Archive for the ‘DVD’ Category

Weekly News Roundup (31 May 2015)

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

How many pieces of obsolete tech sits in your home right now? I’ll list some of mine: portable MP3 player, digital camera, pocket video camera (all replaced by my phone), standalone scanner, VCR, Wii … all of which are working just fine, but sit idle, gathering dust. Hmm, that does sound a bit sad, like something out of Toy Story – so maybe I’ll dust off that Wii and have a go at Wii Sports tennis again!

Here’s the news for the week …


The Pirate Bay 'Hydra'

The Pirate Bay’s “Hydra” strategy – cut off one domain, another one springs up

The Pirate Bay is getting ready for an epic battle over its domain name, as a Swedish court has ordered the site’s .SE domain name to be seized. To battle the imminent seizure, TPB has opted for quantity over quality, and has started rotating between 6 new domains (.LA, .VG, .AM, .MN, .GS and .GD), a strategy dubbed “Hydra”, after the mythical creature, not the antagonist as seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

But the new strategy has gotten off to a shaky start, but one that was probably expected. Less than a week into the new experiment, one of the domains, .GS (that’s South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands – yep, I had to look it up on Wikipedia myself too) has already been suspended. It’s no time to panic yet because, according to The Pirate Bay, this is what this experiment is all about. By testing just which registrars are responsive, and non responsive to pressure from rights-holders, TPB is using the trial-and-error approach to find a relatively more permanent home.

And with plenty of top-level domain names left to use, expect the domain switching to go on for quite a while!

While the .GS domain was suspended in what seems to be record quick time, the truth is that not all registrars are responding as quickly as hoped for by rights-holder groups like the MPAA and RIAA. These groups, under the umbrella of the Coalition for Online Accountability (COA), wants more pressure to be put on registrars, and deputize yet another group of people into the policing of online copyright infringement.

Another group, those that offer domain privacy services, are also being made responsible for “hiding” the contact details of website owners, the latest attempt by rights-holders to jeopardize an entire industry just to make things a little bit easier for themselves.

In other words, there are now even more people to blame and to be held responsible for online piracy – everyone except the people that consistently put out sub-par products at inflated prices, delivered via antiquated platforms that fail to satisfy consumer needs!

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Big DVD Collection

DVDs are on the way out, and Blu-ray may not be too far behind

Speaking of antiquated platforms, VCRs. Did you know that there are more homes in Australia with VCRs than there are with Blu-ray players? While this does kind of make Australia seem like some kind of backwards place, but I can assure you that Blu-ray players are just as common (and cheap) as they are anywhere else. But while I have lost count the number of Blu-ray capable devices at home, I’m sure that I have at least one working VCR “somewhere”. It might be in the garage, or in a closet, or somewhere else gathering dust, but it’s there. Along with my Wii, an old CRT TV, a digital camera or two, a camcorder and all the other obsolete devices that most people will still have, somewhere, in their home.

I’m sure if the makers, sellers and supporters of these devices want to find something or someone to blame, I’m sure they can find something to someone, and piracy is probably one of the candidates. But all of this is just part of how things work, the natural decline of one technology, only to be replaced by something better, but perhaps one that’s not always more profitable. So why should it be any different for the movie, music and gaming industries – Netflix and Spotify may be less profitable, but they are superior platforms to what existed before, even though they may not lead to more profit (at least in the short term). And piracy is in there somewhere – whether you like it or not, it is a competing force, one that needs to be addressed with market solutions, not legal ones.

With discs, even Blu-ray, appearing to be on the way out, Sony has found a new use for these – Facebook. I’ve actually talked about this before here I think, about how Facebook invented a way to use arrays of Blu-ray discs to manage their huge backups. Well, I guess it makes sense that the company that developed this technology has just been absorbed by Sony, the founding father of the format. It will give the format a new lease of life, just like how Betamax (coincidentally another Sony format) was turned into Betacam, a professional-use format that went on to become a great success.

