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Rosy Days for Blu-ray. Hi-def Disc Sales Boost U.S. Home Video Spending

Blu-ray logoThanks to an increased appetite for HD - as well as a larger availability of cheaper Hi-def televisions - Americans spent about 5% more on home video during the third quarter over the same period last year. This represents the first increase since early 2008.

Though the increase could be a solemn indicator that cash-strapped Americans are getting out less these days - choosing to instead spend their precious entertainment dollars at home - optimistic experts attribute the increase to more purchases of higher-priced blu-ray discs as well as increased bulk purchases by cheap rental outfits such as Redbox and Netflix.

Brick-and-mortar Crumbling

Though rentals from traditional brick-and-mortar retail outlets fell dramatically, the decrease was more than replaced by a $152 million gain in alternative delivery methods such as video-on-demand, online streaming, DVD-by-mail, and rental kiosks. The increases just go to show... there's still a ton of money to be made in home video sales. People love watching movies at home and will actually pay for them if it's easy to do so, and if they are made available in high quality. However, we want to watch what we want, when we want, and where we want. Provide a viable, cost-effective venue, and we will gladly fork out our hard-earned dollars to support your money habit.

Demise of DVD?

On the darker side, the demise of the Digital-Versatile-Disc era is rapidly accelerating as DVD disc sales dropped during the period by 15%, or $230 million. The digital disc still accounted for $1.32 billion in sales, so it's not completely done just yet, but as we've known for several years, it's only a matter of time until the DVD proudly claims its spot in media museums, snuggling up next to the 8-track tape and vinyl LP.

Though blu-ray disc sales were showing signs of life since the format became the industry's de-facto high-definition standard in 2008, the recent increases weren't enough to make up for the decline in DVD sales, even when figuring in the numbers from the re-release of the six Star Wars movies on blu-ray, which accounted for a whopping $38 million... in the first week of sales! Popularity of Blu-ray should continue however, as only about  a third of US households own a blu-ray player and that segment grew by 52% for the third quarter. All signs are pointing to a significant number of new blu-ray players to be bought and sold over the coming holidays followed shortly by the subsequent continued increase in blu-ray disc sales.


The red-headed stepchild of the industry remains digital movie purchases which noticed an increase of only about $15 million for the period. Studios have recently addressed what they see to be the main stumbling block to a wider adoption of the digital purchase, by the recent release of the Ultra-violet standard which will allow digitally purchased movies to be viewed on any number of digital devices. While the view-anywhere standard shows promise, it has yet to be adopted by all major studios.

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