Blu-ray Wes Novack on 05 Feb 2007

Blu-ray outselling HD DVD

Blu-ray is outselling HD DVD in the first month of 2007.

This news is a couple of days old, but still very interesting and important nonetheless. Numerous reports and sales figure studies have recently surfaced, showing that Blu-ray Disc movies are currently outselling HD DVD movies. Nielsen/VideoScan has published a report of high definition disc format relative purchase percentage comparisons that illustrate the Blu-ray format is outselling HD DVD. According to the report, for every 38.36 HD DVD movies that were sold, 100 Blu-ray Disc movies were also sold (for the period between January 1 – 14, 2007), giving Blu-ray a very large lead in product sales for the start of 2007. According to the same study, although Blu-ray has significantly jumped ahead of HD DVD for the first two weeks of 2007, HD DVD is still ahead in movie product sales since the inception of both formats. The study shows that for every 92.40 Blu-ray movies sold since inception, 100 HD DVD movies have been sold. HD DVD does not have much of a lead according to these figures and if the current product sales trend continues, Blu-ray movies will easily surpass HD DVD in total products sold since inception.

Blu-rayHDDVDcomparisonSo what is the significance of these figures? Blu-ray can now boast and tout greater sales figures and product penetration over HD DVD, but only for now. Was this behavior unexpected and a major victory for the Blu-ray format? No, I do not think so. It was not a major victory, but a nice improvement for the Blu-ray format. The Sony PS3 was introduced late last year, which contains an integrated Blu-ray disc player. Approximately 491,000 PS3’s were sold in December of 2006, which provided a significant boost to the market penetration of the Blu-ray Disc format. With this Blu-ray player market penetration occurring, it should come as no surprise that Blu-ray movie sales have increased and risen over HD DVD sales. It is also important to note that the period after the holiday season (January) is typically a slow one, with a low volume of sales being typical in most consumer markets. Blu-ray and HD DVD sales stats from Amazon and DVDEmpire also show that Blu-ray is ahead for the month of January, but not by quite as much as the Nielson report indicates.

What should the Blu-ray camp do now?
The Blu-ray format has gained momentum and has most likely outsold HD DVD in total movie products sold by now. The Blu-ray backers need to continue aggressively promoting their products and introducing new Blu-ray movie content in order to facilitate increased sales and growth. A price cut on the Sony PS3 would also help the Blu-ray format gain additional market penetration and help to spur growth. Additional development in the Blu-ray personal computing arena with faster burning speeds and lower drive costs would help to spur additional Blu-ray adoption by computer enthusiasts. Blu-ray already has the edge here with multiple Blu-ray burners on the market and faster reading/writing speeds compared to HD DVD.

What should the HD DVD camp do now?
The HD DVD camp has to respond to this latest Blu-ray boost if they hope to stay in the game. Universal Studios has announced 100 new HD DVD exclusive titles for 2007, which is a good start. The HD DVD camp needs to come up with a solid strategy to fight back against the Sony PS3 thorn in their side. The XBox 360 external HD DVD add-on drive was a good start, but it is not the full answer. Because the HD DVD drive is not a forced, integrated component of the Xbox 360, it will see lower sales figures and lower adoption rates compared to the Blu-ray drive in the Sony PS3. If Microsoft does not offer a new promotion or additional incentives for XBox 360 owners to purchase the HD DVD add-on, the HD DVD camp will have to formulate additional strategies. In order to win consumers over, Toshiba and other HD DVD manufacturers might need to significantly cut costs of HD DVD standalone devices. If the HD DVD camp is somehow able to introduce a standalone player at $199 or less in the near future, it would fuel the HD DVD fire and help the format to increase their market share. What about the PC arena? HD DVD is seriously lagging in this area. Toshiba and the HD DVD camp need to put some focus on HD DVD burner development and get their products into the market as soon as possible. HD DVD PC drives have been delayed again and again. Once HD DVD PC burners finally make it to the market, they will be offering a measly 1x burning speed compared to Blu-ray burners who already have 4x in the works. Get moving Toshiba!

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