Replacing discs will be digital, streaming or downloads. On the streaming front, it’s hard to go past the dominance of Netflix, whose share of the peak web traffic has gone up yet again. Netflix now accounts for almost 37% of North American peak web traffic (from fixed networks), up from 34.89% just six months ago.

Netflix is gonna totally bork our broken, patched up of a copper network in Australia, isn’t it? Sigh …


That’s it for the week, hope you enjoyed this edition. See you next week.

Weekly News Roundup (19 April 2015)

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

My main workhorse computer (more and more just a glorified web browser these days, considering how ever app has moved online, and how little gaming I do these days) is starting to show signs of strain, and so it’s time to get something new. The matter is made more complicated by the fact that I also need a new laptop. So I thought, why not combine these two requirements, add in the (more want than) need for a new Windows tablet, and get the Surface Pro 3, plus the dock, and use that as my desktop replacement. It’s not going to play any serious games (games consoles are a much more economical choice for it these days, or a dedicated gaming PC for those that have the time and money to devote to such a beast and its time consuming ways), but it will be more than enough for work, and work can be taken away by me in both tablet form, or laptop form with the optional (but really should be standard) Type Cover accessory. Some light gaming may also be included.

I opted for the i7/256GB/8GB RAM model, since this is a business purchase and end of financial year, tax deductions blah blah blah – but most will find the i5/128GB/4GB RAM model more than adequate.

I may live to regret my decision, especially given the high cost of the SP3, but it’s hard to justify spending money on a gaming PC when my current 6 year old PC can still do a semi-decent job at medium quality levels, and when I haven’t played a PC game in about 6 months. And an Ultrabook or Macbook Pro with the same portability as the SP3 won’t cost much less, and does not transform into a tablet.

A gaming PC might still be on the table, but it will probably be one that I will build from scratch, part by part, just for the fun of it.

Time will tell if I’ve made the right decision.

Oh yeah, news stuff.


Game of Thrones: Season 4

Game of Thrones continues where we left off last season … still sh*t load of piracy!

Dragons, nudity, death of a beloved character. These are things synonymous with HBO’s Game of Thrones. Piracy, record, smashed – these are also words associated with the hit TV show. And the season 5 premier is no different. Well actually, it is different, and it is a lot worse!

The good news is that the piracy record wasn’t broken this time, but that was only because the first four episodes of the show was leaked prior to the show’s debut, catching HBO and pirates alike off-guard. As downloaders slowly trickled into the swarms, it soon became a downloading frenzy, but the spread out nature of the downloads meant that, technically, no records were broken (and I’m sure if the download totals over a week from after the pre-release leaks were released was ever calculated, I’m sure records will have been broken).

So it’s bad to worse for HBO, which to their credit, tried really hard this time to reduce the incentive to pirate by making new episodes available worldwide simultaneously, and by launching the standalone streaming product HBO Now. The pre-release leak is particularly worrying, and it should prompt HBO to tighten up security for screener copies being sent to reviewers (unique visual and digital watermarks for each copy might be something HBO needs to consider).

One thing they could do is to make HBO Now available outside of the U.S. For example, in Australia, where users have tried to sign up using VPN/smart DNS services, but are now apparently being banned. This will be difficult not just in Australia but all around the world due to HBO’s deals with local pay TV operators, many of whom have locked up HBO programming in exclusive deals, in order to protect their premium pricing model. Piracy is the inevitable result.

Ironically, it’s this kind of piracy that is causing Netflix to drop their prices. Apparently, Netflix sets pricing for their international subscriptions based on that country’s piracy rate – the more pirated downloads, the cheaper their service will be. Netflix says that this is because they’ve positioned their service as a competitor to piracy, and as a result, they cannot ignore the reality of piracy. Or at the very least, they don’t treat piracy as something that can be easily eradicated and devote all their resources to combat piracy based on this false believe.

