A small change in Home Media Magazine reflects the much larger change in the batter for home video. The Nielsen VideoScan pie-charts, which used to show BD vs. HD DVD for the week ended, year-to-date, and since inception now show BD/HD DVD for week-ended and since inception – and the third box is now BD vs. DVD market share for the week ended. For the week ended 3/23 Blu-ray took 88% of the market, to HD DVD’s 12%. With the last of the HD DVD exclusives gone, and an increasing number of small studios canceling their remaining HD DVD titles, the HD DVD percentage should fall off to zero fairly quickly now. Since inception, BD has taken 67% of the market.
The new BD/DVD chart only compares the top 20 titles by unit volume for each format, but BD has 6% of the market to DVD’s 94%. That may not sound like much, but it is pretty good for a fledgling format just coming off the end of a format war that slowed adoption. As more and more major releases hit Blu-ray day-and-date, especially once Universal, Paramount, and DreamWorks Animation start their BD releases, that percentage should rise steadily – give or take a bit each week for variation.
This issue has a lot of BD coverage – the entire front page is BD-related articles. New releases are seeing an increasing percentage of sales on BD. No Country for Old Men saw 9.8% of sales on BD (the rest on DVD), while Hitman saw 12.6% of sales on BD. That compares to levels of 2-3% for most titles during the format war. With the spike in BD growth, one of the articles examines the issues replicators are facing in adopting to BD demand. The up-front investment in a BD production line runs from $1.5 to $1.7 million for a 25GB line to nearly $2.7 million for a 50GB line. Yields of usable discs is now up to around 75%, from only about half early on. But this isn’t dissimilar to what happened with DVD early on, and over time yields will increase and costs will decrease.
New research from Strategy Analytics predicts that Blu-ray will be in 30 million homes by the end of the year, and 132 million by 2012.