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Tuesday November 1, 2011 12:37 pm

Blu-ray finally overtaking DVD regularly in sales

Posted by Andru Edwards - Categories: Home Entertainment, Movies

Consumers are tending to favor Blu-ray over DVD when buying copies of top hits for home use, a nonprofit analyst group that tracks Hollywood reported Monday.

Overall consumer spending on home entertainment jumped nearly five percent from the same period a year ago, the Digital Entertainment Group reported, the first time consumer spending increased since 2008.

The DEG didn't explicitly say that a crossover between DVD and Blu-ray sales is occurring. But "for major box-office hits, sales of packaged goods often surpass 50 percent on Bluray in their first week of release," DEG said. In all, Blu-ray, electronic sell-through, and digital movie streaming all saw revenue growth.

Catalog sales of Blu-ray discs are also increasing, the DEG said, with year-to-date increases of more than 60 percent, led by Star Wars, Citizen Kane, Scarface and The Big Lebowski. Total household penetration of all Blu-ray compatible devices now stands at more than 33.5 million U.S. homes, DEG said, up 52 percent from a year ago.

The DEG did not break out the actual numbers for its results, however; typically, the group's end-of-year results are the most comprehensive. At the end of last year, however, DVD media still held a commanding lead over Blu-ray, $14.0 billion to $2.3 billion. And digital also outstripped Blu-ray as well, with year-end sales of $2.5 billion. Media sales have declined steadily since 2004, when a total of $21.8 billion worth of digital media was sold.

The rise in consumer spending marks the "continued stabilization" of the industry, however, the DEG said, heading into the fourth quarter. During that period, sales of summer blockbusters will begin hitting store shelves, including Captain America: The First Avenger, Cars 2, Cowboys & Aliens, Hangover 2, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, The Help, Kung Fu Panda 2, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Smurfs, and Water for Elephants.

About 5.5 million HDTVs were sold to U.S. consumers in the third quarter, DEG reported, bringing HDTV penetration to date at more than 69.5 million U.S. households.

One word that didn't appear: 3D. Although many consumer electronics companies have promoted the technology, especially at the 2011 CES show in Las Vegas and the recent IFA show in Berlin. For example, the broadcast of the Masters golf tournament in 3D proved interesting, but disappointing.

"We are definitely still supportive of 3D, but just don't have data tracking its sales to report at this juncture," Lyndsey Schafer, director of the DEG, said in an email.

This article, written by Mark Hachman, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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