is this: DVD sales continue to decline, but Blu-ray Disc and digital sales continue to post impressive increases, with the biggest lift, in terms of sheer dollars, always coming from Blu-ray Disc.

In our latest story, the headline — at least for the online version — reads, “DEG: Blu-ray, Digital Making Up for DVD Revenue Declines.”

I’d bet that same headline, with minor variations depending on whether overall spending is up or down, could have been used for virtually every quarterly numbers story we’ve run in the last five or so years.

Putting all this in perspective, it appears to me that had it not been for Blu-ray Disc, the home entertainment industry easily could have nosedived when our entertainment options proliferated like mushrooms with the emergence, mostly post-2005, of YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, online gaming, apps, the iPhone and the iPad.

And yet what do we keep reading in the mainstream press about Blu-ray Disc? I can’t even count the times Blu-ray has been lambasted as a failure and lampooned as a relic of the pre-digital era.

Clearly, the facts speak otherwise. Blu-ray Disc sales is a healthy, thriving and growing business. And instead of looking back on the gaga days of DVD, when the packaged media business was posting double-digit gains, year after year, we should marvel at Blu-ray Disc’s own success story: coming of age in the Great Recession and consistently posting significant gains quarter after quarter, year after year.

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