At its CES press conference, the Blu-ray Group could have
been doing the Happy Dance. Instead, it was all about business.
Home video software executives made the case for BD with a
series of slides, showing both the hard sales data, as well as splashy
advertising. At least in their minds, with Warner abandoning HD DVD, the
triumph of Blu-ray is “inevitable” and “only a matter of time.” In fact, they
say it's time to stop wasting resources on combating HD DVD, and instead present
a unified front, and start to make some serious profit out of the format. Instead
of talk about blue and red, these guys are focused on green. And I don’t mean
the environmentally friendly kind.
As far as its supporters are concerned, the format war is
already in the rear view mirror, and the future is Blu. Also not subtle in the
ad is their opinion that BD is the perfect source material for your cool new
flat panel HDTV.
BD discs outsold HD DVD in the U.S. every month in 2007. Globally,
the ratio is about 66% to 34%, in favor of BD. On the hardware side, BD claims
that ½ million component BD players, and 3 million PS3 players have been sold. They
project sales of 2 million component and 4 million PS3 players in 2008, for a
combined year-end installed base of about 10 million players.
This pie chart is mainly blue. The Blu-ray Group claims U.S. sales of 5.6 million BD discs in 2007 (worth $170 million) and they predict sales of 40 million discs in 2008 (worth a cool $1 billion). Also notable is
Warner's slice of the pie. A major force in home software sales, their
defection to BD may be the tipping point.
The next order of business is to convince the consumer that
the format war is over, and that BD is the only option. Sales of packaged media
(ie. DVD) are declining, and they desperately want to reverse that decline with
Ads like this will win the hearts and minds of consumers.
The plan is to overcome our reticence, and convince us that BD is the
consumer's preference. With a claimed BD brand awareness of 80%, they believe BD
will pump up sales of shiny discs, perpetuating the DVD-Video legacy.
—Ken C. Pohlmann
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