Early Sales "Encouraging" for Blu-ray, But Still Lag Behind HD DVD

Posted Wed Jul 5, 2006 at 02:39 AM PDT by
Blu-ray Disc Packaging [Quad] First-week sales of Blu-ray hardware and software received mixed marks from retailers, with consumer demand for discs and players solid but still lagging behind continued strong sales for rival HD DVD, reports Video Business.

Primary Blu-ray backer Sony Home Entertainment shipped 15,000 copies apiece of its first seven Blu-ray launch titles, including top sellers 'Underworld: Evolution,' 'xXx' and 'House of Flying Daggers,' which hit stores June 20. The studio's worldwide president Benjamin Feingold was upbeat about initial first-week projections indicating a respectable 15 percent to 20 percent sell-through of initial disc shipments, with greater sales generated at retailers that were also selling Blu-ray players.

"I think we're encouraged,” Feingold said. “The only issue is hardware supply. In terms of our national accounts, where there's hardware, the results are encouraging."

However, fellow Blu-ray supporter Lionsgate (and the sole other studio to release disc titles on the format at launch was less enthusiastic. Studio president Steve Beeks called initial sales results "small but heartening," citing initial shipments of between 7,000 and 10,000 units of its six launch titles that include 'Crash,' 'Terminator 2' and 'Saw.'

In an informal survey of local Los Angeles-area high-end electronics retailers, including Tweeter, Abt Electronics and Value Electronics, VB found that none had sold out its initial Blu-ray software allotments, nor its initial invetory of Samsung's first-generation BD-P1000 Blu-ray player.

"I think some people are waiting for some of the other brands [of Blu-ray players]," said Frank Roshinski, Tweeter VP and general merchandising manager for video. "We ordered the same quantities [as Toshiba HD DVD hardware, which sold out], about 500 pieces [for the chain]. We didn't sell out [of Blu-ray], but it's still a good seller."

Some retailers also claim early mixed reviews by the online media for Blu-ray hardware and software may also have contributed to the format's bumpy initial sales, and only increased consumer interest in rival HD DVD.

"HD DVD players are selling even better now given the poor reviews of Blu-ray," said Value Electronics president Robert Zohn. Of the twelve Blu-ray players the store received in stock, Zohn said it has sold only two, compared to backorders of over 2,000 units for Toshiba's first two HD DVD players the store has yet to fulfill, due to Toshiba currently unable to manufacture enough units to meet the continued demand.

" Toshiba's being as fair as they can be [with HD DVD player allotments]," Zohn added. "I wish I had more, and I think they do, too."
Tags: Industry Forecasts, Disc Sales (all tags)