LAS VEGAS Home entertainment executives said they expect the Blu-Ray DVD format to gain traction this year and approach $1 billion in sales as player prices fall and consumer awareness rises.
“I think we’re going to come close to $1 billion in software sales for 2008,” 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn told retailers at the 27th annual Home Media Expo in Las Vegas this morning. That compares to just $260 million generated by Blu-Ray in 2007.
While those sales will represent only 7 percent of the $15 billion in total DVD sales expected in 2008, they’ll more than double to $2.5 billion in 2009 and overtake standard DVD by 2012, according to the Entertainment Merchandisers Association. The industry is counting on Blu-Ray to reinvigorate the DVD business, where sales were flat last year and are expected to decline the next few years.
During the Home Media Expo opening session June 24, Blockbuster Entertainment president Jim Keyes told the audience more than 2,000 Blockbuster stores now have Blu-Ray display areas that give customers a side-by-side comparison of movies on Blu-Ray compared to standard DVD.
Keyes said the chain is also training employees to explain the benefits of the high definition format. “This is the first time in a quite a while that we’ve had something really new to talk about in stores,” said Keyes.
But Forrester Research principle analyst James McQuivey said it would take at least another year for consumers to get on the Blu-Ray bandwagon. “I don’t think you’re really going to see it happen until the 2009 holiday season,” said McQuivey.