Consumers spent $1.5 billion on Blu-ray in 2009: DEG

MUMBAI: According to figures released by the Digital Entertainment Group, spending on Blu-ray sales and rentals was up 67% to $1.5 billion. Homes with Blu-ray Disc players rose to 17 million, up 76% over 2008. In the fourth quarter alone, Blu-ray enjoyed title sales in excess of $500 million, representing 13.4 percent of all sell-through sales versus 8% percent for each of the prior three quarters.

Blu-ray new release sales in the fourth quarter rose 17% while catalog title sales doubled from a year ago. Five Blu-ray disc releases saw sales in excess of one million units in 2009.

Sales of Blu-ray disc playback devices – including set-top box and game consoles – sold through 17.3 million units since launch. Some 4.5 million devices sold in the fourth quarter alone, bringing total units sold to nearly 8 million in calendar 2009, according to numbers compiled by the DEG with input from retail tracking sources.

The DEG estimates that more than 71 million HDTV sets have sold to consumers bringing the number of HDTV households to nearly 48 million. The DEG further estimates that 33% of these households have more than one set. An HDTV provides the ideal medium for consumers to enjoy their Blu-ray players and get the best HD experience.

"The home entertainment business is doing remarkably well given the overall economic environment," said DEG and Warner Home Video president Ron Sanders. "We have seen tremendous growth in both Blu-ray hardware and software, consumer transactions are up and we are looking forward to seeing some stabilization in the packaged goods sell-through business in the coming year."

"With Blu-ray titles topping $1 billion in sales and Blu-ray hardware now in 17 million U.S. homes, the format is well on its way to mainstream consumer adoption," said Bob Chapek, , DEG chairman and The Walt Disney Studios president Distribution,. "With the industry´s recent finalization of 3-D specs, next year promises to be an extraordinary year for consumers to experience the expanded possibilities of Blu-ray."

"This was a very good year for Blu-ray," says Ross Rubin of market tracking firm The NPD Group, "but it is going to take a while before the installed base is large enough to match the kind of volume the DVD market can provide."

However, overall spending on movie-watching at home dipped 5%, as a result of declining DVD sales.

Home video rentals rose more than 4% ($6.5 billion), as sales dropped 13% ($11.4 billion). "People didn’t quit consuming movies; they just shifted how they did it," says Tom Adams of Adams Media Research, an entertainment tracking firm.

"As with every other product category, people were looking for the best deals they could get," says Adams.

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