Not to steal a page from Mark Twain, but it appears the reports about the death of the Blu-ray have been greatly exaggerated.
The entertainment industry has found a way to revive previously sagging sales of Blu-ray Discs by offering digital download versions of the titles, known as electronic sell-through (EST). Combined, Blu-ray Discs and EST staged a remarkable comeback in the first half of 2013, with sales up 24 percent, according to The Digital Entertainment Group‘s “Mid-Year 2013 Home Entertainment Report.”
While overall consumer spending rose 2 percent compared to the first half of 2012, sales of Blu-ray Discs and EST rose at a much faster clip, underscoring the favorable consumer response to the convenience and ease of digital collections and the increased availability of digital content at retail. The increases in Blu-ray and EST sales offset the declines in DVD sales leaving total sell-through flat versus a year ago.
DEG’s data show:
Blu-ray Disc sales continued to grow steadily in the first half of 2013 with consumer spending up 15 percent compared to 2012. Sales of new release product on Blu-ray rose 19 percent during the first half of 2013 and catalog titles on Blu-ray were up more than 8 percent versus the first half of 2012.
Digital distribution provided additional growth in the first half of the year due to a healthy consumer reaction to EST, which led to a 50 percent increase in EST consumer spending compared to mid-year 2012. The overall consumer spend on digital product was up more than 24 percent versus a year ago.
With more than 10,000 film and TV titles available to watch on an array of devices, UltraViolet has grown to 13 million accounts. The digital viewing experience is now available to consumers through major retailers in six countries, the latest being Australia and New Zealand.
More than five million Blu-ray Disc compatible devices were sold in the first half of the year (inclusive of BD set-tops, PS3s and HTiBs). There are now more than 61 million Blu-ray compatible devices in U.S. homes.