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USA: Blu-ray Disc sales up 83% for the year; BD players up 112%

While US consumer spending for the third quarter of 2009 in the home entertainment window for pre-recorded entertainment – DVD, Blu-ray and digital distribution – was off slightly at $4 billion, down by 3.2% compared to the same period last year, Blu-ray Disc software sales continue to show dramatic growth with overall sales up 83% for the year and playback devices in 11.7 million U.S. households.

The Digital Entertainment Group, which released these figures, also announced that consumer transactions for all home entertainment products were up 6.6% for the third quarter compared to the same period last year.

Although consumer spending on sell-through packaged media was down 13.9% in the third quarter, Blu-ray was up 66.3% to $161 million compared to the same period last year (up 83% year-to-date to $568 million).

Digital distribution (including both video-on-demand and electronic sell-through) was up 18% for the quarter to $420 million (up 20% year-to-date to $1.4 billion). Furthermore, according to Rentrak Corporation’s Home Video Essentials, rental spending was up 9.9% for the quarter, with Blu-ray rental spending up 44.5%.

Blu-ray, proving to be home entertainment’s standout performer in 2009, is accounting for 12% of all theatrical new release sales in the third quarter. The year’s best selling Blu-ray Disc title “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment) and “Watchmen” (Warner Home Video) have each approached or surpassed 30% of consumer spending on Blu-ray.

According to figures compiled by the DEG based on data from CEA, retailers and manufacturers, Blu-ray Disc playback devices sold 3.3 million units through the first three quarters of 2009, an increase of 13 percent over same period last year. Through the first three quarters of 2009, Blu-ray Disc set-top player sales grew 112 percent over same period last year.

Blu-ray playback device households are nearly 11.7 million and include PlayStation 3 consoles, along with a variety of set-top players that are available as either stand along models or combined with home theater systems. Approximately 80 percent of Blu-ray devices are BD-Live capable.

DVD is not dead yet. Some 4.6 million DVD players were sold to US consumers in the third quarter of 2009. Since launch in spring 1997, approximately 267 million DVD players, including set-top and portable DVD players, Home-Theater-in-a-Box systems, TV/DVD and DVD/VCR combination players, have been sold to consumers, bringing the number of DVD households to more than 92 million (adjusting for households with more than one player). The DEG estimates that 66% of DVD homes have bought more than one player.

Story filed 23.10.09

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