Blu-ray penetration in the US has reached 15%, a new NPD report concludes, and Blu-ray is both helping disc formats to remain viable for a longer period, and at the same time, helping digital distribution take off
A new report by the NPD Group shows that 15% of all U.S consumers have used a Blu-ray player in the last 6 month, up from 9% a year ago. Hardware sales increased by 16% year on year as well/
To compare, 57% used a DVD player in 2010. The NPD also reported that 49% of all PS3 owners have regularly (defined as at least once a month) played Blu-ray movies on their game console.
But while Blu-ray's growth has largely been a positive for the industry, the increase in revenue has not made up for DVD's continuing losses. The number of buyers for discs in the US dropped by 16 million from 2009 to 2010. But this number would otherwise been much higher had it not been for Blu-ray, it is to be noted.
The report noted that consumers are starting to see Blu-ray purchases as better value, thanks to price drops for hardware and better value movie packs (Blu-ray+DVD combos, for example).
However, compared to DVD's super fast growth, Blu-ray hasn't performed as well. Blu-ray is now in its fifth year, and after the same time, DVDs already had a consumer penetration of 35%, much higher than the 15% for Blu-ray. However, DVD was a revolutionary format, whereas Blu-ray is an evolutionary format, and so it is understandable that less people are upgrading their DVD players to Blu-ray, than people were upgrading VHS to DVD during the early part of the 2000's. The NPD also noted this in their report, but also added the fact that with competing digital distribution, Blu-ray is no doubt helping to extend the life of optical discs. "While Blu-ray may not be the replacement for DVD that many once hoped for, it is certainly adding strength to the physical video-disc market. This added stability is helping to extend the life of discs, even as digital options gain in popularity," NPD's report added.
But at the same time, Blu-ray is actually helping digital distribution, as most Blu-ray players also act as set-top boxes for digital distributors, such as Netflix. The NPD found that 50% of consumers intending to buy a Blu-ray player in the next six month cited access to digital services as a primary reason.