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First Quarter Numbers are In!

27 Apr, 2009 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The first quarter wasn’t so bad after all. Consumer spending on home entertainment is estimated at $5.3 billion by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, down just 5% from the first quarter of last year.

The DEG estimate, based on studio and retail input as well as industry tracking sources, includes sales and rental of DVD and Blu-ray Disc as well as digital distribution. The DEG further says home entertainment’s net contribution to studios was down less than 4% for the quarter.

The news comes after discouraging reports from some individual studios that estimated the first-quarter spending shortfall as high as 11%, with a 15% decline in DVD sales partially offset by a lower drop in rental spending (9%) but a 108% gain in Blu-ray Disc sales. Blu-ray Disc is still a small portion of the market, generating about $230 billion in consumer sales in the first quarter of this year, but its upward traction is lifting studio executives’ confidence. Digital distribution further lifted the total, coming in with an estimated consumer spend of $487 million, up 19% from the year-ago quarter.

This is the first time that digital sales have factored into the DEG’s quarterly numbers report. The DEG also notes that Easter, typically a big sales period for home entertainment, was not in the first quarter this year, unlike last year, when it fell in March.According to figures compiled Swicker & Associates on behalf of the DEG, nearly 20 million Blu-ray discs shipped to retail in the first quarter of the year. Blu-ray compatible devices, including set-top players, PC drives and PlayStation 3 consoles, are now in more than 10.5 million U.S. homes.

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