It’s this false believe that’s the driving force behind the urgency to change copyright laws in Australia to deal with the piracy scourge. Change that apparently is headed not by the local film industry, but by Hollywood lobbyists, many of whom have never set foot in Australia. According to the latest leaked Sony documents published by Wikileaks, much of the US based effort is being channeled via local Village Roadshow co-chairman Graham Burke. Local film studio Village Roadshow is infamously known as the company that compared movie downloads to “terrorism or paedophilia”, and believes in the possibility of “total eradication” of piracy as the end-goal.

Good luck with that!

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The Simpsons Season 17 Blu-ray

Do discs still have a place in our homes? Fox says no!

Changes are-a-coming for The Simpsons, and it could be the end of an era. No, Fox isn’t cancelling the iconic animated show, but they are cancelling the DVD and Blu-ray releases for it. Bad luck for collectors, who should have season 1-17, and season 20, on disc, but will no longer be able to continue adding to their collection.

Both Fox and Al Jean, the Simpsons’ showrunner, blames the “collapse of DVD market and rise of downloads” for the decision, with Jean also apologising to fans outside of North America for the digital option, such as Fox’s streaming service FX Now, being not available in most places.

Regular followers of our Blu-ray/DVD sales report will already know that DVD sales have been declining steadily for years, while Blu-ray sales have also started to stall recently. Most of the business is going to the digital side of things, from iTunes, to Hulu Plus to FX Now (all places where you can watch The Simpsons), so Fox’s decision is understandable, even if, once more, overseas fans lose out.


Fox’s move may be signalling the end of discs, Nintendo may also be signalling the end of the Wii U. With the delay of Zelda that I mentioned here a couple of issues ago, the announcement of the Wii U’s successor, the Nintendo NX, barely 2 years into the console’s lifespan, and with the number of announced titles shrinking all the time, Nintendo may have finally decided that the Wii U isn’t going to cut it anymore in the face of stern competition from the PS4 and the Xbox One.

So the new Zelda game could very well end up having the same fate as the last Zelda game, Twilight Princess, which was originally meant for the GameCube, only to be delayed so that it could be simultaneously released on the Wii as well.

Wii U

The end is nigh for the Wii U? Maybe not, but Nintendo knows it doesn’t have long left …

And let’s hope Nintendo don’t mess up the NX the same way they “messed up” the Wii U. While the Wii U was by no means a complete failure, the fact that it wasn’t a huge improvement on the last gen, and clearly behind the current gen, arrived at a relatively high price with few third-party game support, and with Nintendo failing to properly demonstrate how gaming on the Wii U would be better and more fun (even though, albeit subjectively speaking, it should be). Release a console that’s more powerful than the PS4/Xbox One, had all the “family fun” stuff that Nintendo is famous for, add in a sprinkle of first-party must-haves close to release (Mario, Mario Kart, Zelda …), and then ensure there are plenty of third-party exclusive worth mentioning, and Nintendo may be onto another winner. And from the perspective of someone who writes this particular blog and its main topics of discussions, maybe ensuring the Wii U is also a competent media player would also be a good idea(Blu-ray preferred, but should at least support all the streaming apps, plus local/network based media playback/streaming).


The March NPD results do not reveal any surprises at all. The PS4 once again beat the Xbox One for first place, with the Wii U in a distant third (probably). It’s probably not even worth mentioning the NPD results every month anymore, unless something strange happens, like the Xbox One finally managing to beat the PS4 (might happen, but Microsoft will need bigger price cuts and better exclusives to make it a consistent thing, as opposed to just during holiday discounting).


It’s unlikely that, by this time next week, I’ll be writing the WNR on my new SP3. Unlikely because it will take a while to get everything installed, set up and transferred in time. Ah, the simultaneous joy and pain of a new PC setup. See you next week.

Weekly News Roundup (21 December 2014)

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Going for a really short one this week, since I’ve just come back from a full day out and for some reason, this WNR remains unwritten (probably because I’ve not written it).


