Blu-ray sales surge over Xmas beats the crunch

Blu-ray: the future?
Blu-ray: the future?

Dark Knight on Blu-ray entertained us and the Abba spin-off movie DVD Mamma Mia cheered many of us up this Christmas, particularly the good people of the British Video Association that claims the Xmas period has been a good one for Blu-ray sales, despite the credit crunch.

Data provided by the Official Charts Company, shows "that the home entertainment market is alive and kicking, despite difficult trading conditions across the entire retail sector" according to the BVA.

"Blu-ray disc sales hit a new high in the run-up to Christmas; 1.5 million discs were sold in December alone, up almost 400% against the same period in 2007," continues the BVA press release, which is hardly surprising, seeing as a considerably higher proportion of the population have access to a PlayStation 3, a stand-alone Blu-ray player or a laptop or desktop with a Blu-ray drive than did so at this point last year.

"In total the format [Blu-ray] has sold 3.7 million units in 2008, demonstrating the public's enthusiasm for high quality picture and sound in the home."

Blu-ray's Xmas boost was led by the superb Dark Knight which has taken the crown for best selling Blu-ray title of the year with 281,000 copies sold format in just three weeks.

"Released in early December it became the best-selling Blu-ray title in history, selling more copies on Blu-ray in its first full week (178,000 copies including Batman Begins box-set) in the shops than any other movie ever released on the format."

"Blu-ray has increasingly established its position as the number one choice of next generation of home entertainment," continues the BVA release.

Er, do we need to remind the BVA that Blu-ray is currently the ONLY choice of next generation of home entertainment available out there, following the demise of HD DVD?

Goodbye Woolies and Zavvi

Lavinia Carey, Director General of the British Video Association, adds: "The growth in disc sales throughout 2008 reveals that the home entertainment market is showing resilience in a difficult economic climate.

"The demise of EUK and Woolworths had a significant impact on pre-Christmas trading and the news since Christmas of Zavvi going into administration is a consequence of EUK going down.

"But we are not surprised that home entertainment is generally bearing up well; as people tighten their belts, many have rejected more extravagant outings in favour of a cosy evening at home with their favourite titles. We expect the growth of Blu-ray to continue in 2009 on the back of strong releases such as Quantum of Solace, Tropic Thunder and The Duchess."

2009 sales predictions

Screen Digest predicts Blu-ray disc sales will rise to 17 million units over the next 12 months, accounting for seven per cent of the total disc market whilst DVD will remain popular with 241 million discs being bought by the British Public.

Helen Davis Jayalath, Head of Video at Screen Digest, says: "DVD volume sales outpaced those of 2007 for much of the year in spite of the impending recession; even when faced with major supply chain issues in December, consumers simply bought the titles they wanted elsewhere.

"Although the economic climate means that Blu-ray will now take longer to achieve mass market status, demand is building for the Hi-Def discs. Meanwhile, the key challenges facing the industry in 2009 are managing the financial and inventory fallout from the loss of EUK at the same time as promoting video as an attractive and affordable entertainment option for cash-strapped consumers."

Adam Hartley