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."