The Pirate Bay

The Pirate Bay may have been sunk, but pirates have not be deterred

So The Pirate Bay remains down, perhaps forever. If it stays down, then it will something that rights holders have wanted for a very long time. Or is it? According to the latest piracy stats, piracy remains eerily steady following TPB closure, with a small drop, and then almost back to where it was immediately.

There may be many reasons why closing the world’s biggest piracy website seems to have had no effect on piracy. The fact that there are many other major torrent sites, like isoHunt and KickassTorrents, still operating normally may have something to do with it. The numerous TPB mirror sites that have been set up since its (temporary?) demise, including one opened by isoHunt (which itself is a re-launch of the shuttered original isoHunt), have also helped to keep torrent traffic high.

And even if the piracy rate drops, there’s no guarantee this will actually lead to any noticeable financial benefits for rights holders. I mean, that’s the point of anti-piracy, right?


Keurig 2.0

Sticky tape defeats DRM (and not for the first time either)

A couple of quick story roundups. Remember the DRM protected coffee pod? The DRM has been broken, and anyone can do it with scissors and sticky tape. Apparently, the DRM only consists of a special ink placed on official pods, with the machine featuring an ink reader to authenticate the pods. Cut out the part with the ink from a used official pod, secure it over the ink reader with tape, and now all unofficial third-party pods will work. Doesn’t really get any easier than this, does it?

The next couple of stories are all related to the Sony Pictures hack (what isn’t, these days). We start with leaked information showing the MPAA’s plans to destroy the Internet’s naming back bone, the DNS (Domain Name System). DNS works because every other DNS mirror in the world shares and distributes the same set of data, essentially. The MPAA however wants certain ISPs to start messing around with DNS filtering, which could lead some DNS servers having vastly different data than others, thus breaking how the naming system syncs and refreshes itself all around the world.

This is all part of the MPAA’s plans to revive hugely controversial parts of SOPA, not by legislation, but through other means. These other means are explained by Google in a new blog post, where the search giant (who recently ended all cooperation with the MPAA, again due to information gleamed from the leaked data) accused the MPAA of heading a witch hunt, which included lobbying state attorneys general and building legal cases, against the company.

This particular feud could get nasty.

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Blu-ray Revenue Growth - January 2010 to December 2014

Blu-ray revenue has hardly grown over the last year, and may have actually declined

I finally took the time to summarise recent Blu-ray sales for my annual(ish) Blu-ray: The State of Play feature, and I was quite surprised at how poorly Blu-ray has done over the last year and a bit. While declining DVD sales are expected, for Blu-ray revenue to decline, that’s infinitely more worrying for the good old physical disc (2014 total sales so far, with a couple of more weeks left, are down 5.8%, or around $115 million. Now, the final couple of weeks for any year (stats for which will be available by the middle of January) are always the biggest, and it isn’t inconceivable that these few weeks will help Blu-ray sales prevent a year-on-year decline, but 2013’s final few weeks were also big (record breaking, in fact).

Even if Blu-ray sales can make a recovery in the last few weeks of 2014, there’s one stat that doesn’t lie. Of the 49 weeks that have been tabulated so far, only 17 of these had a Blu-ray revenue figure that was higher than the same week in 2013. This is the exact opposite situation to last year (for the first 49 weeks), where only 17 weeks recorded a lower revenue figure than the same week from the year before (and the year before had the exact same breakdown).

A poorer new release slate, fewer “first time on Blu-ray” catalog title releases and the rise of digital could all be responsible, but if this is a trend (and it’s a big ‘if’), then this could be the beginning of the end for physical media as we know it.


White Xbox One

$50 price cut for the Xbox One has revitalised the console

While Blu-ray is down, the Xbox One is up, at least for November. It appears the stats collected by shopping insights firm Infoscout were right: the Xbox One won Black Friday, and November, not only in the US and also in the UK.

The win comes after aggressive pricing by Microsoft, with discounts starting at $50 and up to $150 for bundles. And this is all after Microsoft dropped the Xbox One bundle price by $100 earlier in the year to match the PS4’s price, when they removed Kinect and changed it to an “accessory” status (as opposed to a mandatory add-on).

