With HD Dead, Blu-ray Takes Off


You could see this one coming a mile off. Survey after survey in 2006 and 2007 showed consumers were on the fence about a high definition DVD format, waiting until there was one choice instead of two. Well, now that there is one choice, they are getting off the fence.

Home Media Magazine is reporting that sales of Blu-ray titles have gone from accounting for 2%-3% of sales to as high as 12.6% in the case of Hitman (which was a flop in theaters). The Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men
saw 9.8% of its total sales come from Blu-ray Disc its first five days
in stores, according to an analysis of Nielsen VideoScan First Alert
numbers by HMM.

Now compare that to Q4 2007, the gift giving season. The Simpsons Movie generated just 2.8% of its total sales from Blu-ray and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End saw just 3.7% of total sales come from Blu-ray. Is Hitman a better movie than POTC: AWE? Of course not (I much prefer Shoot ‘Em Up). It was an ideal movie for Blu-ray’s demo, however.

It’s based on a videogame series, its target demo was young men with disposable income for a high-end home theater system and the top Blu-ray player is the PlayStation 3. Action movies have traditionally done well on DVD. Back in 1998, the top-selling DVD on the then-fledgling DVD format was Godzilla, and we all knew how badly that movie stunk.

Meanwhile, HD DVD is rapidly disappearing from Best Buys all over the country. For a few days, the ill-fated discs were on sale for 70% off, then they were gone. BB’s entire high def section is now entirely Blu. Once again, a narrow window of opportunity missed. But I’ll get a high def version of The Ultimate Matrix Collection one way or another.

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