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BD disc sales hit 9m, 3m this year; BD share of total unit up

Blu-ray Disc sales continue to pick up steam, with total U.S. sales since inception (about a year-and-a-half-ago) hitting 9 million units through March 16, according to HMR research. In just 11 weeks this year, BD unit sales have hit 3 million units, seemingly putting the format on pace to easily hit at least 15 million units for 2008.

Following the end of the HD DVD vs. Blu-ray format war, Blu-ray disc sales have made a significant growth with a few new titles now gaining around 10% of its sales on the Blu-ray format, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

After averaging weekly sales ranging from 200,000 - 300,000 the past two months or so, sales spiked up to 319,000 units, driven by Walt Disney's release of No Country For Old Men. Blu-ray made up 9.8% of its total sales in just the first five days of hitting the shops, according to a Nielsen VideoScan First Alert. The Oscar-winner, despite having few special features of any kind, sold a whopping 68,000 units the week ending 16 March.

That is double the next closest title, Fox's Hitman: Special Edition, which was also a relatively strong seller. The Blu-ray version reached #1 in Amazon's best selling Movies & TV category and has generated 12.6% of its overall sales since its 11 March release.

Before the format war ended, the most sales that any title made on a HD disc format was no more than 2% to 3% of its overall sales, ranging from 10,000 - 30,000 units.

Blu-ray's momentum will likely continue throughout the Spring, with a strong line-up of new releases due in the weeks ahead, starting with Fox's Alvin and the Chipmunks (1 April) and Juno (15 April), New Line's The Golden Compass (April 29) and Sony's Untraceable.

Blu-ray sales are estimated to reach $1 billion throughout 2008 according to Fox market researchers, compared to an estimated $300 million in total between Blu-ray and HD DVD sales in 2007. For its part, Adams Research predicts that around 2.9 million homes will have Blu-ray players compared to just 500,000 last year. The PS3 which also doubles up as a Blu-ray player is expected to reach 8.4 million homes by the end of 2008, up from 3.2 million in 2007.

Story filed 29.03.08

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