It seems that if Microsoft want to get back into the game, keeping the Xbox One cheaper than the PS4 is the way to go. With that said, Sony hasn’t been sitting idle either, with the PS4 getting some fairly aggressive price cuts for the holidays too. All of this is great for gamers of course.


That’s it for this slightly abridged version of the WNR. See you next week (maybe, assuming there are stories to cover, which isn’t always true given it’s Christmas and all), and Merry Christmas.

Blu-ray: The State of Play – December 2014

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Welcome to another edition of our annual Blu-ray sales analysis, even if this one is extremely late. My justification is that I wanted to make this more of a year-on-year comparison (so the whole of 2013 vs whole of 2014), as opposed to doing one in May (May being the first month that I’ve been keeping regular stats for Blu-ray sales). So this “State of Play” report is slightly different to ones in the past, and concentrates more on 2014’s results versus that of 2013.

Note that the last couple of weeks for 2014 is still missing, and so an update to this post will be made when these results come in, sometime during the middle of January.

The data used in this analysis derives from our weekly updates, based on figures released by Home Media Magazine. Some of the historical figures you’ll see have also been adjusted, due to slight tweaking of the metrics used by HMM to create these sets of data, although the changes have been very subtle and does not change the bigger picture in any way.

As per usual, this first set of graphs show Blu-ray market share (Blu-ray and combo market share as a percentage of all disc sales) through the six year period that I have tracked them, with the release milestones pointed out.

Blu-ray Sales Percentage - 4 May 2008 to 6 December 2014

Blu-ray Sales Percentage – 4 May 2008 to 6 December 2014 – Click to see larger version

As the graph is getting perhaps a bit too wide, here’s a condensed version that allows you to see Blu-ray’s market share rise more clearly.

Blu-ray Market Share - 4 May 2008 to 6 December 2014

Blu-ray Market Share – 4 May 2008 to 6 December 2014

It’s interesting to look at the most recent additions to the “milestones”, or new releases that had a profound impact on Blu-ray weekly revenue or market share. There were many, but that’s mostly due to the extended period we’re covering in this report, but when you consider that the peak weekly Blu-ray market share has not been broken in all this time, and that the record remains with the week The Avengers was released back in September of 2012 (44.10%, re-adjusted), you can sort of start to come to a conclusion that Blu-ray’s growth has stagnated. The closest week to breaking the record came in the week that Frozen was released (42.16%), undoubtedly the biggest Blu-ray release in the year and a half covered by this analysis. The up and down nature of the weekly results show that market share, like revenue, is very much release dependent. A good “A-lister” this week or a Blu-ray exclusive can get market share and revenue rising fast, but a slow week, and it goes down again. But the rising trend is clear, especially in the second graph above.

We noted in the last State of Play report for the above graph that the “trendline just breaks above the 30% mark at the end of April 2013, and that’s probably a fair reflection of where Blu-ray market share is, or will be soon enough.” Looking at the trendline above, it is still just barely above 30%, although this will edge up a bit when the end of the year’s bumper week’s sales data are added. Amazingly, the average weekly Blu-ray market share figure was exactly 30.00% for the 85 weeks covered by this report, up from the 27.47% (re-adjusted) average weekly market share recorded from the last report period (April 2012 to April 2013). The 4-6% annual increase, seen previously, appears to be slowing down.

In the last report, I stated that:

It’s worth noting that Blu-ray’s rising market share has as much to do with DVD’s decline as it has to do with actual rise in Blu-ray sales, probably more so. The rise in spending in digital streaming and downloading is one of the major factors in the decline of DVD sales, in addition to the rising popularity of Blu-ray.

This is still very much true, although as you will slowly realise when you read the rest of this report, the rise of digital may now be having an effect on Blu-ray sales too. Here’s a graph plotting the current weekly market share (red) compared to the same week a year ago (blue):

Blu-ray Sales Market Share: 2008/12 versus 2009/14 Comparison

Blu-ray Sales Market Share: 2008/12 versus 2009/14 Comparison

The gap between the red line and the blue line above shows how much market share has jumped in that week compared to the same week a year ago. You’ll notice that towards the end of the graph, the two lines are getting closer and closer. In fact, the blue line is often above the red line for many of the weeks (ie. Blu-ray weekly market share has actually shrunk compared to a year ago). In other words, the growth in Blu-ray’s market share has slowed and even reversed in some cases. Obviously, this has to do with the caliber of weekly releases, but another take could be that whatever was causing DVD revenue to decline has stopped or slowed, or that the same factor is now causing Blu-ray revenue to decline or to remain steady. I believe digital is the factor here.

Let’s take a closer look at Blu-ray revenue for the same period.

Blu-ray Revenue Growth - January 2010 to December 2014

Blu-ray Revenue Growth – January 2010 to December 2014

The graph above clearly shows that Blu-ray revenue peaks during the holiday sales period (of which we are still missing 2014’s, as obviously, it hasn’t finished yet. But there is a worrying dip between April and October of 2014, a dip that’s slightly lower than the same time from 2013.

Blu-ray Sales Revenue: 2010/13 versus 2011/14 Comparison

Blu-ray Sales Revenue: 2010/13 versus 2011/14 Comparison

The same trend is visible in the graph above. Just like with the market share graph further above, this comparison graph compares each week’s Blu-ray revenue with that from a year ago. The normal situation should see the lighter purple line always above the darker line (as this indicates Blu-ray revenue growth), but look at the 2014 period on the graph, and you will see quite a few times where the darker line is above the lighter line (indicating Blu-ray revenue has fallen). The overall trend is that Blu-ray revenue growth has stagnated, or even fallen from week-to-week, during 2014.

Now let’s take a closer look at the comparison between calendar 2013 and 2014 (so far).

Blu-ray Sales Revenue: 2013 vs 2014 Comparison

Blu-ray Sales Revenue: 2013 vs 2014 Comparison

The relatively poor results in 2014 can be seen much clearer in the above graph, with many weeks in 2014 being lower in revenue than the same weeks in 2013. Obviously each week’s releases ultimately determine market share and revenue, but it’s hard to ignore a trend that has been fairly consistent over an entire year. (Update: the graph above and below have both been updated to include data from the rest of 2014)

Blu-ray Sales Market Share: 2013 vs 2014 Comparison

Blu-ray Sales Market Share: 2013 vs 2014 Comparison

The same trend is there, but less pronounced for market share, although the problem appears to be worse for the last couple of months (this could be due to a strong release slate during this time in 2013 and/or a weaker release slate for the same period in 2014).

Looking at the raw numbers, this is where things become a lot more clearer. Out of the 52 weeks for 2014, 35 of them had the weekly revenue lower than the same week in 2013. Only 17 weeks recorded a revenue result that was higher than the same week in 2013. The situation is completely reversed when you look at 2012 vs 2013 results, where 35 week had higher revenue compared to 17 weeks with lower. Looking at total sales though, 2014’s Blu-ray sales total has declined compared to 2013, $2.122 billion versus $2.306 billion. This is the first year-on-year decline since Blu-ray’s launch in 2006 (the above information has been updated to include the rest of the weeks for 2014)


To sum up:

  • Blu-ray market share is growing, but at a much slower rate than the past few years
  • Frozen was the top seller in the last year and a half, but failed to beat the weekly market share record set by The Avengers in 2012
  • Blu-ray revenue has declined from 2013 to 2014.

Although we still have a couple of (big) weeks to go, unless these prove to be exceptional and record breaking, it does look like 2014, at best, would be a year where Blu-ray growth stalled. Blu-ray revenue may even be in decline, but its market share is still growing slightly thanks to DVD’s faster decline.

Update: Now that data for the rest of 2014 is available, Blu-ray revenue did indeed record a year on year decline, the first since the format’s inception. Now, the falling average price of Blu-ray titles will be a contributing factor to the overall revenue decline (so a situation where more discs are sold, but each are cheaper, may exist), but for a format that has marked steady growth year after year, this year’s decline is still very much a notable event.

As for the other reasons for 2014’s lackluster Blu-ray results, most data support the growth of digital as being the catalyst for disc’s fall. Or it could be the releases themselves that are to blame, although a 2014 line-up that includes ‘Frozen’, ‘The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’, ‘Thor: The Dark World’, ‘Maleficent’, ‘The Lego Movie’ and ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’, doesn’t sound like such a poor year. There is no doubt about it – 2014 is the year that Blu-ray went backwards.

Weekly News Roundup (17 August 2014)

Sunday, August 17th, 2014

It’s rather short WNR this week, where we have a couple of interesting news stories, but ones that don’t really need a lot of words to be written about. With Gamescom happening, there is definitely a slant towards gaming, which is also probably why news on other topics were a bit light.

Let’s get started!


What piracy problem? U.S. households are spending up to $1,000 each year, every year, on video entertainment products such as cable TV, Netflix and Blu-rays. This means that the video entertainment industry could be worth $123 billion by 2015, and this is despite piracy having “nearly” brought the industry down to its knees or something hyperbolic like that. Futuresource Consulting’s report on the industry reads nothing like one for an industry on its last breathes, and actually sounds like one that is doing extremely well, and thanks largely to the Internet, not despite of it. Digital spending is growing so fast that it will exceed packaged media spending in 2015, for example.

Dropping disc sales have very little to do with piracy, and more to do with market saturation and the transition to digital

Dropping disc sales have very little to do with piracy, and more to do with market saturation and the transition to digital

As part of my “job”, I read a lot of reports of this kind, and most of them almost never mention piracy. Sure, packaged media sales are on the slide, but this and other reports clearly state that it’s most likely due to “market saturation, declining retail space and the growth in video consumption on subscription VOD services”. On the other hand, if you listen to the studios, then any decline is almost always down to piracy.

The fact of the matter is that consumer tastes have changed rapidly due to the Internet, and the industry was too slow to adapt, hence the surge in piracy and a (what looks like temporary) decline in revenue. The same thing happened/is happening with the music industry, possibly even more dramatically, as the transition from physical media to digital continues apace (and with the industry, not grasping the opportunity earlier enough, allowing the likes of Apple and Spotify to be the winners). Piracy is a side effect, a symptom of the problem, but perhaps not the real problem itself.


Gamescom this week, and so we have the expected slew of gaming news. Sony got off to a good start by announcing that PS4 sales has topped 10 million worldwide. Microsoft, for understandable reasons, did not provide a comparable figure but was at 5 million as of April. With the PS4 beating the Xbox One for every month of this year in the key U.S. market that was once dominated by the Xbox 360, the gap between the two consoles appear to be growing. Here in Australia, the PS4 is outselling the Xbox One by a 2-to-1 margin!

Xbox One Media Playback

Xbox One about to become one of the best media players, thanks to September update

But the announcement of Gamescom so far, at least in terms of stuff that I cover in the WNR, would be Microsoft’s announcement of a full capable media player for the Xbox One, coming in September. The media player will support almost every format, including the ever more popular (but the rarely supported, at least on game consoles) MKV format (the format of choice for HD downloads), and also the reintroduction of DLNA streaming support.

With Sony yet to announce when they’ll bring back DLNA support, and to add to the PS4’s media support, it seems the Xbox One is now the console of choice when it comes to media playback. But given the intense competition between the two big consoles that has so far characterized this generation’s console wars, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony make their move in this area soon.

As I was writing this, the NPD stuff for July has just been released. I think I’ll cover it next week instead of right now, but spoiler alert: PS4 wins again.


And so ends this rather short WNR. See you next week!